Big Idea 3: The Role of Theories, Laws, Hypotheses, and Models

The terms that describe examples of scientific knowledge, for example; "theory," "law," "hypothesis," and "model" have very specific meanings and functions within science.
General Information
Number: SC.3.N.3
Title: The Role of Theories, Laws, Hypotheses, and Models
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 3
Body of Knowledge: Nature of Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.3.N.3.In.1
Recognize meanings of words used in science, such as energy, temperature, and gravity.
SC.3.N.3.In.2
Use models to identify how things work.
SC.3.N.3.In.3
Identify that models are representations of things found in the real world.

Supported

SC.3.N.3.Su.1
Recognize meanings of words used in science, such as telescope, environment, and solid.
SC.3.N.3.Su.2
Recognize that models represent real things.

Participatory

SC.3.N.3.Pa.1
Recognize common objects related to science by name, such as ice, animal, and plant.
SC.3.N.3.Pa.2
Recognize a model of a real object.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Lesson Plans

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 8 Coding a Simulation: Changes to Water:

Students will use logical thinking, decision making and flowcharts to code a simulation about the state of matter the water will be in, dependent upon water temperature. Students will use a free online block-coding platform called Scratch.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 12 Engineering Design Problem: Beat the Heat Part 3: Testing a Cooler:

In this engineering design problem, students will have the opportunity to apply what they
learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and
cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design
process to design a cooler that will reduce the melting of frozen water in hot temperatures
at the beach. Students will need to design and build their cooler, test their materials, and
justify their design decisions. In this lesson students will test their cooler’s effectiveness in
keeping ice from melting. In subsequent lessons students will improve their designs.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 13 Engineering Design Problem: Beat the Heat Part 4: Improve a Cooler:

In this engineering design problem, students will have the opportunity to apply what they
learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and
cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design
process to design a cooler that will reduce the melting of frozen water in hot temperatures
at the beach. Students will need to design and build their cooler, test their materials, and
justify their design decisions. In this lesson students will improve their cooler designs.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 10 Engineering Design Problem: Beat the Heat Part 1: Design a Cooler:

In this engineering design problem, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design process to design a cooler that will reduce the melting of frozen water in hot temperatures at the beach. Students will need to design and build their cooler, test their materials, and justify their design decisions. This lesson is the first of several lessons based on engineering design; in subsequent lessons, students will build and test their designs with ice.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

 .

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 7 Planning a Simulation: Changes to Water:

Students will use logical thinking, decision making and flowcharts to plan a coded simulation about the state of water, dependent upon water temperature. Students will then be able to use that flowchart and code their own simulation using a free online block-coding platform called Scratch.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit ofSaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

.

Type: Lesson Plan

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 11 Engineering Design Problem: Beat the Heat Part 2: Build a Cooler:

In this engineering design problem, students will have the opportunity to apply what they
learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and
cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design
process to design a cooler that will reduce the melting of frozen water in hot temperatures
at the beach. Students will need to design and build their cooler, test their materials, and
justify their design decisions. In this lesson students will build their cooler. In subsequent
lessons students will test their designs with ice and improve their designs.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

 .

Type: Lesson Plan

Zoom, Zoom, Vroom Vroom!:

In this lesson, students will explore forces, kinetic energy, and potential energy by engineering their own vehicles utilizing via the engineering design process.

Type: Lesson Plan

Modeling Patterns and Cycles in our Lives:

Elementary students use everyday patterns and cycles to learn the cyclical nature of science concepts. This lesson can be used as an Engage activity to spark interest in the seasons or Moon phases.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson 1: Making Models to Understand Our Home:

This lesson plan from NASA's Messenger program allows K-2 students to make a model of their home to understand models and scale.

Type: Lesson Plan

A View of Home from the Front Door and from Space:

The world is full of objects large and small, near and far. Models are built as powerful tools to help study large things such as buildings, towns, countries, and even the Earth and the Moon. With models, things beyond our physical reach can be easily explored. To begin to distinguish "home" from "home planet," students can build a model of their home and neighborhood as it appears from the front door of the house, from a tall building, from an airplane, and from outer space.

Type: Lesson Plan

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Exploring Diversity and Evolution: A Lesson Study Resource Kit for Grades 3-5:

This resource kit provides teachers engaged in lesson study with exemplary content background, unit and lesson plans, assessment items and tasks, and informational texts, related to the teaching and learning of diversity and evolution in grades 3-5. Complete with links to activities and lessons as well guiding questions, this resource kit contains all of the materials that a team would need to construct a unit of instruction that fully aligns to the academic standards for science, while supporting the informational text component of the standards for English language arts.

Type: Lesson Study Resource Kit

Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lessons

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 14 Beat the Heat MEA Part 1: Setting up the Cooler Experiment:

this MEA, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about describing
the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling. This MEA
is divided into four parts. In Part 1 of this activity, students will learn how to set up the
cooler experiment. They will watch a video and take notes. Students will also develop their
hypothesis in preparation to perform the experiment. In part 2, students will be asked to
use ice to test the coolers they designed in Beat the Heat Engineering Design Lessons.
Students will take measurements and collect data on their cooler. In part 3, students will
analyze the data they collected. Finally, in part 4 they will develop a procedure for selecting
the most effective cooler to keep water frozen the longest at the beach. In the optional
twist, students will need to take the mass of the cooler into account.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit ofSaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 15 Beat the Heat MEA Part 2: Cooler Experiment:

In this MEA, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about describing
the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling. This MEA
is divided into four parts. In part 1, students will develop their hypothesis and receive
information on how to set up the cooler experiment. In part 2, students will use ice to test
the coolers they designed in Beat the Heat Engineering Design Lessons. Students will take
measurements and collect data on their cooler. In part 3, students will analyze the data
they collected. Finally, in part 4 they will develop a procedure for selecting the most
effective cooler to keep water frozen the longest at the beach. In the optional twist,
students will need to take the mass of the cooler into account.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 17 Beat the Heat MEA Part 4: Ranking Procedure:

In this MEA, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about describing
the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling. This MEA
is divided into four parts. In part 1, students will develop their hypothesis and receive
information on how to set up the cooler experiment. In part 2, students will be asked to use
ice to test the coolers they designed in Beat the Heat Engineering Design Lessons.
Students will take measurements and collect data on their cooler. In part 3, students will
analyze the data they collected. Finally, in part 4 they will develop a procedure for selecting
the best cooler to keep water frozen the longest at the beach. They will communicate their
findings and procedure via a letter to next year’s class. In the optional twist, students will
need to take the mass of the cooler into account.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 9 Cool Cooler Design Model-Eliciting Activity (MEA):

In this MEA, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about describing
the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling. Students
will be asked to rank coolers based on data to solve an open-ended, realistic problem, while
considering constraints and tradeoffs. In the optional twist, students will need to take the
mass of the cooler into account.

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Water. This is a themed unit ofSaM-1's adventures while on a Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

 

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Physical Science Unit: Properties Lesson 21 Model Eliciting Activity: Entertaining Animals:

In this MEA, students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about physical properties and measuring linear lengths to a realistic problem. Students will be asked to design a prototype toy for Florida panthers housed at the CPALMS Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. Students will need to describe the physical properties (color, shape, texture, hardness, length) of the toy while explaining the rationale behind their design choices. In the optional twist, students will need to design a prototype toy suitable for a Florida panther with an injured leg. 

This is a lesson in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit on Properties. This is a themed unit of SaM-1's adventures at the CPALMS Rehabilitation and Conservation Center.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx .

Type: Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) STEM Lesson

Original Student Tutorials

The Use of Models in Science:

Learn how scientific models are one of the most important and central elements of scientific research with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 17 Video:

This SaM-1 video provides the students with the optional "twist" for Lesson 17 and the Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) they have been working on in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation. 

 

To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 14 Video:

This video introduces the students to a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) and concepts related to conducting experiments so they can apply what they learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state.  This MEA provides students with an opportunity to develop a procedure based on evidence for selecting the most effective cooler.

This SaM-1 video is to be used with lesson 14 in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation. To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 10 Video:

In this video, students will be introduced to an engineering design challenge to apply what they learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design process to design a cooler.

This SaM-1 video is to be used with lesson 10 in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Limits of Models in Science:

Learn how scientific models are similar to the natural world but can never depict it perfectly with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Words of Science:

Learn how science and research use words differently from everyday speech with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson 21 Video: MEA Entertaining Animals Part 2:

In this video, SaM-1 introduces a part 2 twist to the  Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) challenge. In the optional twist, students will need to design a prototype toy suitable for a Florida panther with an injured leg. This first video provides background information on why and how animals need to be entertained. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson 21 Video: MEA Entertaining Animals:

In this video, SaM-1 introduces a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) challenge for the students. This video provides background information on why and how animals need to be entertained. Students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about physical properties and measuring linear lengths as they are asked to design a prototype toy for Florida panthers housed at the CPALMS Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. 

In the optional twist, students will need to design a prototype toy suitable for a Florida panther with an injured leg. The optional twist also has a SaM-1 video to introduce the twist challenge.

 

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: Training, Simulation, and Modeling:

Complex problems require complex plans and training. Get in shape to get things done.

Related Resources:
KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: GPS Data Set[.XLSX]
KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: Path Visualization for Google Earth[.KML]

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Teaching Idea

Invertebrate "Heads Up 7 Up"-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

In this activity, the student will identify biographical information about various tidepool animals.

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resource

Understanding Mass and Matter:

This is an idea of how to teach mass and matter with good examples that children can understand.

Type: Text Resource

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

The Use of Models in Science:

Learn how scientific models are one of the most important and central elements of scientific research with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 17 Video:

This SaM-1 video provides the students with the optional "twist" for Lesson 17 and the Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) they have been working on in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation. 

 

To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 14 Video:

This video introduces the students to a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) and concepts related to conducting experiments so they can apply what they learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state.  This MEA provides students with an opportunity to develop a procedure based on evidence for selecting the most effective cooler.

This SaM-1 video is to be used with lesson 14 in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation. To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation Lesson 10 Video:

In this video, students will be introduced to an engineering design challenge to apply what they learned about the changes water undergoes when it changes state through heating and cooling by designing their own cooler. Students will be asked to use the engineering design process to design a cooler.

This SaM-1 video is to be used with lesson 10 in the Grade 3 Physical Science Unit: Water Beach Vacation.  To see all the lessons in the unit please visit https://www.cpalms.org/page818.aspx.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Limits of Models in Science:

Learn how scientific models are similar to the natural world but can never depict it perfectly with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Words of Science:

Learn how science and research use words differently from everyday speech with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson 21 Video: MEA Entertaining Animals Part 2:

In this video, SaM-1 introduces a part 2 twist to the  Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) challenge. In the optional twist, students will need to design a prototype toy suitable for a Florida panther with an injured leg. This first video provides background information on why and how animals need to be entertained. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Lesson 21 Video: MEA Entertaining Animals:

In this video, SaM-1 introduces a Model Eliciting Activity (MEA) challenge for the students. This video provides background information on why and how animals need to be entertained. Students will have the opportunity to apply what they learned about physical properties and measuring linear lengths as they are asked to design a prototype toy for Florida panthers housed at the CPALMS Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. 

In the optional twist, students will need to design a prototype toy suitable for a Florida panther with an injured leg. The optional twist also has a SaM-1 video to introduce the twist challenge.

 

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this topic.