School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Science, Grade 8




State Curriculum Toolkit

Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.

  • Introduction for Standard or Indicator
  • Public Release Items
    Actual MSA items and annotated student responses as appropriate

Standard 5.0 Physics

Students will use scientific skills and processes to explain the interactions of matter and energy and the energy transformations that occur


A. Mechanics


  1. Observe, describe, and compare the motions of objects using position, speed, velocity, and the direction.
  2. Based on data given or collected, graph and calculate average speed using distance and time.
  3. Compare accelerated and constant motions using time, distance, and velocity.
  4. Describe and calculate acceleration using change in the speed and time.


  • 2. Identify and relate formal ideas (Newton's Laws) about the interaction of force and motion to real world experiences.
  1. Investigate and explain the interaction of force and motion that causes objects that are at rest to move.
  2. Demonstrate and explain, through a variety of examples, that moving objects will stay in motion at the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by an unbalanced force.
  3. Investigate and collect data from multiple trials, about the motion that explain the motion that results when the same force acts on objects of different mass; and when different amounts of force act on objects of the same mass.
  4. Based on data collected and organized, explain qualitatively the relationship between net force applied to an object and its mass for a given acceleration.
  5. Calculate the net force given the mass and acceleration.


  • 3. Recognize and explain that every object exerts gravitational force on every other object.
  1. Explain the difference between mass and weight.
  2. Describe the relationship between the gravitational force and the masses of the attracting objects.
  3. Describe the relationship between the gravitational force and the distance between the attracting objects.
  4. Recognize and cite examples showing that mass remains the same in all locations while weight may vary with a change in location (weight on Earth compared to weight on moon).
  5. Recognize that gravity is the force that holds planets, moons, and satellites in their orbits.


  • 4. Recognize and explain that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather it changes form or is transferred through the action of forces.
  1. Observe and describe the relationship between the distance an object is moved by a force and the change in its potential energy or kinetic energy, such as in a slingshot, in mechanical toys, the position of an object and its potential energy.
  2. Identify the relationship between the amount of energy transferred (work) to the product of the applied force and the distance moved in the direction of that force.
  3. Identify and describe that simple machines (levers and inclined planes) may reduce the amount of effort required to do work.
    • Calculate input and output work using force and distance
    • Demonstrate that input work is always greater than output work


B. Thermodynamics


  1. Based on observable phenomena, identify and describe examples of heat being transferred through conduction and through convection.
  2. Based on observable phenomena, identify examples to illustrate that radiation does not require matter to transfer heat energy.
  3. Research and identify the types of insulators that best reduce heat loss through conduction, convection, or radiation.


  • 2. Identify and explain that heat energy is a product of the conversion of one form of energy to another.
  1. Identify and describe the various forms of energy that are transformed in order for systems (living and non-living) to operate.
    • Chemical - Flashlight battery-Light
    • Mechanical - Pulleys-Motion
    • Solar/Radiant - Solar calculator
    • Chemical - Plant cells
  2. Explain that some heat energy is always lost from a system during energy transformations.

Note: Highlighting identifies assessment limits. All highlighted Indicators will be tested on the Grades 5 and 8 MSA. The highlighted Objectives under each highlighted Indicator identify the limit to which MSA items can be written. Although all content standards are tested on MSA, not all Indicators and Objectives are tested. Objectives that are not highlighted will not be tested on MSA, however are an integral part of Instruction.

January 2008