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   Minnesota Academic Standards - Science (2008-11): Some Complaints

   Compared with the September 2008 (first) draft, the November 2008
(second) draft takes N steps forward and M steps back.  It's not
immediately obvious that N > M.


      General Literacy (or Lack Thereof)

   There is new evidence that the authors can't proof-read, or spell, or
even use the spelling-check feature in any computer program which must
have been used to produce this thing:

      Benchmark, Code invetigations
      Benchmark, Code availablity
      Benchmark, Code accceptable
      Benchmark, Code compressability
      Benchmark, Code skeptisim
      Benchmark, Code distibution

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   The shiny, new hyphens in Benchmark, Code, "Understand that
people-alone or in groups-use engineering design to invent new products
and ways to solve problems.", should have been commas or dashes.  Some
knowledge of typography can be helpful when creating a document which
will be inflicted on others by law.  See also Benchmark, Code,
"Explain how scientific and technological innovations-as well as new
evidence-can challenge portions of [...]" and Standard, Code,
"[...] enhance knowledge and understanding within each discipline-and
across disciplines-in industry as well as academia."

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   An apparently chronic inability to detect a plural subject in a
sentence, and match it with an appropriate verb, remains unaffected (or
should I say, "un-impacted"?):

      Benchmark, Code

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

What, exactly, is the _one_ thing which you think "influences" in there? 
(Hint: "[K]nowledge and experience" is _two_ things.)

      Benchmark, Code

"Explain why evidence, clear communication and skeptisim is an essential
part of doing science."

Yes, they all is an essential part of doing science.  Gud speeling are
importent, to.

      Standard, Code

"The age and scale of the universe spans billions of years and immense

Yes, they is pretty big.

      Standard, Code

"The production and use of energy involves many advantages and
disadvantages which must be considered when decisions are made."

I don't know what this means, but I'm pretty sure that "production and
use" is two things.

      Benchmark, Code

"Use fossils, relative dating techniques, and radiometric dating to
correlate rock sequences from separate locations; use that information
to explain how the Earth and life on Earth has changed over short and
long periods of time."

Yes, how has they changed over time?

   (Insert scream here.)

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   Punctuation for clarity, usage, ...?

      Benchmark, Code

"Test and evaluate solutions, including benefits and drawbacks for the
engineering problem, and communicate the results effectively."

Would a comma after "drawbacks" be appropriate, or are the "benefits and
drawbacks for the engineering problem", rather than the "solutions"
being "for the engineering problem"?  Who else finds "and communicate
the results effectively" here funny/sad?

      Benchmark, Code

"Provide examples of scientific investigations that take different forms
based on the type of question asked: observing what things are like or
what is happening somewhere; collecting specimens for analysis; doing
experiments; or examining pre-existing data."

It was important to use semi-colons here to avoid confusion with the
commas (of which there is none)?

      Standard, Code

"Human systems affect the Earth system; individual decisions can
influence the severity of those effects."

It's nice to see "affect" and "effects" instead of "impact" and
"impacts", but "those effects" has no antecedent here.

Again, are "Human systems" anything like "People"?  Do we gain any
actual value from using the more cumbersome term?

      Benchmark, Code

"Trace the changes of energy forms, including thermal, electrical,
mechanical, or others as energy is used for transportation, lighting or
other purposes."

The comma after "forms" should have a mate after "others".  (And, of
course, one after "lighting" would be good, too.)

      Standard, Code

"Science is a way of knowing about the natural world that is
characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument and skeptical

Is science characterized, or is the natural world characterized? 

Science is a way of knowing about the natural world.  It is
characterized [...].

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that all substances are composed of 1 or more of
approximately 100 different elements and that the periodic table
organizes the elements into groups with similar properties."

Don't we normally spell "1" as "one" in a case like this?  If not, then
fix Benchmark, Code instead.

      Benchmark, Code

"Describe how tissues and organs have a distinct structure and a set of
functions that serve the organism as a whole."

One "distinct structure" but "a set of functions"?  Perhaps, "distinct
structures".  Or:

Describe how different tissues and organs have different structures and
different functions that serve the organism as a whole.

      Benchmark, Code

"List examples of important contributions to the advancement of science,
engineering and technology made by individuals of different kinds of
people and different cultures at different times."

Are "individuals of different kinds of people" somehow different from
"different kinds of people"?  (Or should this read, "individuals of
different kinds of humans"?)

      Benchmark, Code 9C.

"Describe the factors that affect the rate of a chemical reaction,
including temperature, pressure, mixing, concentration, particle size,
surface area and catalyst."

Catalyst?  Perhaps, "presence of a catalyst", or "catalysis".

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Explain the factors that cause some nuclei to be stable and others to
be unstable, which leads to nuclear disintegration."

What "which"?  What in this sentence "leads to nuclear disintegration"? 
Factors?  Unstables?  Find the antecedent.  Perhaps:

Explain the factors that cause some nuclei to be stable and others to
be unstable.  Describe some different ways in which an unstable nucleus
can decay or disintegrate.  (Mention alpha, beta, and gamma, if you
dare.  Fission, if you're fearless.)

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Describe the changes in observed sound that result from motion of the
source relative to the medium and/or the receiver (Doppler Shift)."

Why capitalize "Shift"?  (Compare Benchmark, Code

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.1.x

"Electrical Forces result from interactions between charges, which can
be described by electric fields."

Why capitalize "Forces"?  What is it which can be described by electric
fields?  Forces, interactions, or charges?

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One decision on when to capitalize Earth, Moon, and Sun would be nice.

One decision on when to use a serial comma (the one after "B" in a list
like "A, B, and C") would be nice.  ("Always" would be best.)

Not using "impact" as a synonym for "affect" and "effect" would be
especially nice.


      Unresolved Old Complaints

   Please refer to the first draft Complaints document for complete
explanations of these items.

      Benchmark, Code  The examples are still far too limited.

      Standard, Code   "The sun and burning some materials

      Standards, Codes,,,, and                  What interacts with what?  Systems? 

      Standards, Codes,,,
                                 "[...] success."  Define?  Whose? 
                                 Perhaps, "continuity"?

      Benchmark, Code  "Recognize that living things need
                                 [...] air."  All?

      Benchmark, Code  "Use data to construct reasonable
                 (was explanations."

      Benchmark, Code  "tools" v. instruments.  "scales".

      Benchmark, Code  "rate of vibration" without frequency.

      Standard, Code   "Engineering design is the process of
                                 [...] developing multiple solutions

      Benchmark, Code  "everyone in the world"

      Standard, Code   "Human systems gather resources [...]"

      Benchmark, Code  "[...] modify their properties into
                                 more useful products."

      Substrand 2  "Interdependence within the Earth system",
      Standard, Code  "Earth system" v. Earth.  (Repeated all

      Standard, Code   "(e.g., technologies)"  Still makes no
                                 sense to me.

      Standard, Code   "[...] desired need [...]"  Still makes
                                 no sense to me.

      Benchmark, Code  "personal tradeoffs"  Still makes no
                                 sense to me.

      Standard, Code   "[...] the needs of all cells for [...]
                                 air [...]".  All?

      Benchmark, Code  "[...] all cells do not look alike;
                                 [...]"  No.  Some do.

      Benchmark, Code  "Identify [...] how bias [...]"

      Benchmark, Code  "[...] scientific knowledge is a
                                 particular kind of knowledge [...]. 
                                 What's another kind of knowledge?  Or
                                 is this a contrast with religious
                                 belief?  Or what?

      Benchmark, Code  "its prediction"

      Benchmark, Code  "recently observed"

      Benchmark, Code  "an hypothesis"

      Benchmark, Code  Only "publicly used items"?

      Standard, Code   "desired need", "Redesign of the

      Benchmark, Code  (Was
                                 "sun or tidal energy"  What's "sun
                                 energy"?  Nuclear fusion?  Sunlight?

      Standard, Code, Benchmark, Code
                                 "All living systems are composed of one
                                 or more cells [...]" v. viruses.

      Benchmark, Code  "[...] constraints like scientific
                                 laws, [...]"  Do real engineers
                                 classify laws of nature as
                                 "constraints"?  I doubt it.

      Benchmark, Code  "[...] Some constraints, such as
                                 gravity or the properties to be used,
                                 [...]"  Gravity is a constraint?  What
                                 are "properties to be used"?  A quick
                                 Google search found these constraints:
                                 economic, environmental, social,
                                 political, ethical, health and safety,
                                 manufacturability, and sustainability.
                                 I didn't find any mention of physical
                                 laws as constraints.

      Benchmark, Code  "designed solution"

      Benchmark, Code  "final solutions"

      Benchmark, Code  "little reliable data"

      Benchmark, Code  "Identify [...] their mass", ...
                                 Changing commas to semi-colons here
                                 didn't really help anything.

      Benchmark, Code  "calculate the relationship"

      Benchmark, Code  "Systeme Internationale" v.
                                 International System.  (Lost the
                                 accent in "Système", too.  And the rest
                                 of "Le Système International d'Unites",
                                 for that matter.  See:
                                 "magnitude of common objects"
                                 Conversion only _within_ SI?

      Standard, Code   "elements"

      Standard, Code   "stable" v. "can change"

      Benchmark, Code  "total [...] is transferred"

      Benchmark, Code 9C. "Describe the effects of solubility to
                                 phenomena and applications [...]"  What
                                 if they won't listen?

      Standard, Code 9P.2.2.1.x  "Forces and momentum determine [...]"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "objects in one dimension"  Objects
                                 _moving_ in one dimension?  Time?

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "vectors and free-body diagrams"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "effect of [...] momentum on motion"

      Standard, Code 9P.2.2.2.x  "[...] total amount of mechanical
                                 energy remains constant."  So,
                                 "mechanical energy" excludes heat?

      Standard, Code 9P.2.2.3.x  "The natural frequency of such a system
                                 is its resonance frequency." 
                                 Tautology, anyone?

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Analyze" what?

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "transverse [...] sound waves in gases"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain how wave properties [...]"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain how the electric field and
                                 force on a charged particle are related
                                 to the electric potential."

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.2.x  "Charged electrons", "respond to
                                 electrical voltages"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Using Ohm's law"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Represent electrical circuits"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain how"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain how"

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.3.x  "Magnetic and electric fields interact
                                 to produce electromagnetic waves",
                                 "both wave and particle properties"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain the nature"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Quantitatively relate"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Total Internal Reflection", "fiber

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "properties of light"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "wave model and particle models"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "electromagnetic radiation" v. spectrum

      Standard, Code 9P.2.3.4.x  "Heat is energy that is transferred"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "Explain the role"

      Benchmark, Code 9P. "physics related areas"

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   Removing any reference to the History of Science in Strand 1 neatly
solved the problem of the complete lack of any history-of-science
content in the Standards and Benchmarks.  Perhaps not the ideal
solution, but it has a certain kind of elegance.


      New Complaints

      Benchmark, Code

"Know that tools are simple objects that help humans do science and

_All_ tools do that?  How does, say, a hammer help me (or a human) "do
science and engineering"?  _All_ tools are simple?  Has anyone ever
looked inside a variable-speed electric drill?

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      Standard, Code v. Standard, Code

"Engineering design is the process of identifying problems and devising
a product or solution. There is no one prescribed sequence for the
process of design."

I agree.  And because there's "no one prescribed sequence", that stuff
in Standard, Code about "developing multiple solutions" might
sound a bit over-prescriptive.

      Benchmark, Code

"Understand that when a science investigation is done the way it was
done before, even in a different place, a very similar result is

I'd add, "even by different people" (or, of course, humans).  "Who" is
probably more important than "where".

      Benchmark, Code

"Explain how engineered or designed items from everyday life benefit

And how they might also harm people?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that objects and substances do not act the same when
compacted, heated, cooled or dissolved in water."

Some do, and some don't.  It would make more sense to say "that objects
and substances _may_ not act the same when compacted, heated, cooled, or
_mixed_ with water."  Note that not all objects and substances _can_ be
"dissolved in water".  That's one of those differences which we're
supposed to be observing here, isn't it?

Note that the associated Standard, Code, is worded better:
"[...] not all materials respond the same way [...]".

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      Benchmark, Code

"Design a fair test to answer a question."

Am I the only one (human) who finds this too vague to be useful?  Here's
a question: What's two plus two?  How does one design a "fair test" to
answer that?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that vibrating objects produce a sound."

Which sound is that?  Perhaps "produce sound" or "produce sounds".  Or
"a vibrating object produces a sound".

      Benchmark, Code

"Describe how light travels in a straight line until it is absorbed,
redirected, reflected or allowed to pass through an object."

Redirected?  How?  (I suppose if we're not mentioning diffraction
anywhere, grade three would not be the best place to start.)

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      Benchmark, Code

"Describe the impact that the designed world has on the natural world as
more and more engineered products and services are created and used."

I think I saw this movie: "When Worlds Collide" (1951).  (So Earth must
be the "natural world", and Zyra must be the "designed world"?  Or is it
the other way around?)

      Benchmark, Code

"Identify and collect information about everyday problems that can be
solved by engineering designs, and generate ideas and possible
constraints for solving a problem."

"[G]enerate [...] possible constraints"?  Perhaps, "identify possible
constraints".  Constraints are generally inflicted upon the designer,
not created by the designer.

      Benchmark, Code

"Describe a technology that is an intrinsic part of human cultures and
how the availablity of that technology greatly influences human life."

Which technology is _intrinsic_ to all human cultures?  Fire is pretty
common now, but it probably wasn't always so.  Please provide an example
or two.

      Benchmark, Code

"Provide an example where science or technology does not provide an
accceptable solution to a problem or fulfill every human need."

How long do I get to wait?  Perhaps, "has not yet provided (and may
never provide)"?  Does it make any sense to ask for "an example where
science or technology does not [...] fulfill every human need" instead
of asking for an example of some particular human need which they
haven't (yet) fulfilled?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that heat results when substances burn, when certain
materials are rubbed together, and when electricity flows through

Only when _certain_ materials are rubbed together?  For which materials
is this not true?

Only "when electricity flows through wires"?  Not when electricity flows
through any (non-superconducting) material (including wires)?

      Benchmark, Code

"Demonstrate how the flow of electricity produces heat, light and

Should this be "produces", or "can produce"?  I'm pretty sure that I
have a flashlight wherein electricity flows, but I've never heard a peep
out of it.  Lightning is normally bright and noisy, but that's not the
only "flow of electricity" in the world.  I have some pretty dark
extension cords, too.

      Benchmark, Code

"Describe how magnets can repel or attract each other and how they can
attract certain non-magnetic objects from a distance."

What are these "certain non-magnetic objects" which are attracted
magnetically by a magnet?  Am I missing something here which should be
painfully obvious, or are we talking Nobel prize material?  What does
"non-magnetic" mean to you?  ("Not magnetized" and "not magnetic" are
spelled differently for a reason.)

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      Benchmark, Code

"Understand that sometimes there are different explanations for the same
observations, which usually leads to making more observations to try to
resolve the differences and determine which explanation is correct."

"[R]esolve the differences"?  I'm sure that conflict resolution is all
trendy and stuff, but this is science, where different explanations are
_different_.  We don't put them into a room and persuade them to get
along, we decide which one is right, and we throw out the other one. 
And if we decide that neither one is right, we get to work and try to
whip up a third one.

      Standard, Code

"An object's motion is affected by forces and can be described by the
object's speed and the direction it is moving."

True for forces _on_the_object_.  See also Benchmark, Code,

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that when the forces are balanced, the object remains at rest
or continues to move at a constant speed in a straight line."

True when the forces _on_an_object_ are balanced.  (Not making this as
clear as possible can cause confusion which lasts for decades.)

      Benchmark, Code

"Identify natural resources that are found in Minnesota (for example,
water, iron ore, granite quarries, sand and gravel, wind and forests)."

I'll admit that granite is a natural resource, but I thought that a
quarry was man-made.  (Oops.  Make that "made by humans".)

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      Benchmark, Code

"Specify criteria and constraints for the design."

I'd probably say "design requirements" instead of "criteria [...] for
the design", and, as above, "identify possible constraints".  The
designer seldom gets to _specify_ the constraints on a design.

      Standard, Code

"Pure substances can be identified by properties which are independent
of the sample of the substance and can be explained by a model of matter
that is composed of small particles."

Is it the model or the matter which is composed of small particles? 
Perhaps, "[...] by a model in which matter is composed of small

      Standard, Code

"Explain density, dissolving, compression, diffusion and thermal
expansion using the small particle model of matter."

The concept of density now appears for the first time in grade six,
where the student is expected to _explain_ it, not to _use_ it for
anything.  Once again, an explanation of why an object floats or sinks
seems to be reserved for students who get to college.

      Standard, Code

"The motion of an object can be described in terms of position,
direction and speed."

Direction of what?  This seems to be an odd mixture of position and
velocity (change of position).  Time is not mentioned explicitly. 
Perhaps something more like this:

The motion of an object is how its position changes with time.  Changes
of position can be described in terms of speed and direction.

Of course, a real object can also undergo changes in its orientation
(rotational motion), but we don't seem to be too worried about that kind
of motion in any grade, let alone grade six.

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that some forces between objects act when the objects are in
direct contact and others, such as magnetic, electrical, and
gravitational forces can act from a distance."

I'd say "electric" instead of "electrical", and, perhaps,
"electromagnetic" instead of "magnetic" and "electric".

      Benchmark, Code

"Identify the forces acting on an object and describe how the sum of the
forces affects the motion of the object."

As before (Standard, Code and Benchmark, Code, I'd
change "the forces" to "those forces", to emphasize that the forces on
an object affect the motion of that object.  In any system with forces,
some act on the object of interest and some do not.  Confusion is easier
to obtain than clarity, but clarity is more helpful.

      Benchmark, Code

"Describe properties of waves, including speed, wavelength, frequency
and amplitude."

Any chance of getting the _relationship_ among these quantities in here? 
(Whoa!  Not another _equation_!)

      Benchmark, Code

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

No hope of mentioning diffraction anywhere?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that potential energy is stored energy that can be in the
form of gravitational, elastic and chemical energy."

Or electric, or magnetic, or any other conservative field.  Elastic and
chemical are actually electric, aren't they?

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      Benchmark, Code

"Identify a technology that has dramatically changed how people live and
work and explain how it resulted in rapid increases in the human

So, every technology which has dramatically changed how people live or
(Note: _not_ "and") work has resulted in rapid increases in the human
population?  Really?  How, exactly, have, say, nuclear weapons
encouraged population growth?  Not every dramatic change is a dramatic
improvement.  Cheap digital computers drive population growth?  (How? 
Internet dating services?)

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      Standard, Code

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

Perhaps, "Rocks provide evidence [...]"?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that the sun is the principal energy source for the solar
system and that this energy is transferred in the form of radiation, and
the amount of energy received diminishes greatly as distance from the
sun increases."

There's no antecedent for "this energy".  Perhaps, "its energy".  The
amount of energy received _by_any_particular_object_ diminishes greatly
[...].  Jupiter receives more solar energy than a dust speck near
Mercury, even though Jupiter is much further out.

      Standard, Code

"Humans need natural resources to maintain and improve their existence;
however, the Earth does not have infinite resources. The supply of many
of these resources is limited, but can be extended through decreased use
and recycling."

If "the Earth does not have infinite resources", then why is the supply
of only "many of these resources" is limited?  For which others is the
supply unlimited?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that cells contain genes and that each gene carries a single
unit of information that either alone, or with other genes, determines
the inherited traits of an organism."

I would hesitate to call anything larger than a DNA base pair "a single
unit of information" in this context.  Perhaps, "a single _packet_ of
information".  (Define "unit of information".)

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that in asexually reproducing organisms, all the genes come
from a single parent and that in sexually reproducing organisms, half of
the genes come from each parent."

Is that "half" exact or approximate?  Aren't there more genes in an X
chromosome than in a Y?

      Benchmark, Code

"Recognize that selective breeding has resulted in new varieties of
cultivated plants and domesticated animals for particular traits."

But we're not mentioning more modern genetic engineering methods here?

      Standard, Code

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

Ooh.  Human _beings_.  I'll bet those plain "humans" are feeling pretty
shabby now.

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      Benchmark, Code

"Evaluate personal models and/or explanations in light of scientifically
acceptable alternative explanations and revise one's work in light of
reasonable criticism."

What's a "personal model"?  Is that like a personal assistant?  Perhaps,
"Evaluate one's own models [...]."

      Benchmark, Code

"Provide examples in which the value of any given technology may be
different for different groups at different points in time."

Do "different points in time" differ in any way from "different times"
(other than occupying more space)?

      Benchmark, Code

"Provide examples of how of the use of technology and mathematics by
scientists and engineers improves investigations and communication."

Of course, _educators_ don't need to worry about using any trace of
mathematics (like, say, an equation) which would only impede
communication in _this_ document.  (Do as I _say_, ...)

      Benchmark, Code

"Explain the relationship of an element's position on the periodic table
to its atomic number and atomic mass; use the periodic table to identify
regions, groups and periods."

"[U]se the periodic table to identify"?  Perhaps:

Explain the relationship of an element's position on the periodic table
to its atomic number and atomic mass.  Identify regions, groups, and
periods on the periodic table.

      Benchmark, Code

"Compare and contrast an element and its isotopes and describe how
radioactive isotopes can be used in research, medicine and industry."

Does it make any sense to compare an element and its isotopes?  How does
one compare (or contrast) carbon with carbon-12?  Carbon-12 _is_ carbon,
isn't it?  Perhaps something more like this:

Identify some isotopes which are used in research, medicine, and
industry, and explain why these isotopes are more useful than other
isotopes of the same elements.

(Note that while many useful isotopes are radioactive, helium-3 is
not, and it still has some interesting and useful properties.)

      Standard, Code

"The relationship between force, mass and acceleration determines the
motion of objects."

"[D]etermines"?  Perhaps, "describes"?

      Benchmark, Code

"Explain how the magnitude of an object's acceleration depends directly
on the strength of the net force and inversely on the mass of the object
and use this relationship to calculate force, mass and/or acceleration
of an object."

So, there's no chance of getting the actual equation, "F = ma", in here? 
The three-dozen-word explanation is somehow better?  (How?)

      Standard, Code

"The production and use of energy involves many advantages and
disadvantages which must be considered when decisions are made."

They involves advantages and disadvantages compared with what, not
producing energy?  Do you mean benefits and costs?  Decisions about
whether, or how, or what?  The Benchmark, Code, makes more
sense than this Standard.

      Benchmark, Code

"Use equations and graphs to show the relationships between physical

Just don't do it here.

      Benchmark, Code

"Compare and contrast the kinds of magma that form at convergent and
divergent boundaries."

At _plate_ boundaries?

      Standard, Code

"Matter cycles and energy flows through different levels of organization
of living systems and the physical environment, as chemical elements are
recombined in different ways. Each recombination results in both storage
and dissipation of energy."

Is it possible for "[e]ach recombination" to result "in both storage and
dissipation of energy"?  From where does all this newly stored and
dissipated energy come?

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      Benchmark, Code 9C.

"Describe the process by which solutes dissolve in solvents and
calculate concentrations, including grams per liter, molarity and parts
per million."

Is that "parts per million" a mass fraction?  If so, it might make more
sense to call it that, especially if a percentage, or parts per billion,
or some other numerical range, would be more appropriate.  Come to think
of it, "mass per volume" would be more general than "grams per liter". 

Describe the process by which solutes dissolve in solvents and
calculate concentrations in various terms, including mass-to-volume
ratio (for example, grams per liter), molarity (moles per liter), and
mass-to-mass ratio (for example, parts per million).

I suppose that "molality" and "normality" are obsolete these days?

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

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Describe circular motion in terms of centripetal force, angular
velocity and angular momentum."

It's nice to see some rotational motion, but conspicuously missing are
angular displacement (or position), angular acceleration, and torque. 
Also the kinetic energy of a rotating object.

      Standard, Code 9P.2.2.1.x

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

Does this have much to do with rotational motion?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"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."

Vibrating strings are marvelous things with manifold virtues, but aren't
standing waves in a string just a bit more complicated than a simple
pendulum or spring-and-mass system?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Describe the changes in observed sound that result from motion of the
source relative to the medium and/or the receiver (Doppler Shift)."

What about motion of the receiver relative to the medium?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Explain how transformers work, and can be used to change the AC voltage
and current in electrical systems."

And why anyone would bother to do that?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

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

No mention of "index of refraction"?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

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

No mention of "index of refraction"?

      Benchmark, Code 9P.

"Describe and calculate the quantity of heat transferred by conduction
based on specific heat, density and temperatures of solids and liquids."

Why only conduction?  If you mix two liquids together, do they exchange
heat by conduction or convection?


      Philosophical or Political Problems

Standards, Codes and, "Engineers create products
or processes based on the needs and wants of society.", still deny the
possibility of an engineer working to solve a problem of an individual.

Similarly, Standard, Code, "Engineers create, develop and
manufacture machines, structures, processes and systems (e.g.,
technologies) that improve society and may make humans more productive." 
That gets a bit value-rich toward the end, doesn't it?  A "may" before
"improve" might help.  (On the other hand, "improve" certainly beats
"impact" in Standards, Codes,,, and

Standard, Code, "Science involves group interactions,
emphasizing evidence and communication.", still denies the possibility
of an individual doing science.

Benchmark, Code, "Give examples of beneficial and harmful
human interaction with natural systems."  Beneficial to whom (or what)? 
What keeps people (or, as you seem to insist, "humans") from being part
of a natural system?  People are unnatural?  Even Minnesota American
Indian humans?  Why?  Who defines "natural"?  (And where?)

Why should phrases like "everyone in the world" and "social enterprise"
appear anywhere in this document?

Alpha and beta rays/particles have been purged.  (Exiled with gamma?) 
Is this evidence of anti-Greek bias?


      High Standards?

   Much talk about "high standards" seems to be circulating these days. 
Where are they?

      Atoms and molecules first appear in grade seven?
      Pressure first appears in grade eight?

   Children who own bicycles with pneumatic tires (not a recent
invention) tend to encounter the concept of pressure in the real world
(and even measure it) long before grade eight.

   Below is a list of some terms, concepts, topics, devices, and so on. 
If students master all the material in this document, what will they
know about any of them?  (Exceptions noted in brackets.)

      Aircraft flight
      Avogadro's number
      Bernoulli effect
      Buoyancy -- float or sink -- boat, balloon, anything
      Anode, cathode
      Barometer (aneroid, liquid)
      Capacitor, inductor
      Compass (gyroscopic, magnetic)
      Data storage: magnetic disk and tape, optical disk, flash EEPROM
      Digital logic (electric, electronic, fluidic, ...)
      Dipole (electric, magnetic)
      Distillation, fractional distillation
      Electrolyte, electrolysis
      Electric battery
      Electric generator [9P, but not by name]
      Electric motor [9P, but only "forms the basis for"]
      Electric fuse or circuit breaker
      Electric relay
      Electric switch
      Electromagnet []
      Evaporative cooling
      Exponential growth and decay
      Extremophile organism
      Fluorescent lamp
      Gas discharge lamp (neon sign, xenon flash, plasma display)
      Genetic code, DNA/RNA base pairs, A, C, G, T (and sometimes U?)
      Gravitational lens
      Gravity wave
      Incandescent lamp
      Index of refraction
      Infrared remote control
      Internal combustion engine (diesel, gasoline, ...)
      Light-emitting diode (or any kind of diode)
      Liquid crystal, liquid crystal display
      Medical imaging, CAT, [N]MRI, X-ray
      Microscope [3, mentioned], telescope
      Nuclear magnetic resonance
      Nutrition  (Or is that a phy-ed/health topic?)
      Oxidation, reduction, redox
      Perception of color  (RGB)
      Phosphorescence (glow-in-the-dark toys)
      Photovoltaic cell [9P, photoelectric effect]
      Polymer  ("Plastics")
      Optics [6, implicitly?; 9P, barely]
      Prism, diffraction grating
      Phonograph, or any kind of sound recording/reproduction device
      Photography, chemical or electronic
      Rocket, space flight
      Spectroscopy (any kind)
      Refrigerator, heat pump
      Radio, Television, AM, FM, digital
      Satellite, or any other spacecraft
      Scientific notation
      Solar flare
      Solar wind
      Steam engine
      Turbine engine (any kind: steam, jet, ...)
      Transistor [9P, "societal impacts of"]
      Vacuum tube  (Quick, before they're all gone.)
      Cathode ray tube  (Quick, before they're all gone.)
      Vertebrate, invertebrate
      Wave polarization
      Xerography (laser printer)

   Look around any home, vehicle, or workplace, and try to list the
everyday appliances, devices, tools, you-name-them of modern life.  Then
try to find the places in this document where the basic principles of
their operation are explained.  The first task, I predict, will be much
easier than the second one.

   The sophistication of the biological vocabulary in grades 9-12 seems
to be out of step with the simplicity in all other areas.  Perhaps we
should all be able to list the organelles in living (prokaryotic or
eukaryotic) cells (cell membrane, nucleus, cytoplasm, mitochondrion,
central vacuole, chloroplast and ribosome), but it might not hurt to
know what's in the D-cells in a flashlight, too.


   Steven M. Schweda                            2008-12-19

© 2017 Steven M. Schweda.