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NSDL Scientific Literacy Maps

This is a backup of the contents of the now defunct NSDL "strandmaps" website. It is shared here for educational purposes only. Each link is a downloadable PDF. [Right-click, Save As...]

How To Use: Map pages are read from the bottom-up. The arrows show logical connections between concepts. The numbers on the left-side show the grade levels in which those concepts are usually learned. The grade levels are grouped into 3-4 year blocks that are separated by lines across the page. Main ideas are in a row at the very top and divide the page into columns. In other words, all concepts that are aligned horizontally are learned around the same time and all concepts that are aligned vertically have the same underlying idea behind them. Research pages give a few references and provide extra commentary. Please note that not every Map page has a corresponding Research page.

1 - The Nature of Science

Evidence and Resoning in Inquiry [Map; Research]
• lines of reasoning
• observations and evidence

Scientific Investigations [Map; Research]
• control and conditions
• reliability of results
• record-keeping
• kinds of investigations

Scientific Theories [Map; Research]
• making sense of evidence
• alternative explanations
• theory modification

Avoiding Bias in Science [Map; Research]
• reliability of results
• safeguards
• expectations and explanations

The Scientific Community [Map; Research]
• disciplines
• employment and funding
• people
• scientific communication

Science and Society [Map; Research]
• ethics in research
• society affects science
• science affects society

Scientific World View [Map; Research]
• limits of science
• investigating a knowable world
• continuity and change

2 - The Nature of Mathematics

Mathematical Processes [Map; Research]
• studying patterns
• representation and abstraction
• computation and operations

Mathematical Models [Map; Research]
• representation and modeling
• correspondence
• choices in mathematics
• interpreting results

Nature of Mathematics [Map; Research]
• universal language for describing things
• connections to science and technology
• study of patterns

3 - The Nature of Technology

Design Constraints [Map]
• trade-offs in design
• physical constraints
• social constraints

Designed Systems [Map]
• feedback and control
• interacting parts
• failure

Interaction of Technology and Society [Map]
• valuing technology
• society influences technology
• technology influences society

Decisions about Using Technology [Map; Research]
• trade-offs
• costs and benefits
• risks and side-effects
• valuing technology

Technology and Science [Map; Research]
• effect of technology on science
• effect of science on technology
• effect on society

4 - The Physical Setting

Changes in the Earth's Surface [Map; Research]
• earthquakes and volcanoes
• rates of change
• weathering and erosion
• rocks and sediments

Plate Tectonics [Map]
• the earth's interior
• evidence of plates
• earthquakes and volcanoes

Solar System [Map; Research]
• relative motion
• phases of the moon
• observations of the sky
• the planets
• telescopes

Stars [Map; Research]
• the sun and stars
• observations of the sky
• telescopes

Galaxies and the Universe [Map]
• telescopes
• light
• galaxies

Gravity [Map; Research]
• relative motion
• observations of the sky
• the earth's gravity
• forces and motion

Atoms and Molecules [Map; Research]
• invisibly tiny pieces
• basic ingredients

Conservation of Matter [Map; Research]
• changes of state
• changing vs. constant properties
• parts and wholes
• keeping track

States of Matter [Map; Research]
• emergent properties
• heat energy
• changes of state

Chemical Reactions [Map; Research]
• basic ingredients
• changing properties
• reaction rates

Laws of Motion [Map; Research]
• relative motion
• forces and motion

Waves [Map; Research]
• light
• wave motion
• vibrations

Weather and Climate [Map; Research]
• temperature and winds
• water cycle
• atmosphere
• climate change

Use of Earth's Resources [Map]
• use of energy resources
• needs of organisms for Earth's resources
• human impact on the environment
• use of material resources

Energy Transformations [Map; Research]
• forms of energy
• conservation
• dissipation

Electricity and Magnetism [Map; Research]
• effects at the atomic level
• electric charge
• electric currents
• electromagnetism

5 - The Living Environment

DNA and Inherited Characteristics [Map; Research]
• mechanism of inheritance
• sexual reproduction
• cells and development

Variation in Inherited Characteristics [Map]
• variation
• sexual reproduction
• mechanism of inheritance

Biological Evolution [Map; Research]
• evidence from existing organisms
• fossil evidence

Natural Selection [Map; Research]
• changing environments
• variation and advantage
• inherited characteristics
• artificial selection

Flow of Energy in Ecosystems [Map; Research]
• energy in living things
• plants making food
• food web

Flow of Matter in Ecosystems [Map; Research]
• plants making food
• food web
• matter cycles

Cell Functions [Map; Research]
• basic needs
• basic functions
• structures

Cells and Organs [Map]
• cell differentiation
• structure
• division of labor
• functions of organs

Diversity of Life [Map; Research]
• classification
• similarities and differences
• diversity and survival

Interdependence of Life [Map; Research]
• interactions among organisms
• dynamic nature of ecosystems
• dependence of organisms on their environment
• human impact

6 - The Human Organism

Disease [Map; Research]
• genetic problems
• the body's defenses
• infection

Maintaining Good Health [Map; Research]
• diet and exercise
• harmful substances
• conditions for health

Coping With Mental Distress [Map]
• mind/body
• different responses
• different standards

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Disorders [Map]
• mind/body
• getting help
• self-awareness

Human Identity [Map; Research]
• similarity to other species
• physical attributes of the human species
• behavioral attributes of the human species
• use of technology

Human Development [Map; Research]
• risks and survival
• growth and development
• cell differentiation
• fertilization and contraception

Basic Functions [Map; Research]
• deriving energy from food
• defense
• coordination
• reproduction

7 - Human Society

Influences on Social Change [Map; Research]
• rules and government
• internal influences on change
• external influences on change

Social Decisions [Map]
• consequences of decisions
• costs, benefits, and alternatives
• personal interests
• rules and government

Heredity and Experience Shape Behavior [Map]
• learning from others
• beliefs and biases
• learning from experience
• effects of heredity

Culture Affects Behavior [Map; Research]
• groups and subcultures
• cultural influences
• learning from others
• reward and punishment

Group Behavior [Map; Research]
• group identity
• group action

Political and Economic Systems [Map; Research]
• politics
• economics

Social Conflict [Map; Research]
• reasons for conflict
• resolving conflict

Global Interdependence [Map]
• communication and transportation technologies
• trade
• treaties

8 - The Designed World

Materials Science [Map; Research]
• physical properties
• synthesis and use of materials
• resource depletion and recycling

Agricultural Technology [Map]
• controlling characteristics
• producing food
• transporting food
• effects on society

Communication Technology [Map]
• devices and media
• coding and decoding
• quality of communication

Computers [Map]
• digital coding
• storing and processing information
• calculating and modeling

Manufacturing [Map]
• materials
• manipulation skills
• manufacturing
• societal implications

Health Technology [Map]
• diagnosis
• treatment
• prevention

Energy Resources [Map; Research]
• resources
• efficient use
• societal and environmental implications

9 - The Mathematical World

Graphic Representation [Map; Research]
• locating points
• graphic displays
• related changes
• alternative representations

Symbolic Representation [Map; Research]
• alternative representations
• symbols and equations
• working with equations

Ratios and Proportionality [Map; Research]
• parts and wholes
• description and comparison
• computation

Describing Change [Map; Research]
• related changes
• kinds of change
• invariance

Averages and Comparisons [Map; Research]
• control and conditions
• comparing groups
• averages and spreads

Correlation [Map; Research]
• control and conditions
• related changes

Statistical Reasoning [Map; Research]
• probability
• prediction
• sampling

Numbers [Map; Research]
• number operations
• describing quantities

Shapes [Map; Research]
• shapes in the real world
• properties of shapes and their relationships

Reasoning [Map; Research]
• use of deductive logic in reasoning
• use of evidence in reasoning
• use of inductive logic in reasoning
• use of analogies in reasoning

10 - Historical Perspectives

The Copernican Revolution [Map]
• determining the structure of the solar system
• nature of science

Classical Mechanics [Map]
• historical development and influence
• nature of science

Relativity [Map]
• mass and energy equivalence
• theory development by Einstein
• nature of science

The Chemical Revolution [Map]
• scientific understanding
• history of development
• nature of science

Moving the Continents [Map]
• scientific ideas about plate tectonics
• development of scientific understanding of the motion of continents
• determining the age of the earth
• nature of science

Splitting the Atom [Map]
• scientific understanding
• history of development
• nature of science

Explaining Evolution [Map]
• scientific ideas about evolution
• development and acceptance of scientific ideas about evolution
• determining the age of the earth
• nature of science

Discovering Germs [Map]
• development of germ theory
• nature of science

The Industrial Revolution [Map]
• technological understanding
• nature of technology
• history of development

11 - Common Themes

Systems [Map; Research]
• boundaries
• interacting parts
• emergent properties
• complexity

Models [Map; Research]
• uses of models
• limitations of models

Constancy [Map; Research]
• conservation
• equilibrium

Patterns of Change [Map; Research]
• directional change
• predicting change
• cyclic change
• monitoring change

Scale [Map]
• effect of size on properties
• variety of magnitudes in nature
• describing extremes

12 - Habits of Mind

Values in Science [Map]
• values particular to science
• common values as applied in science

Public Perception of Science [Map]
• ethics in research
• value and limits of science
• value and limits of technology

Computation and Estimation [Map; Research]
• estimation
• computation

Using Tools and Devices [Map; Research]
• making accurate measurements
• working with tools and troubleshooting
• recording and organizing information

Communication Skills [Map]
• mathematical communication
• visual communication
• oral and written communication

Detecting Flaws in Arguments [Map; Research]
• detecting bias
• detecting misuse of numbers
• detecting overgeneralization
• detecting unfair comparisons
• detecting flawed reasoning
• detecting alternative explanations
• detecting unsupported claims