NGSS Synthetic and Natural Resources Investigation and STEM Project MS-PS1-3

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21 Ratings
Grade Levels
5th - 9th, Homeschool
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14 pages
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Great resource that has everything you need. My school needed to switch to virtual so I was unable to complete the project but I can't wait to use it next year :)
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This phenomena-based, low prep and engaging NGSS and STEM Investigation and Project teaches middle school students that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society in various ways MS-PS1-3. This incredible activity has been newly updated as a digital PDF for home or distance learning! Students are presented with the phenomenon of floating garbage in the sea through a video clip and investigate one of several listed materials in the trash to ultimately learn that synthetic materials, in some capacity, come from raw materials in nature and are chemically changed to make something synthetic. They impact society in both positive and negative ways which are specific to each material. In groups or individually, students research their synthetic material, record information in a detailed outline, and develop a prop to present HOW the material is made/where it originated from.

Simply print and assign or attach to Google Classroom (or whatever platform you use!) Check out the other home/distance learning products in my store! Home and Distance Learning Resources

This 6-7 day project is aligned with the NGSS Performance Expectation MS-PS1-3 Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society. It is a ready to go, LOW PREP, seven day resource that should be taught at the culmination of a chemistry unit after students have learned about elements, compounds, and physical/chemical changes to asses their understanding in a true NGSS way. *Note: Students will learn what a natural resource is and what a synthetic material is as part of the introduction and in the card sort activity.

Included in this resource:

  • Student directions page with video link and 9 synthetic materials options to choose from
  • Colorful Card Sort of examples of Synthetic Products and Natural Resources
  • Detailed Outline for Notes
  • Links to video clips
  • Lesson Ideas and Teacher Tips
  • Rubric for Grading
  • Reflection page
  • Venn Diagram
  • Suggested Lesson Timeline
  • Basic Teacher Example

Simple Materials Needed: Internet access, samples of various synthetic materials for student observation (easy to gather such as a rubber band or balloon, plastic straw, plastic water bottle, fishing line, wax candle, glass, piece of rope, particle board, polyester, etc.)

Science and Engineering Practices:

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to evaluating the merit and validity of ideas and methods.

Crosscutting Concepts:

Structure and Function - Structures can be designed to serve particular functions by taking into account properties of different materials, and how materials can be shaped and used.

Looking for assessments for MS-PS1 standards?

MS-PS1-1 Atoms & Molecules Assessment Questions

MS-PS1-2 Chemical Reactions Assessment Questions

MS-PS1-3 Synthetic/Natural Resources Assessment Questions

MS-PS1-4 Modeling Adding/Removing Heat Assessment Questions

MS-LS1-5 Conservation of Mass Assessment Questions

Looking for ways to assess student understanding of the NGSS on tests, pre-assessments, exit tickets, etc.? Then, check out my newest line of NGSS Assessment Questions here: NGSS Assessments and Task Questions

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Interested in other NGSS aligned physical science products? Check out the links below:

Assessment Questions & Tasks for MS-PS1

Crosscutting Concepts Lab Stations

Human Impact Investigation & STEM Project

Synthetic and Natural Resources STEM Project

Prevent a Chemical Change With Pennies Lab

Build a Junk Molecule Project

Magnetic Fields and Eating Nails For Breakfast Lab

Modeling Particle Motion, State, and Temperature Lab

Physical and Chemical Changes Minilabs

Dry Ice Demonstration on Sublimation

Potential and Kinetic Energy Worksheet

Modeling Compounds and Molecules with Fasteners

Rutherford's Discovery of the Nucleus Lab (FREE)

States of Matter Metaphors
Introduction to Waves Activity

Properties of Waves PowerPoint and Foldable

Properties of Waves Labs

Modeling Reflection of Light Lab

Electromagnetic Spectrum Activity

NGSS Unit Template for Planning (Example Included)

***Buy the "Waves" Bundle and save $$ here: Waves Bundle

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NGSS Physical Science Bundle: Click Here

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Total Pages
14 pages
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


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