STAGE I: Next Generation Science Standards Alignment and Educational Resources

This page is meant to provide educational resources to help teachers and students as the initial investigations of the AIRI Stage I program are carried out.


Kids In Data

Data Literacy Education through Games

Kids in Data is free interactive data literacy educational program aimed at supporting young learners to understand essential concepts in data utilization and visualization through the use of video games. This program introduces basic concepts in data collection, graphing, trends, and interpretation are introduced. These tools are able to be customized and utilized alongside STAGE I of the AIRI program to help educators prepare learners to analyze and compare their experimental data.


Experimental Design Resources

  • International Controlled Environment Guidelines This website provides internationally recognized guidelines used to help plant scientists understand how to use controlled environment technology effectively and consistently.
  • PPSR Core is a set of global, transdisciplinary data and metadata standards for use in Public Participation in Scientific Research (Citizen Science) projects.

Stage I NGSS Alignment

One of the goals of the AIRI program is to support STEM education by providing students and educators authentic opportunities to carry out astrobotany related inquiry and investigations that support on-going research. For this reason, and to facilitate implementation, all AIRI program stages have been aligned to science curricular standards set forth by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).


Elementary Standards

  • K-LS1-1. 
    • Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
      • [Clarification Statement:  Examples of patterns could include that animals need to take in food but plants do not; the different kinds of food needed by different types of animals; the requirement of plants to have light; and, that all living things need water.]
  •  2-LS4-1. 
    • Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.  
      • [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on the diversity of living things in each of a variety of different habitats.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include specific animal and plant names in specific habitats.]
  • 3-LS3-2. 
    • Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.  
      • [Clarification Statement:  Examples of the environment affecting a trait could include normally tall plants grown with insufficient water are stunted; and, a pet dog that is given too much food and little exercise may become overweight.]
  • 4-LS1-1. 
    • Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.  
      • [Clarification Statement:  Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.]
  • 5-LS1-1. 
    • Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
      • [Clarification Statement:  Emphasis is on the idea that plant matter comes mostly from air and water, not from the soil.]
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. 
    • Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • 2-LS2-1.
    •  Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
  • 1-LS1-1.
    •  Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.*
      •  [Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.]

Middle/Junior High Standards

  • MS-LS2-5. 
    • Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. * 
      • [Clarification Statement: Examples of ecosystem services could include water purification, nutrient recycling, and prevention of soil erosion. Examples of design solution constraints could include scientific, economic, and social considerations.]
  • MS-LS1-5. 
    • Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms
      • [Clarification Statement:  Examples of local environmental conditions could include availability of food, light, space, and water.  Examples of genetic factors could include large breed cattle and species of grass affecting growth of organisms. Examples of evidence could include drought decreasing plant growth, fertilizer increasing plant growth, different varieties of plant seeds growing at different rates in different conditions, and fish growing larger in large ponds than they do in small ponds.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include genetic mechanisms, gene regulation, or biochemical processes.
  • MS-LS1-6. 
    • Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.  
      • [Clarification Statement:  Emphasis is on tracing movement of matter and flow of energy.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include the biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis.]
  • MS-LS1-8. 
    • Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.  
      • [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include mechanisms for the transmission of this information.]
      • *Note* in this example it is a plant sensing changes in its environment as opposed to animal ‘stimulus-response’

Senior/High Standards

  • HS-LS1-3. 
    • Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis. 
      • [Clarification Statement:  Examples of investigations could include heart rate response to exercise, stomate response to moisture and temperature,  and root development in response to water levels.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include the cellular processes involved in the feedback mechanism.]
  • HS-LS2-4. 
    • Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
      •  [Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using a mathematical model of stored energy in biomass to describe the transfer of energy from one trophic level to another and that matter and energy are conserved as matter cycles and energy flows through ecosystems. Emphasis is on atoms and molecules such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen being conserved as they move through an ecosystem.] [Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to proportional reasoning to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy.]
  • HS-LS1-5. 
    • Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
      • [Clarification Statement:  Emphasis is on illustrating inputs and outputs of matter and the transfer and transformation of energy in photosynthesis by plants and other photosynthesizing organisms. Examples of models could include diagrams, chemical equations,  and conceptual models.] [Assessment Boundary:  Assessment does not include specific biochemical steps.]

Program Navigation

  1. AIRI Home
  2. Program Outline
  3. Crop Selection and Microgreens
  4. List of Desirable Microgreens
  5. STAGE I: Microgreen Biomass Analysis
  6. STAGE I: NGSS Alignment and Educational Resources