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   Minnesota Academic Standards - Science (2008-09): Some Complaints
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   The September 2008 draft is longer than the 2003 Second/Final draft,
and it does remedy some of the omissions of that draft.  The quality of
the writing is a little better, but still embarrassingly poor.  Bad
spelling, usage, and grammar abound.  In its lack of a unified style,
the 2008 draft still shows clear signs of being written by committee, or
worse, by multiple committees.  Students in grade four are expected
(Benchmark, code 4.1.1.1.1) to "Understand that clear communication is
an essential part of doing science."  This document, like the 2003
draft, falls short.

   While there is some additional content in this draft, many of my
complaints about the 2003 draft apply to this one as well.  This draft
is still virtually free of mathematics.  The chemistry and physics
sections seem to be entirely free of anything related to laboratory
activities.  Middle grades seem to have the same problem.  After grade
four, all the Benchmarks seem to say things like "Analyze", "Describe",
"Understand", "Recognize", "Explain", and so on.  No one is ever asked
to _do_ something in the real world.  Is this document related entirely
to what can be handled easily using a number-two pencil on a
machine-scored test form, or should it suggest some actual activities
for students after they put away the batteries and light bulbs in grade
four?

   I still claim that some sort of statement of purpose for this
document might be useful.  It's hard to know how well it might serve its
purpose when that purpose is a mystery.

   Some examples of some potentially valuable but currently missing
content follow:

   Buoyancy - floating versus sinking.  The term "density" appears
almost exclusively as a property of a substance, with any application of
the concept hidden in Earth science (Benchmark Code 8.3.2.2.2).  Why
_does_ a boat float?

   Electrical switches.  Simple electrical circuits are mentioned in
grade four.  Switches are never mentioned.  The circuit found in almost
every home which lets two switches control one light fixture is never
mentioned.  There must be at least two dozen electromechanical relays
in my car, controling all sorts of things, but there's not one in here.

   The relation between simple electrical switching circuits and logic
functions (or binary numbers) is absent.  The simplest fundamentals of
the operation of a digital computer are absent.  (Perhaps digital
computers are not really important in the modern world.)

   The difference between mass and weight is not mentioned.

   Mechanical stress and strain are not mentioned.

   Projectile motion and simple harmonic motion may be mentioned
obliquely, but never by those names.

   Electrolytes, electrolysis, oxidation, reduction are not mentioned. 
Valence electrons are, but not plain valence (or, of course, oxidation
states).

   The electromagnetic spectrum gets mentioned, but the use of
characteristic spectra (emission, infrared absorption, ...) of
substances for chemical analysis is more likely to be seen on a "CSI:
Crime Scene Investigation" television program than in school.  How does
one "[e]xplain how the Doppler shift of light provides evidence for
expansion of the universe" (Benchmark Code 9.3.3.3.4) without
understanding how characteristic emission spectra of substances make it
possible to measure that shift?

   Chromatography gets no more mention than spectroscopy, taking with it
any hope of DNA analysis (with its attendant polymerase chain reaction
technology) or a discussion of a genome.  (Here, the students could
watch "CSI" or "House, M.D.", where they might also gain some feeble
understanding of nuclear magnetic resonance as applied to medical
imaging).

   Consistent with the near-total absence of mathematics, exponential
growth (like population growth) and decay (like radioactive decay, or
the discharge of a capacitor ("What's that?")) are not mentioned.

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      General

   Should the Standard numbers make any sense?  The first one is "2.".

   Some, but not all, of the Code values end with ".".

   " ." appears at the end of some sentences.

   Could we standardize serial comma use?  I like "a, b, and c" better
than "a, b and c", because it's more helpful to the reader, but I see
no good reason to use both schemes in one document.

   Many of uses of "humans" would sound more natural as "people": "made
by people", "People change environments", "objects that help people
complete tasks", and so on.

   Please reserve "impact" for situations where there is an actual
impact, as when using a hammer, and use "affect" or "effect" where
appropriate.

   Grades K-8 occupy the first 29 pages of the document.  The chemistry
and physics sections occupy about 7 pages.  Grade 9 occupies about 17
pages.  This might strike a casual observer (especially one in grade 9)
as being somewhat out of balance.

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      Benchmark, Code 0.1.2.2.x

"(Examples: cars, playgrounds, buildings and building heating/cooling
systems)"

How about: "(Examples: Anything made by people.)"?  (Or, in Ed-speak,
"by humans".  I won't even suggest "by man".)

      Standard, Code 0.2.3.1.x

"1. The sun and burning some materials can provide heat."

This is Kindergarten.  Could we just say "The Sun and fire can provide
heat and light," and leave the question of what burns to the Benchmark?

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      Benchmark, Code 1.1.1.1.1

"Ask, "How do you know?" in situations where others present unsupported
information, and attempt to respond with reasonable answers when
likewised questioned."

"likewised"?

      Benchmark, Code 1.4.3.1.2

"Recognize that in all stages of their life cycles, plants and animals
closely resemble their parents."

Do you mean the way that their eggs and larvae (caterpillars) closely
resemble butterflies?  Or the way that seeds closely resemble their
parent plants?  Or did you mean that at each stage of its life cycle, an
organism resembles its parents at the same stage of their life cycles?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Benchmarks, Codes 2.1.1.2.1, 2.1.1.2.2

"Understand that when a science investigation is done the way it was
done before, a very similar result is expected."

"Understand that when a science investigation is done again in a
different place, we expect to get a very similar result."

Is there any reason not to combine these into something simple, like,
perhaps:

Understand that no matter who does it or where it is done, when a
scientific investigation is done the way it was done before, a very
similar result is expected.

      Standard, Code 2.1.2.1.x

"1. Engineering involves group interactions to address problems in light
of design constraints."

To address what sort of problems?  Why "group interactions"?  Can't a
lone engineer work on a design problem?

      Standard, Code 2.1.2.2.x

"2. Engineers create products or processes based on the needs and wants
of society."

Of "society"?  Can't individuals have needs and wants, too?  Or don't
engineers work on such limited problems?  I'm pretty sure that I've
engineered some devices intended to solve some problems of which society
knows nothing.  (Of course, those efforts may have lacked "group
interactions", so they may not really have been engineering.)

      Standard, Code 2.1.4.2.x

"2. Designed, and natural systems exist in the world. [...]"

Why the comma after "Designed"?

"[...] These systems are made up of components that act within a system
and interact with other systems."

What is interacting with what here?  Components and systems?  Systems
and other systems?  I'm confused.

      Benchmark, Code 2.2.1.2.1

"Distinguish between solids that have a definite shape and liquids that
take the shape of their container."

Instead of "liquids", why not "fluids", including both liquids and
gases?  I'd guess that most students in grade two have manipulated
balloons filled with both.  It should be easy enough to get the concepts
across.

      Benchmark, Code 2.2.1.2.2

"Observe that water can be a solid or liquid and can change from one
state to the other."

Water boils, too.  Come to think of it, start with one air-filled and
two water-filled balloons, and freeze one of the water balloons.  This
would exhibit all three phases of matter using familiar, almost
zero-cost equipment, and a phase change in the bargain.

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      Benchmark, Code 3.1.1.1.1

"Understand that one's prior knowledge and experience sometimes
influences observations that are made."

They does?  Apparently people (humans) don't diagram sentences any more. 
Too bad.  It might help.

      Benchmark, Code 3.1.1.1.2

"Provide better reasons for believing something other than "Everyone
knows that," or "I just know," and discount such reasons when given by
others."

Better other?  If they're better, they're probably other, too.

      Benchmark, Code 3.1.3.1.2

"Use tools to improve observations, and keep a record that describes the
observations made. (Examples of tools: scales, thermometers,
microscopes, balances, spring scales)"

This could be clearer.  Do you mean "scales" like rulers, or scales like
a balance, or scales like spring scales?  By third grade, I'd probably
prefer "instruments" to "tools", with the explanation that measuring
instruments are tools scientists (or even normal people (humans)) use to
measure things.  I assume that third-grade students have heard of
_musical_ instruments, so _measuring_ instruments shouldn't be too great
a leap.

      Standard, Code 3.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as 2.1.4.2.x.

      Benchmark, Code 3.2.1.1.1

"Sort and classify objects using properties of matter, including weight,
volume, temperature, color, shape, flexibility, durability, resistance
to water or fire, and ease of conducting heat."

What about density?  Some objects float in water while others sink.  I'd
guess that most students in grade three have observed this behavior,
perhaps in the bath.  For some years already.  If the term "density"
sounds too complex (as, I assume, "thermal conductivity" did), then make
up something, like, say, "floatiness".

      Benchmark, Code 3.2.1.1.2

"Use appropriate tools to measure temperature, volume, weight and
length."

Again, I'd say "instruments".  What happened to time?  I'd order them
differently: length or distance (ruler or tape measure), volume
(measuring cup or graduated cylinder), weight or mass (spring scale or
balance), time (clock or stopwatch), temperature (thermometer).

     Benchmark, Code 3.2.1.3.1

"Recognize that no matter how parts of an object are assembled, the
weight of the whole object made is always the same as the sum of the
parts."

Do you mean the sum of the _weights_ of its parts?

     Benchmark, Code 3.2.2.2.1

"Describe that sound travels away from a source in waves."

"Describe that"?  Perhaps, "Admit that"?  "Understand that"?

     Benchmark, Code 3.2.2.2.2

"Explain the relationship between the pitch of a sound and the rate of
vibration of the source."

Are we planning to discuss "the rate of vibration" without mentioning
"frequency"?

     Benchmark, Code 3.2.2.2.3

"Explain how different factors in the source affect the loudness of a
sound."

What would these "factors" be?  For which "sources"?

     Benchmark, Code 3.2.2.3.1

"Demonstrate how light energy travels in a straight line until it is
absorbed, bent or reflected by an object."

What does saying "energy" add to this?

     Benchmark, Code 3.3.2.2.1

"Measure, record, and describe weather conditions using common
instruments, including thermometer and rain gauge."

If "instruments" works here, then it should be ok above.

     Standard, Code 3.3.4.4.x

"4. Scientists use models represent and communicate to others
information about the Eath System ."

No one proof-read this?

     Benchmark, Code 3.3.4.4.1

"Use a map key to interpret symbols for different kinds of weather maps
used by meteorologists."

Does this Benchmark relate in any way to the Standard?  Or is a map an
example of a model of the Eath System?

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     Benchmark, Code 4.1.3.1.1

"Design a fair test (simple investigation with controls)."

A "fair test" of what?  Could this be more vague?  Examples?

     Benchmark, Code 4.1.3.1.3

"Distinguish actual observations from ideas and speculations about what
was observed."

How about "deductions"?  Those "ideas and speculations" sound flakey. 
It's important to separate actual observations from even very reasonable
deductions.

     Benchmark, Code 4.1.3.2.1

"Use data to construct reasonable explanations."

How, exactly?  I can understand how data can agree or disagree with a
proposed explanation of some phenomenon.  It's not clear to me how they
can be used to construct an explanation.  It's also not clear to me that
this will be clear to any teacher.

     Standard, Code 4.1.3.3.x

"3. Engineering design is the process of identifying problems,
developing multiple solutions and selecting the best possible solution,
and building the product."

I'd say that "developing multiple solutions" is one way, not the only
way, of determining "the best possible solution" to a design problem.  I
don't see a good definition of "best" here.  In many real-world
situations, "best" may include "first-to-market", which might easily
preclude "developing multiple solutions".

      Standard, Code 4.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as 2.1.4.2.x and 3.1.4.2.x.

      Standard. Code 4.3.3.1.x

"1. The universe consists of countless more objects than we can see
naturally and appear to be points of light and patterns of motion."

So, "objects [...] appear to be [...] patterns of motion"?  Huh?  Or do
the universe appear [...]?  Should the reader need to guess what this
stuff means?

      Benchmark, Code 4.3.3.1.3

"Recognize that a large light source at a great distance looks like a
small light that is much closer and that the sun is a star which looks
big because it is close to the Earth."

Ninety-three million miles is "close"?  Perhaps, "relatively close", or
"much closer to the Earth than other stars are".

      Benchmark, Code 4.3.3.1.4

"Recognize that the Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun
and the moon orbits around the Earth."

Why do planets "orbit the sun", but "the moon orbits _around_ the
Earth."  (And why is Earth capitalized, but not Sun or Moon?)  With more
helpful punctuation:

Recognize that the Earth is one of several planets that orbit the Sun,
and that the Moon orbits the Earth.

      Standard, Code 4.3.4.4.x

"4. Scientists use models represent and communicate to others
information about the Earth System ."

This is not a big improvement over Code 3.3.4.4.x, with its "Eath
System".  Has anyone defined "the Earth System"?  Does it differ in any
way from "the Earth"?

      Benchmark, Code 4.3.4.4.3

Similar complaint to that at 3.3.4.4.1.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Standard, Code 5.1.2.1.x

"1. Engineers work as individuals and in groups to develop and recognize
alternative solutions."

It's nice to see that individual engineers do exist.  Solutions to what? 
Alternative to what?

      Benchmark, Code 5.1.2.1.2

"Understand that requirements for a design include such factors as the
desired element and features of a product or system or the constraints
that are placed on the design."

What is "the desired element [...] of a product or system"?  Constraints
are constraints, they're not requirements.  That's why "constraint" is
spelled differently from "requirement".

      Benchmark, Code 5.1.2.1.4

"Identify factors such as cost, safety, appearance, culture,
environmental impact, and what will happen if the solution fails, that
must be considered in technological design."

Outside of the field of Education, an actual "solution" can not fail.  A
real design (a _proposed_ solution) might fail.  Again, in the real
world, business considerations like time-to-market, competitive
products, restrictive patents, profit potential (more complex than
"cost" alone), and so on, need to be considered.

      Benchmark, Code 5.2.1.2.1

"Compare and contrast the mass, shape, compressibility, and volume of
solids, liquids and gases."

What is the mass of a gas?  What is the shape of a liquid?  What,
exactly, are we talking about here?  What is the mass of a solid
_object_?  Of some volume of a liquid?  This Benchmark seems too sloppy
to be useful.

      Benchmark, Code 5.2.2.1.1

"Demonstrate that the greater the force applied, the greater the change
in motion."

This may be hard to do, because it's not true.  In fact, the greater the
force applied, the greater the _rate_of_ change in motion.  A large
force applied for a short time can have the same effect as a small force
applied for a long time.  This can be important when one is trying to
deflect a near-Earth asteroid, for example.  (Force is not the same as
Impulse, a concept not included in this document.)

      Benchmark, Code 5.3.1.3.2

"Classify rocks based on criteria the student has observed."

What might these "criteria" be?  How does one observe criteria?  What is
this supposed to say?

      Standard, Code 5.3.4.1.x

"1. Human systems gather resources from the living and nonliving
environment to meet the needs and wants of a population. Some resources
are scarcer than others, some are renewable, and some are nonrenewable."

What is a "Human system"?  Is it anything like "People"?  Do you mean
anything like, "People gather resources from the living and nonliving
environment to meet their needs and wants."?

"Some resources are scarcer than others, some are renewable, and some
are nonrenewable."

Are these three disjoint categories, or did you mean something like the
following?

Some resources are scarcer than others.  Some resources are renewable,
and some are not.

      Benchmark, Code 5.3.4.1.3

"For example, extraction of iron for steel, oil or coal for energy."

Or those trees ("forests") from Benchmark Code 5.3.4.1.2?

      Benchmark, Code 5.3.4.1.4

"Recognize naturally occurring materials may be processed and changed to
modify their properties into more useful products."

Are "their properties" being modified, or are the materials themselves? 
Perhaps something like the following would be clearer.

Recognize that naturally occurring materials may be processed to change
their properties, making them into more useful products.

      Standard, Code 5.3.4.3.x

"3. Humans can influence changes in the environment."

What _causes_ those changes which people might influence?  Or did you
mean that people cause those changes?

      Standard, Code 5.4.2.1.1

"1. Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain
success."

How is a successful natural system defined?  Success by whom?

      Benchmark, Code 5.4.2.2.3

"Explain what would happen to a system such as a garden, terrarium, or
an aquarium if one of the components were changed."

Why "a garden" and "an aquarium" but (plain) "terrarium"?

      Benchmark, Code 5.4.4.1.1

Same complaint as Code 5.4.2.2.3.

      Benchmark, Code 5.4.4.1.2

"Give examples of human interaction with natural systems that are
beneficial and harmful."

Are the interactions beneficial and harmful, or are the natural systems
beneficial and harmful?  Perhaps:

Give examples of beneficial and harmful interactions between people and
natural systems.  (Of course, "Beneficial (or harmful) to whom?", is a
question which fairly cries out to be asked here.)  People are
unnatural, so they can't be part of a natural system?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Standard, Code 6.1.1.1.x

"1. Science is a complex social enterprise in which individuals share
common beliefs and values, all of which may be influenced by personal
experience and cultural perspective."

So, a lone individual can't do science?  Interesting.  (Unlike for the
engineers, I didn't see a reprieve for individual scientists.)

      Benchmark, Code 6.1.1.1.2

"Understand that no matter who does science and mathematics or when or
where they do it, the resulting knowledge eventually becomes available
to everyone in the world."

Who writes this drivel?  I thought that the Comintern went out of
business years ago.  First, while "eventually" may encompass a long
time, "everyone in the world" is a very large and diverse group, and no
one here knows what's available to all of its members.  Second, I claim
that a person can do science and mathematics, and keep his mouth shut
about it.  I sure hope so.  I believe that there's a good deal of
science (as well as technology) involved in the development of, say, a
thermonuclear explosive, and I'd like to think that this kind of
knowledge will not soon become available to everyone in the world.  (Or
even to that subset of "everyone" who might be able to understand it.)

      Benchmark, Code 6.1.1.2.2

"Understand that different explanations can be given for the same
evidence. It is not always possible to tell which one is correct."

Why not?  Isn't that what experiments are intended to tell us?

      Standard, Code 6.1.2.1.x

"1. Engineers create, develop, and manufacture machines, structures,
processes, and systems, (e.g., technologies) that impact society and may
make humans more productive."

"e.g."?  Do you mean, "i.e."?  (All the data suggest a deficiency in
Latin skills here.  When in doubt, which, apparently, should be always,
try using English.  Few people, even professional educators, will
confuse "for example" with "that is".)

The evidence often appears slim, but some people claim that computer
programs are also engineered.

      Benchmark, Code 6.1.2.1.1

"Identify a common engineered system and evaluate it's impact on the
daily life of humans, the local environment, and wildlife habitat."

"it's impact"?  Perhaps, "its effects"?
http://eatsshootsandleaves.com/eslex.html

      Benchmark, Code 6.1.2.1.2

"Recognize that new technologies have side effects that may increase
some risks and decrease others."

But _old_ technologies don't?  Risks of what?  Why not something less
vague?  Perhaps:

Recognize that technologies with obvious benefits may have undesired
side effects (which may be less obvious).

      Standard, Code 6.1.3.3.x

"3. Engineering design is the process of devising a product or solution
to meet a desired need or solve a specific problem."

I know what desires and needs are.  What is a "desired need"?

      Standard, Code 6.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as Code 2.1.4.2.x.

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.3.1.1

"Trace the changes of energy forms, including heat, mechanical,
chemical, electrical and nuclear, as it is used for transportation,
lighting or other purposes."

What is "it" here, "changes"?  "energy forms"?  Anything in this
sentence?

      Standard, Code 6.2.3.2.x

"2. Many of the properties of visible light are explained in terms of
waves."

Perhaps:

Many of the properties of visible light can be explained in terms of
waves.

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.3.2.1

"Describe the wave properties of light, including speed, wavelength and
frequency and compare them to sound waves."

What is "them" here, "wave properties"?  Compare "wave properties" to
"sound waves"?  Perhaps:

Describe the wave properties of light, including speed, wavelength, and
frequency, and compare them to the corresponding properties of sound
waves.

It might make more sense to have a benchmark involving the abstract wave
properties (speed, wavelength, and frequency), and then one or more
separate benchmarks involving the observation of these properties in
different kinds of waves, like sound, light, plucked strings, lake
surface waves, and so on.

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.3.2.2

"Use wave properties of light to explain reflection, refraction,
absorbance and the color spectrum."

How do the wave properties of light explain absorbance?  Why couldn't
particle properties of light explain absorbance, too?  A wave theory of
light is compatible with observed behaviors like reflection, but so is a
particle theory of light.  When you get to phenomena like diffraction
(pretty colors produced by a CD or DVD), _then_ a wave theory of light
pays off much better than the alternatives.  What, exactly, is the point
we're trying to get across here?  (Diffraction never appears in this
document, does it?  Sigh.)

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.3.2.3

"Apply wave properties of light to describe phenomena such as mirrors,
lenses, rainbows, light sources and the color of objects."

Why is this Benchmark separate from Code 6.2.3.2.2?  Mirrors, lenses,
and light sources are _phenomena_?  I thought that they were objects. 
Reflection and refraction are phenomena.

Again, what, exactly, is the point we're trying to get across here?

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.4.1.1

"Compare the advantages and disadvantages of generating electricity
using various sources or energy, such as fossil fuels, nuclear fission,
wind, sun or tidal energy."

Do you mean "sources _of_ energy"?  "Sun _light_"?  "Tidal _motion_"?

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.4.1.2

"Explain how power and transportation management systems can be used to
minimize costs and environmental impact."

Do you mean "environmental harm", or are we trying to minimize
environmental benefits, too?

      Benchmark, Code 6.2.4.1.4

"Describe how the invention and use of electrical devices has affected
society."

Yes, how has they done this?  Q: How many committee members does it take
to match a verb with its subject?  A: More than we have.

      Standard, Code 6.3.2.2.x

"2. Transfer of heat energy at the boundaries between the atmosphere,
the landmasses, and the oceans result in distinctive weather patterns."

It _do_ result in them?  (After several of these, it's hard not to
scream.)

      Standard, Code 6.3.3.2.x

"2. The earth is the third planet from the sun in a system that includes
the moon, the sun, seven other planets and their moons, and smaller
objects."

Here, even "earth" is not capitalized.  What's the rule?

      Benchmark, Code 6.4.2.1.2

"Compare and contrast predator/prey, parasite/host and
producer/consumer/decomposer relationships."

One creature's output is another's input.  To me, this
producer/consumer/decomposer terminology seems largely artificial and
unhelpful.  Seeing that most of Standard Code 6.4.2.2.x is devoted to
it, I gather that it's fundamental to the current curriculum.

      Benchmark, Code 6.4.4.1.2

"Describe ways that humans impact natural systems, such as farming,
medicine, conservation."

Or stomping on anthills, if you really mean "impact".

Say, were those Minnesota American Indian humans ever part of a natural
system?  Was "natural" ever defined?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Standard, Code 7.1.1.1.x

Same complaint as 6.1.1.1.x.

      Benchmark, Code 7.1.2.1.1

"Compare consumer products in terms of features, performance, durability
and cost, and reasonable personal tradeoffs among them."

What does "personal tradeoffs" mean?

      Standard, Code 7.1.4.1.x

"1. Technology and science cannot always provide successful solutions
for problems or fulfill every human need."

Can you prove this statement?

Bearing in mind that outside of the field of Education, there is no such
thing as an unsuccessful solution, perhaps:

Technology and science may not always be able to provide solutions for
problems or fulfill every human need.

      Benchmark, Code 7.1.4.1.2

"Understand that technologies have dramatically changed how people live
and work and have resulted in rapid increases in the human population."

"resulted in" or "permitted"?

      Standard, Code 7.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as Code 2.1.4.2.x.

      Standard, Code 7.2.1.1.x

"1. The effect of heat on matter can be explained by the idea that
matter is made of small particles, which are in constant motion."

What, exactly, is this "effect of heat on matter"?  Perhaps, "The
effects"?  Instead of "in constant motion", I'd say. "always in motion". 
"Constant" suggests a constancy which isn't there.

      Benchmark, Code 7.2.1.1.1

"Provide evidence that matter is made of small particles that are always
in motion, and how the state of matter depends on this motion."

Yeah.  Like that.  Except for the part which makes no sense.  "Provide
evidence [...] how the state of matter depends on this motion."?  Huh?

      Benchmark, Code 7.2.1.2.1

"Use characteristic properties (including density, melting point,
boiling point, chemical reactivity, and solubility) to identify
substances and separate them from a mixture."

I hear that magnetic separation is popular in the northern part of the
state.  At least that's what I learned from the model taconite mine at
the State Fair in a previous era.

      Benchmark, Code 7.3.1.1.1

"Use global topographic maps to evaluate distribution of ocean trenches,
[...]"

"_the_ distribution"?

      Benchmark, Code 7.3.4.1.3

"Investigate how usage rates and conservation efforts affect the
availability of a resource."

And its cost?

      Standard, Code 7.4.1.1.x

"1. All organisms are composed of cells that carry on the many functions
needed to sustain life."

So, we're excluding viruses from "organisms" (or the "living things" in
the Benchmark, Code 7.4.1.1.1)?

      Benchmark, Code 7.4.1.1.2

"Recognize that about two thirds of the weight of cells is accounted for
by water, and that cells need food, water, air, and a way to dispose of
waste."

Whose cells need these things?  Anaerobic bacteria need air?

      Standard, Code 7.4.1.2.x

"2. Tissues, organs and organ systems are composed of cells and function
to serve the needs of all cells for food, air, and waste removal."

Again, whose cells need these things?

      Benchmark, Code 7.4.1.2.2

"Recognize that all cells do not look alike and that specialized cells
in multicellular organisms perform specialized functions and are
organized into tissues and organs."

Do you mean that "all cells do not look alike", or that "not all cells
look alike"?  I contain many cells which look alike.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Standard, Code 8.1.1.1.x

Same complaint as Code 6.1.1.1.x.

      Benchmark, Code 8.1.2.1.2

"Recognize that design usually requires taking constraints into account.
Some constraints, such as gravity or the properties to be used, are
unavoidable. Others, including economic, political, social, ethical, and
aesthetic constraints, limit choices."

I'll admit that gravity is pretty unavoidable, but I wouldn't call it a
constraint.  What does "the properties to be used" mean?  Something to
do with real estate?  Might it be anything like the properties of
available materials?  In the real world, the cost budget is normally one
of the more important constraints on a design.  Is that what "economic"
was supposed to convey?  If you're designing a spacecraft, size, mass,
and power consumption limits tend to be more important than cost.  For a
portable consumer product, like a cellular telephone handset or an MP3
player, size, mass, and power consumption are still important, but cost
may matter more, and time-to-market may be a critical constraint. 
Regulatory requirements, often safety-related, can impose constraints on
a design.  Durability or product lifetime requirements are common.  I'd
guess that most engineers seldom (if ever) bump into most of the items
on your list.

      Standard, Code 8.1.4.1.x

Same complaint as Code 7.1.4.1.x.

      Standard, Code 8.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as Code 2.1.4.2.x.

      Benchmark, Code 8.2.1.2.1

"Compare mixtures, elements, and compounds, in terms of atoms and
molecules."

Was there a Benchmark anywhere which demanded that we know what atoms
and molecules are, or is this it?

      Benchmark, Code 8.2.1.3.1

"Recognize that in a chemical reaction, the properties of the products
are different from the properties of the reactants, although the mass
remains the same."

Is it worth emphasizing that it's the total mass of the closed system
which remains the same?  (I'd vote yes.)

      Standard, Code 8.2.2.1.x

"1. The motion of an object is determined by forces acting on it [...]"

No, it's not.  The motion of an object is determined by its initial
motion and all the forces which have ever acted upon it.

"[...] and can be described in terms of position, direction and speed."

The motion of an object is completely described by its position as a
function of time.  Quantities like its velocity and acceleration can be
derived from the position information.  Position, velocity (speed and
its direction) and acceleration (magnitude and its direction) are all
interesting data, but I would say something more like the following:

When analyzing the motion of an object, interesting quantities include
position, velocity (speed and direction) and acceleration (magnitude and
direction).

      Benchmark, Code 8.2.2.1.1

"Measure, calculate and graph the position and speed versus time for an
object traveling in a straight line."

This could be quite complex, depending on the forces acting on that
object.  Are we talking about a situation of constant speed, or constant
acceleration, or are we throwing to doors wide open to situations which
introductory calculus students couldn't handle?  Perhaps "traveling in a
straight line" sounds simple, but it's not necessarily simple.

      Benchmark, Code 8.2.2.2.2

"Analyze how unbalanced forces on an object affect its speed and/or
direction of motion."

So, we'll be discussing changes of speed and/or direction, without
mentioning acceleration?

      Standard, Code 8.3.1.3.x

"3. Rocks are the evidence of changes that have happened in the past.
There are different kinds of rocks and their composition and textures
provide evidence for how they formed."

Why (singular) "composition" but (plural) "textures"?

      Standard, Code 8.3.2.2.x

Same complaint as 6.3.2.2.x.

      Benchmark, Code 8.3.2.2.3.

"Explain how the combination of the Earth's tilted axis and revolution
around the sun causes the progression of seasons."

Hey!  Congratulations!

      Benchmark, Code 8.3.3.3.2

"Recognize that the sun is a medium-sized star and is the closest star to
Earth. It is the central and largest body in the solar system and is one
of billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy."

Why is "Galaxy" capitalized here?  (Would you capitalize "candy bar" in
"Milky Way candy bar"?)

      Benchmark, Code 8.3.4.2.1

"Cite evidence and describe how common materials used by individuals
from human systems affect both physical and chemical cycles of the
Earth."

Are "individuals from human systems" anything like "people"?

"(Examples: 1. Some household wastes, such as paper products are
easily decomposed and enter the carbon cycle. Other waste, such as
plastic, interferes with natural processes. 2. Motor oil entering storm
drains affecting the hydrologic cycle.)"

Why "affecting" instead of "affects", to agree with the mood of 1?

      Standard, Code 8.4.4.2.x
      Benchmark, Code 8.4.4.2.1

"2. Human beings are constantly interacting with other organisms that
cause disease."

"Explain how viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites may infect the human
body and interfere with normal body functions."

From these, one might infer that those disease-causing viruses are
organisms, so they must be alive, but they weren't alive back in the
seventh grade.  It's a miracle!  Now, what do we do about prions? 
(Ignore them?)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Standard, Code 9.1.1.1.x

"1. Science is a complex enterprise with a goal of understanding the
natural world. Scientists share common beliefs and values, all of which
may be influenced by personal experience and cultural perspective."

Have the ninth-grade students outgrown that spurious "social" quality in
this complex enterprise?  Perhaps they could have a talk with the
students in grades six through eight.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.1.2

"Discern that there are different traditions in science about what is
investigated and how, but they all have in common certain basic beliefs
about the value of evidence, logic and good arguments."

"Discern"?  Perhaps, "understand"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.1.4

"Identify sources of bias and how bias might influence the direction of
research and interpretation of data."

"Identify [...] how [...]"?  Perhaps:

Identify sources of bias and describe how bias might influence the
direction of research and interpretation of data.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.2.1

"Understand that scientific knowledge is a particular kind of knowledge
with its own sources of justifications and uncertainties."

Are you offering examples of any other kinds of knowledge, or what these
"sources of justifications" might be?  I don't understand the point of
this Benchmark.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.2.2

"Recognize that the usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its
prediction to actual observations in the real world. But a close match
does not means that the model is the only model that will work."

A model can make only one prediction ("its prediction")?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.2.4

"Explain how scientific and technological innovations as well as new
evidence can challenge portions of or entire accepted theories and
models including, but not limited to, cell theory, atomic theory, theory
of evolution, plate tectonic theory, gem theory of disease and big bang
theory."

Ah, yes, the "gem theory of disease", a dazzling example of a scientific
theory which triumphed over the organized opposition of the jewelers'
guild.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.1.2.6

"Understand that scientists conduct investigations for a wide variety of
reasons including: to discover new aspects of the natural world, to
explain recently observed phenomena, to test the conclusions of prior
investigations or the predictions of current theories."

I seem to recall examples of investigations trying to explain phenomena
which were observed long ago, too, but still not explained.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.2.1.5

"Recognize that not all factors can be known all the time, and engineers
use "safety factors" to build publicly used items such as bridges, roads
and buildings, in order to keep them safe even in the presence of
uncertainties."

So, engineers do _not_ use safety factors in _privately_ used items?

Note that a safety factor may offer little benefit if it's based on a
poor estimate of the parameter being boosted by that safety factor. 
(Twice as big as too small may not be big enough.)

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.3.1.1

"Formulate testable hypotheses and demonstrate the logical connections
between the scientific concepts guiding an hypothesis and the design of
an experiment."

Does anyone without a bad British accent actually say "an hypothesis"? 
(It might be safer to stick with the plural.)

      Standard, Code 9.1.3.3.x

"3. Engineering design is a creative decision making process of devising
a product or solution to meet a desired need or solve a specific
problem. Redesign of the problem and/or solution can happen at any point
in the design process."

Same complaint about "desired need" as at Code 6.1.3.3.x.  I thought
that products and processes ("solutions") were designed.  Now I need to
design the problem, too?  Or were you trying to say that the design
_requirements_ (or constraints) may change?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.3.3.1

"Identify a design problem and decide whether it is feasable to address
it."

What happens when you decide not to address it?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.3.3.3

"Refine a design by using prototypes and modeling to ensure quality,
efficiency, and productivity of the final product."

Why introduce these new criteria ("quality, efficiency, and
productivity")?  Can't we use our original design criteria, whatever
they were?  If not, what good were they?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.3.3.4

"Evaluate the designed solution [...]"

"Designed solution"?  Is that anything like a "design"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.3.3.6

"Evaluate final solutions and communicate observations, processes, and
results of entire design process, using verbal, graphic, quantitative,
virtual, and written means, in addition to three-dimensional models."

Ignoring any unfortunate connotations of the phrase "final solution",
didn't we just claim (Code 9.1.2.1.1) that "[...] engineering designs
need to be continually checked and critiqued concerning alternatives,
risks, costs, and benefits, so that subsequent designs are refined and
improved."?  So, what's a "final solution"?  Is it anything like a
design proposal which has been accepted?  Unless you corrupt its
meaning, "solution" is a very dangerous word to be used in an
engineering context.  "Design" is probably a better choice in most
cases.

      Standard, Code 9.1.4.2.x

Same complaint as Code 2.1.4.2.x.

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.4.4.3

"Recognize that the value of any given technology maybe different for
different groups and at different points in time."

"maybe"?  Perhaps, "may be"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.1.4.4.4

"[...] There may be little reliable data available, [...]"

Where I come from, "data" is still the plural of "datum".  Using
"information" avoids the argument.  (Is anyone still teaching Latin?)

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.1.1

"Identify protons, neutrons, and electrons as the major components of
the atom, their mass relative to one another, their arrangement, and
their charge."

"Identify [...] their mass relative to one another [...]"?  Do you mean
something like, "Compare their masses"?

"Identify [...] their arrangement [...]"?  Do you mean something like,
"Describe their arrangement within an atom"?

"Identify [...] their charge"?  Do you mean something like, "Compare
their electric charges"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.1.3

"Describe how experimental evidence led Dalton, Rutherford, Thompson,
Chadwick and Bohr to develop increasingly accurate models of the atom."

Whoa!  Scientists!  Pretty long drought before grade nine.  Why wouldn't
this Benchmark fall under Strand 1, History and Nature of Science? 
Everything else seems to, so why not some actual history?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.2.3

"Describe how temperature, pressure, and surface area affect the
dissolving process."

Do they affect anything other than the _rate_ of the process?  Should
"rate" be mentioned here?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.3.4

"Use indicators to compare the strengths of various common acids and
bases such as vinegar, baking soda, soap, and citrus juice, and
determine whether a solution is an acid, base or neutral solution."

I like indicators, but don't schools have pH meters these days?

      Standard, Code 9.2.1.4.x

"4. Atoms are changed into other atoms or isotopes through changes in
the atomic nucleus and often produce energy and ionizing radiation as a
result of these changes."

So, atoms are changed into isotopes?  Huh?  Perhaps:

An atom of one element can be changed into an atom of a different
element, or into an atom of a different isotope of the same element. 
These changes occur in the atom's nucleus, and may release energy in the
form of emitted particles, including ionizing radiation.

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.4.1

"Explain how some isotopes of elements are unstable and undergo
radioactive decay, at a predictable rate, releasing energy as ionizing
radiation; and that such decay processes can be used for determining the
age of materials, and for medical treatments of disease."

Is ionizing radiation the only mechanism for releasing energy?  What
about neutrons?  Aren't they emitted in some forms of decay?  Are they
ionizing?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.1.4.2

"Describe alpha decay, beta decay, fission reactions and fusion
reactions in terms of structural nuclear changes, products of the
reactions, uses, and effects on the environment."

What happened to gammas?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.2.1.1

"Use Newton's Laws of Motion to explain, analyze and calculate the
effect of forces on the straight line motion of an object."

Is "the straight line motion of an object" a property of any object, or
are we talking about analyzing the motion of an object in the special
case where it moves in a straight line?

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.3.1.2

"Explain and calculate the relationship of current, voltage, resistance
and power in simple electric circuits."

How does one calculate a relationship?  Perhaps:

Explain the relationships among current, voltage, resistance, and power
in simple electric circuits, and be able to calculate each quantity from
the others (when given enough information to do so).

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.4.1.2

"Compare the method of light production and efficiency for incandescent,
fluorescent, solid state, and gas discharge light bulbs."

Could we say, "light sources" instead of "light bulbs"?  The newer ones
tend not to be very bulbous.

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.4.2.3

"Apply understanding of accuracy and precision to describe how
measurements are uncertain based on the limitations of the tool and
measurement techniques used."

"tools"?  (Or even "instruments"?)

      Benchmark, Code 9.2.4.2.4

"Demonstrate the conversion of units within the Systeme Internationale
(SI, or metric) and estimate the magnitude of common objects and
quantities using metric units."

I believe that most of the English-speaking world says, "International
System of Units", while admitting that the abbreviation "SI" comes from
the French.  (More History of Science material is hidden there.)

What is "the magnitude of [a] common object"?  Do you mean the sizes of
common objects?  Their masses?  Their speeds?  Their temperatures?

Conversion only _within_ SI?  Not between SI and our conventional units? 
Wouldn't that would be somewhere between trivial and pointless?

      Standard, Code 9.3.1.1.x

"1. Relationships among earthquakes, mountains, volcanoes, fossil
deposits, rock layers, and ocean features are evidence that support the
theory of plate tectonics. Tectonic plates constantly move at rates of
centimeters per year in response to movements in the mantle."

Let's play Find-the-Subject for "support[s]".

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.1.1.1

"Describe the distribution of low silica and high silica volcanism;
explain how those magmas form, and are evidence of differing types of
activity at plate boundaries."

Which magmas are "those magmas"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.1.1.2

"[...]  Describe seismic activity at subduction zones and show how
this is evidences for a diving plate edge."

How many "evidences" is it?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.1.1.3

"Explain how the symmetric pattern of magnetic reversals and rock ages
on both sides of a mid-ocean ridge are evidence of sea floor spreading."

So, we're talking here about a "symmetric pattern of magnetic reversals
[...] on both sides of a mid-ocean ridge", but plain-old "rock ages on
both sides of a mid-ocean ridge", not a "symmetric pattern of rock ages
on both sides of a mid-ocean ridge"?  Or do we need to play
Find-the-Subject again here, too?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.1.3.1

[...] Use that data [...]

Use _those_ data?  Use that _information_?

      Standard, Code 9.3.2.1.x

"1. The Earth system has internal and external sources of energy, both
of which create heat and drive the motion of material in the oceans,
atmosphere, and solid earth."

Here, "internal and external sources" suggests more than one of each
type, but "both" suggests exactly two sources.  What is intended?
(Still wondering if the "Earth system" differs in any way from the
"Earth".)

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.2.1.2

"Explain how the outward transfer of earth's internal heat drives the
convection circulation in the mantle that propels the plates comprising
the surface features across the face of the globe."

The plates _comprise_ the surface features?  Perhaps: [...] the plates
whose interactions drive the formation of many of the surface features
across the face of the globe.

      Standard, Code 9.3.2.2.x

"2. Global climate is determined by energy transfer from the sun at the
Earth's surface. The energy transfer is influenced by static and dynamic
processes, including Earth's rotation, cloud cover and the position of
mountain ranges and oceans."

It's _determined_ by or affected by [...]?  Nothing else matters?  I can
see how mountain ranges can (also) affect climate, but it's less clear
how they would affect energy transfer from the sun.

The "position[s] of mountain ranges and oceans" are "processes"? 
(And position matters, but size doesn't?)

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.2.2.2

"Explain how the transfer of energy, motions of the Earth, and location
of mountain ranges contribute to global climatic patterns."

Perhaps the _configuration_ of mountain ranges would be better than
"location".

      Benchmark, Codes 9.3.2.3.1, 9.3.2.3.2, and 9.3.2.3.3

Why did these need to be separate items?

      Standard, Code 9.3.3.2.x

"2. The sun, the earth, and the rest of the solar system formed from a
nebular cloud of dust and gas 4.6 million years ago. Early earth evolved
into its present habitable form because of interactions among solid
earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms."

Did you mean "million" or "billion?  Are we now pushing a compromise
with the young-Earth creationists?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.3.2.2

"Compare the characteristics of Earth with the characteristics and
movement patterns of the other planets, their satellites and other
objects in our solar system."

So, you're comparing "characteristics" with "movement patterns"? 
Perhaps:

Compare the characteristics and movement patterns of the Earth with
those of the other planets, their satellites, and other objects in our
solar system.

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.3.2.3

"Compare and contrast the environmental parameters that make life
possible on Earth with conditions found on the other planets of our
solar system."

Couldn't we compare parameters with parameters, or conditions with
conditions?  Would that be too boring?  Does "planets" here include
"their satellites", too?  (It didn't seem to a moment ago.)  Or aren't
we interested in the moons of the big planets?

      Standard, Code 9.3.3.3.x

"Our understanding of the nature of the universe and its formation and
composition has been supported, refined, and challenged as technology
advances. The current theory is that its entire contents expanded
explosively from a hot, dense chaotic mass after which elements clumped
together to eventually form stars and galaxies."

What are these "elements" which clumped together?  Chemical elements?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.3.3.4

"Explain how the Doppler shift of light provides evidence for expansion
of the universe."

Are we talking about star light here, or light in general?

      Standard, Code 9.3.4.2.x

"The interaction of human and natural systems can create properties that
are different from either individual system."

And here we seem to be comparing "properties" with a "system".  Couldn't
we compare properties with properties, or systems with systems?  What
are we talking about here?

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.4.2.1

"Analyze how human activities (such as reducing the amount of forest
cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the
atmosphere, and intensive farming) have changed the Earth's land,
oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the
capacity of the environment to support some life forms."

What about natural (which, I gather, means non-human) activities (such
as volcanos erupting, lightning burning forests, small bodies from
elsewhere in the Solar system colliding with the Earth, and so on)?  Ask
the dinosaurs if any of these might "have decreased the capacity of the
environment to support some life forms."

      Benchmark, Code 9.3.4.3.2

"Compare the costs and tradeoffs of various hazards ranging from those
with minor risk to a few people to major catastrophes with major risk to
many people. The scale of events and accuracy with which scientists and
engineers can (and cannot) predict events are important considerations."

Ooh.  _Major_ catastrophes.  What's a _minor_ catastrophe?

      Benchmark, Code 9.4.1.1.3

"Explain how viruses, prokaryotic cells, and eukaryotic cells differ in
relative size, complexity and general structure."

What are those pesky viruses doing here, intruding on a group of
_living_ things?

      Standard, Code 9.4.2.1.x

"1. The interrelationship and interdependence of organisms generate
biological communities in stable ecosystems. These ecosystems can change
as the environment changes."

How "stable" are these ecosystems if they "can change"?

      Benchmark, Code 9.4.2.2.2

"Explain how the total amount of matter and energy in an ecosystem is
transferred among organisms, or in the case of energy, is dissipated as
heat into the physical environment."

So, _all_ the energy ("the total amount of [...] energy") "is
transferred among organisms"?  No one gets to keep any?  It's the same
for matter?  And energy is always "dissipated as heat [...], not
"transferred among organisms"?  This seems either very unclear or very
defective.  If we're trying to talk about conservation of mass and
energy in a closed system, why not just say so?  (And then say something
about them which makes some sense.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.1.2

"Explain the relationships among atomic number, mass number, isotope and
radioisotope."

Radioisotopes are certainly interesting, but isn't "radioisotope" rather
out of place in any "relationships"?  Relationships are nice, but
sometimes you're stuck with plain old concepts.

      Standard, Code 9C.2.1.2.x

"2. Biological, chemical, and physical properties of matter result from
the ability of atoms to form bonds. Atoms bond with each other by
transferring or sharing valence electrons to form compounds."

Atoms bond with each other to form _molecules_, not compounds. 
_Elements_ combine chemically to form compounds.  A review of Benchmark
Code 8.2.1.2.1 might be helpful here.

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.2.1

"Explain how atoms combine to form compounds through ionic and covalent
bonding."

Same complaint as Standard Code 9C.2.1.2.x.

      Standard, Code 9C.2.1.3.x

"3. Chemical reactions describe a chemical change in which one or more
reactants are transformed into one or more products. Balanced chemical
equations are used to show conservation of mass and to predict amounts
of reactants needed and products produced."

There's more involved here than conservation of mass.  Otherwise, a
reaction like KCl -> 2Ar would be possible.

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.3.2

"Balance chemical equations by applying the laws of conservation of mass
and constant composition."

Ok. call it "constant composition", but doesn't it belong in the
Standard (to keep "conservation of mass" company)?

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.3.4

"Use the mole concept [...]"

I see that neither Avogadro nor his number made it into this draft.

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.4.2

"Describe the effects of solubility to phenomena and applications, such
as water pollution, human body systems, and the atmosphere."

"effects [...] to"?  Perhaps, "effects [...] on"?  Is "the atmosphere" a
phenomenon or an application?

      Benchmark, Code 9C.2.1.5.3

"Use the kinetic theory of gases to relate the pressure, volume,
temperature, and mass of an ideal gas system."

Is this anything like the Ideal Gas Law?  Would it hurt to include the
actual relationship here?  (I suppose that as an equation, it would
probably feel very lonely.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.1.1.3

Same complaint as Code 9C.2.1.1.2.

      Standard, 9P.2.2.1.1

"1. Forces and momentum determine the motion of massive objects."

How does momentum _determine_ anything?  (What determines momentum?)  It
might be worth giving an example or two of non-massive objects, as many
readers might think that "massive objects" are objects with much mass,
not just those with non-zero rest mass.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.1.1

"Graphically represent position, velocity and acceleration of objects in
one dimension."

"Graphically represent" them "in one dimension", or graph the motion of
an object which _moves_ in one dimension?  Are we talking about graphs
of position, velocity, and acceleration versus time, or what?  I don't
see time mentioned here.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.1.2

"Use vectors and free-body diagrams to explain force, position,
velocity, and acceleration of objects in 2-dimensional space."

I thought that a free-body diagram involved forces only, not any of
these other quantities.  Why appear to mix them into a discussion of
motion?  This seems to be the only mention of vectors in this document. 
I suppose that this might implicitly require the student to know what a
vector is.  Doesn't do much for scalars, though.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.1.3

"Apply Newton's three laws of motion to calculate and analyze the effect
of forces and momentum on motion."

Is momentum a _cause_?  What _is_ "the effect of [...] momentum on
motion"?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.1.4

"Describe circular motion in terms centrifugal/centripetal forces,
angular velocity, and angular momentum."

Would it be wise to deal with the kinematics of circular motion (angular
displacement, velocity, and acceleration) before bringing in the
dynamics (forces, momentum)?  No torques (still)?

      Standard, 9P.2.2.2.x

"2. When objects change their motion or interact with other objects in
the absence of frictional forces the total energy remains constant."

But friction _changes_ the total energy?  This must be some new meaning
of "total".  Or energy.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.2.1

"Calculate the changes in potential and kinetic energy as well as amount
of work and power of objects in a gravitational field."

What _is_ the "work [...] of objects in a gravitational field"?

      Standard, 9P.2.2.3.x

"3. Oscillatory systems can be analyzed using Hook's law and Newton's
laws. The natural frequency of such a system is its resonance
frequency."

Is "Hook's law" named after Captain Hook or Robert Hooke?  "resonance
frequency" or "resonant frequency"?  And does either of them convey any
more meaning than plain "natural frequency"?  Does anything here ask the
student what a "natural frequency" is?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.3.2

"Analyze the frequency, period, and amplitude of an oscillatory system,
such as an ideal pendulum, a vibrating string, or a vibrating spring and
mass system."

I can imagine analyzing the motion of such an oscillator.  I don't know
what it means to analyze a frequency, or a period, or an amplitude.  I
could probably _measure_ them.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.4.1

"Describe how vibration of physical objects sets up transverse and
longitudinal sound waves in gases, liquids, and solid materials."

Transverse sound waves in gases?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.2.4.2

"Explain how wave properties such as interference, resonance,
refraction, and reflection affect sound."

I think of wave _properties_ as things like speed, frequency, and
wavelength.  Perhaps:

Give examples showing how sound exhibits wave phenomena like reflection,
refraction, interference, and resonance.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.1.2

"Explain how the electric field and force on a charged particle are
related to the electric potential."

Wouldn't it be easier and more practical to explain how the force on a
charged particle is related to the electric field, and how the electric
field is related to the electric potential?  Relating force to potential
directly sounds unnecessarily hard to me.

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.2.x

"2. Charged electrons [...]"

These's another kind?

"[...] respond to electrical voltages [...]"

Potential _differences_?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.2.1

"Using Ohm's law, calculate the current and voltage at points in a
resistive circuit with more than one resistor, and the power dissipated
in a simple circuit."

How are the "more than one" resistors connected?  Series?  Parallel? 
Combinations thereof?  Wheatstone bridge?  Is it worth mentioning that
Ohm's law isn't enough to do the job in fancy circuits?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.2.2

"Represent electrical circuits with components in parallel and series to
one another."

"Represent" how?  In court?  In a schematic diagram?  (What's that?)

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.2.3

"Calculate the resistance of parallel and series resistors."

Not much lab work here.  Does anyone actually measure things like the
resistance of resistors connected in various ways?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.2.4

"Explain how the current produced by a changing magnetic field in a loop
of wire can be used to produce electricity."

"Explain _how_"?  What's the difference between "the current" and
"electricity"?  Perhaps "observe that" would be a more appropriate
activity here.

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.3.x

"3. Magnetic and electric fields interact to produce electromagnetic
waves [...]"

Not constant fields.  Anyway, doesn't this seem to imply a spurious
cause-and-effect relationship, and miss the fundamental intertwining of
these fields?  Perhaps:

An alternating electric field implies an alternating magnetic field, and
an alternating magnetic field implies an alternating electric field.  An
electromagnetic wave comprises perpendicular, synchronously alternating
electric and magnetic fields.

"[...] which have both wave and particle properties."

Combining the introductory EM wave theory with quantum theory sounds
like asking for confusion.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.1

"Explain the nature of the magnetic and electrical fields in a
propagating electromagnetic wave."

The "nature"?  I'd settle for an explanation of the relationship between
them (oscillating, synchronous, perpendicular to each other and to the
propagation vector of the wave, and so on).

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.2

"Quantitatively relate the speed of light in a medium to its frequency
and wavelength in that medium, and in free space."

We'll never see an equation in this document, will we?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.3

"Use Snell's law to explain the refraction and Total Internal Reflection
of light in transparent media, such as lenses and fiber optics."

Is "Total Internal Reflection" normally capitalized?  Perhaps, "and
optical fibers"?  (Isn't "fiber optics" a field of study?)

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.4

"Use properties of light, including reflection, refraction,
interference, Doppler Effect and the photoelectric effect, to explain
phenomena and describe applications."

Same complaint as Code 9P.2.2.4.2 ("properties").  Which "phenomena"
will these "properties" explain?  (Isn't reflection, say, itself a
phenomenon?)  A list of "applications" to explain might be useful here.

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.5

"Compare the wave model and particle models in explaining properties of
light."

How many "particle models" are there?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.3.6

"Describe the nature and uses of forms of electromagnetic radiation from
radio frequencies through gamma radiation."

Missed a good chance here to say "electromagnetic spectrum".  For
example:

Describe the special properties and practical uses of electromagnetic
radiation from all parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, from
very-low-frequency radio waves through gamma radiation.

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.4.x

"4. Heat is energy that is transferred between objects or regions that
are at different temperatures by the processes of convection, conduction
and radiation."

So, is a transfer needed in order to have heat?  Heat is energy which
_may_be_ transferred [...]?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.3.4.3

"Explain the role of gravity, pressure and density in the convection of
heat by a fluid."

They all share one role?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.2.4.1.2

"Examine potential careers in physics related areas."

"Physics-related" was hyphenated in Code 9P.2.4.1.1.

      Substrand, Code 9P.2.4.x.x

"4. Human Interaction with"

What?

------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Steven M. Schweda                            2008-09-26
   sms@antinode.info


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© 2017 Steven M. Schweda.