Core Curriculum Content Standards

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NJ World Class Standards
Content Area: Science

Content Area



5.2 Physical Science: All students will understand that physical science principles, including fundamental ideas about matter, energy, and motion, are powerful conceptual tools for making sense of phenomena in physical, living, and Earth systems science.


A. Properties of Matter:  All objects and substances in the natural world are composed of matter. Matter has two fundamental properties: matter takes up space, and matter has inertia.

By the end of grade

Content Statement


Cumulative Progress Indicator (CPI)


Observations and investigations form a basis for young learners’ understanding of the properties of matter.


Observe, manipulate, sort, and describe objects and materials (e.g., water, sand, clay, paint, glue, various types of blocks, collections of objects, simple household items that can be taken apart, or objects made of wood, metal, or cloth) in the classroom and outdoor environment based on size, shape, color, texture, and weight.


Living and nonliving things are made of parts and can be described in terms of the materials of which they are made and their physical properties.


Sort and describe objects based on the materials of which they are made and their physical properties.


Matter exists in several different states; the most commonly encountered are solids, liquids, and gases. Liquids take the shape of the part of the container they occupy. Solids retain their shape regardless of the container they occupy.


Identify common objects as solids, liquids, or gases.


Some objects are composed of a single substance; others are composed of more than one substance.


Identify objects that are composed of a single substance and those that are composed of more than one substance using simple tools found in the classroom.


Each state of matter has unique properties (e.g., gases can be compressed, while solids and liquids cannot; the shape of a solid is independent of its container; liquids and gases take the shape of their containers).


Plan and carry out an investigation to distinguish among solids, liquids, and gasses.


Objects and substances have properties, such as weight and volume, that can be measured using appropriate tools. Unknown substances can sometimes be identified by their properties.


Determine the weight and volume of common objects using appropriate tools.


Objects vary in the extent to which they absorb and reflect light and conduct heat (thermal energy) and electricity.


Categorize objects based on the ability to absorb or reflect light and conduct heat or electricity.


The volume of some objects can be determined using liquid (water) displacement.


Determine the volume of common objects using water displacement methods.


The density of an object can be determined from its volume and mass.


Calculate the density of objects or substances after determining volume and mass.


Pure substances have characteristic intrinsic properties, such as density, solubility, boiling point, and melting point, all of which are independent of the amount of the sample.


Determine the identity of an unknown substance using data about intrinsic properties.


All matter is made of atoms. Matter made of only one type of atom is called an element.


Explain that all matter is made of atoms, and give examples of common elements.


All substances are composed of one or more of approximately 100 elements.


Analyze and explain the implications of the statement “all substances are composed of elements.”


Properties of solids, liquids, and gases are explained by a model of matter as composed of tiny particles (atoms) in motion.


Use the kinetic molecular model to predict how solids, liquids, and gases would behave under various physical circumstances, such as heating or cooling.


The Periodic Table organizes the elements into families of elements with similar properties.


Predict the physical and chemical properties of elements based on their positions on the Periodic Table.


Elements are a class of substances composed of a single kind of atom. Compounds are substances that are chemically formed and have physical and chemical properties that differ from the reacting substances.


Identify unknown substances based on data regarding their physical and chemical properties.


Substances are classified according to their physical and chemical properties. Metals are a class of elements that exhibit physical properties, such as conductivity, and chemical properties, such as producing salts when combined with nonmetals.


Determine whether a substance is a metal or nonmetal through student-designed investigations.


Substances are classified according to their physical and chemical properties. Acids are a class of compounds that exhibit common chemical properties, including a sour taste, characteristic color changes with litmus and other acid/base indicators, and the tendency to react with bases to produce a salt and water.


Determine the relative acidity and reactivity of common acids, such as vinegar or cream of tartar, through a variety of student-designed investigations.


Electrons, protons, and neutrons are parts of the atom and have measurable properties, including mass and, in the case of protons and electrons, charge. The nuclei of atoms are composed of protons and neutrons. A kind of force that is only evident at nuclear distances holds the particles of the nucleus together against the electrical repulsion between the protons.


Use atomic models to predict the behaviors of atoms in interactions.


Differences in the physical properties of solids, liquids, and gases are explained by the ways in which the atoms, ions, or molecules of the substances are arranged, and by the strength of the forces of attraction between the atoms, ions, or molecules.


Account for the differences in the physical properties of solids, liquids, and gases.


In the Periodic Table, elements are arranged according to the number of protons (the atomic number). This organization illustrates commonality and patterns of physical and chemical properties among the elements.


Predict the placement of unknown elements on the Periodic Table based on their physical and chemical properties.


In a neutral atom, the positively charged nucleus is surrounded by the same number of negatively charged electrons. Atoms of an element whose nuclei have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes.


Explain how the properties of isotopes, including half-lives, decay modes, and nuclear resonances, lead to useful applications of isotopes.


Solids, liquids, and gases may dissolve to form solutions. When combining a solute and solvent to prepare a solution, exceeding a particular concentration of solute will lead to precipitation of the solute from the solution. Dynamic equilibrium occurs in saturated solutions. Concentration of solutions can be calculated in terms of molarity, molality, and percent by mass.


Describe the process by which solutes dissolve in solvents.


Acids and bases are important in numerous chemical processes that occur around us, from industrial to biological processes, from the laboratory to the environment.


Relate the pH scale to the concentrations of various acids and bases.