Level 1

Alaska Science
Key Element A12

A student who meets the content standard should distinguish the patterns of similarity and differences in the living world in order to understand the diversity of life and understand the theories that describe the importance of diversity for species and ecosystems (Diversity).


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Performance Standard Level 1, Ages 5–7

Students sort plants and animals into groups using consistent criteria, and describe how some characteristics are for the survival of the plant or animal.

Sample Assessment Ideas

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Sample Assessment Ideas

  • Students sort 5-bean soup mix using their own criteria; draw and label how the beans were sorted; discuss how different students use different criteria.

  • Student groups collect and sort fifteen animal pictures based upon similarities or differences; create a group poster to explain how the animals were sorted; discuss how different animals have different characteristics; discuss how the characteristics of an animal help it to survive in its environment.

Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

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Expanded Sample Assessment Idea

  • Students will take a nature walk; observe plant and animal life; collect samples of local plants.


Students will:

  1. Discuss acceptable ways to collect plants before walk.

  2. Form pairs.

  3. Go on a walk accompanied by a knowledgeable adult who will help identify plants and animals.

  4. Take a plastic bag with them and collect at least three, but not more than five, different plants.

  5. Draw and label a picture of each plant collected in their science journal. Write the plant’s native or familiar name.

  6. Work with another pair of students (now each group of four has at least six to ten plants) sort the plant samples based upon the group’s chosen criteria. (This process repeats with groups of eight, and so on until the whole group is together.)

Reflection and Revision

What additional ways could you sort and classify the plants that you observed? What special characteristic do some plants have that others do not? What special characteristics help each plant to survive in its environment?


Levels of Performance

Stage 4
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Student work is complete, and shows evidence of logical reasoning. Student collects and classifies four or five plants using three or more attributes (color, size, shape, use, and so on). Drawings are correctly labeled and show correct color, size, and shape for each plant that was collected and classified. Student shows several ways that plants can be organized (in addition to the sorting criteria used in class), and describe several examples of plant adaptation.
Stage 3
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Student work is complete, but may contain minor errors or omissions. Student collects and classifies three plants using three or more attributes (color, size, shape, use, and so on). Drawings are labeled and show color, size, and shape for several of the plants that were collected and classified. Student describes one way that plants can be organized (in addition to the sorting criteria used in class), and describe at least one plant adaptation.
Stage 2
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Student work is incomplete or incorrect. Student collects at least two plants and attempts to classify them using some plant attributes (color, size, shape, use, and so on). Drawings show color, size, or shape for one plant that was collected. Student may attempt to describe how to organize plants using a new attribute or may repeat a description of the method used in class. Descriptions of plants and plant adaptations may include misconceptions.
Stage 1
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Student work is largely incomplete and incorrect.
Standards Cross-Reference red rule

Standards Cross-References
( Alaska Department of Education & Early Development Standards

National Science Education Standards

Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking. (Page 129)

Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms. (Page 129)



Some animals and plants are alike in the way they look and in the things they do, and others are very different from one another. (Page 102)

Plants and animals have features that help them live in different environments. (Page 102)

Stories sometimes give plants and animals attributes they really do not have. (Page 102)

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