National Science Education Standards

Journey North's Whooping Crane study helps bring a wide range of National Science Education Standards to life. Browse this chart by content area and then link directly to information and activities that reflect your teaching goals. As you review the activities, consider how you can adapt them to your unique context and students' abilities.

A. Science as Inquiry
B. Physical Science

C. Life Science
(Earth and Space Science)
E. Science and Technology
F. Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
G. History and Nature of Science

National Science Education Standard
Journey North Whooping Crane Activity or Lesson


Ask a question about objects, organisms, events. (K-4) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
Whooping Crane Population Dynamics
Plan and conduct a simple investigation. (K-4) X
Employ simple equipment/tools to gather data and extend senses. (K-4) X
Use data to conduct a reasonable explanation. (K-4) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
Flight Formation: The Vs Have It

Communicate investigations and explanations. (K-4)


Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations. (5-8) X
Design and conduct a scientific investigation. (5-8) X
Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data. (5-8) X
Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. (5-8) X
Think critically and logically to make relationship between evidence and explanations. (5-8) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
Recognize/analyze alternative explanations and predictions. (5-8) X
Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. (5-8) X
Use math in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (5-8) X
Science investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing that to what scientists already know about the world. (K-4) "Report Cards" for Cranes in Training
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting). (K-4) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
"Report Cards" for Cranes in Training
Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet
Why Captive Breeding?

Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses. (K-4) X
Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world. Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
"Report Cards" for Cranes in Training
Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Scientists make the results of their investigations public; they describe the investigations in ways that enable others to repeat the investigations. (K-4) X
Scientists review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work. (K-4) X
Different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations. Some involve observing and describing objects, organisms, or events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models. (5-8) Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Technology used to gather data enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations. (5-8) Signals from the Sky
Where on Earth? A Look at GPS
Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Current scientific knowledge and understanding guide scientific investigations. (5-8) Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use scientific principles, models, and theories. The scientific community accepts and uses such explanations until displaced by better scientific ones. When such displacement occurs, science advances. (5-8) X
Science advances through legitimate skepticism. Asking questions and querying other scientists' explanations is part of scientific inquiry. Scientists evaluate the explanations proposed by others by examining evidence, comparing evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations. (5-8) X
Mathematics is important in all aspects of scientific inquiry. (5-8) Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Scientific investigations sometimes result in new ideas and phenomena for study, generate new methods or procedures for an investigation, or develop new data-collection technologies. All of these can lead to new investigations. (5-8) X


Objects have observable properties, including size, weight, shape, color, temperature, and the ability to react with other substances. Those properties can be measured using tools, such as rulers, balances, and thermometers. (K-4) How Birds Fly
Materials can exist in different states?solid, liquid, and gas. Some common materials, such as water, can be changed from one state to another by heating or cooling. (K-4)
Ultralight Pilot's Checklist: Weather or Not?


An object's motion can be described by tracing and measuring its position over time. (K-4) X

The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion, speed. The motion can be measured and represented on a graph. (5-8)

Where on Earth? A Look at GPS

An object that is not being subjected to a force will continue to move at a constant speed and in a straight line. (5-8)

If more than one force acts on an object along a straight line, then the forces will reinforce or cancel one another, depending on their direction and magnitude. Unbalanced forces will cause changes in the speed or direction of an object's motion. (5-8) How Birds Fly


Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water and food; plants require air, water, nutrients, and light. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. The world has many different environments, and distinct ones support the life of different types of organisms. (K-4) An Inside Story: Visualizing Inside the Egg
Adaptations That Help Cranes Survive
Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
What Makes a Good Stopover Site?
Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, reproduction. (K-4)

How Birds Fly
Crane ID: Will You Know a Whooper?
Adaptations That Help Cranes Survive
Anatomy Study: Draw a Lifesize Whooping Crane
A Day in the Life of a Migrating Whooper
Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet

The behavior of individual organisms is influenced by internal cues (such as hunger) and by external cues (such as a change in the environment). Humans and other organisms have senses that help them detect internal and external cues. (K-4) Where's My Mommy? Imprinting
Banding and Capture Myopathy (Stress!)
Kirke's Science Project: Measuring Stress in Cranes
Plants and animals have life cycles that include being born, developing into adults, reproducing, and eventually dying. The details of this life cycle are different for different organisms. (K-4) Making Predictions: Baby Boom Coming?
A Tale of Two Cranes
Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
An Inside Story: Visualizing Inside the Egg
Mates for Life?

Plants and animals closely resemble their parents. (K-4)

Entire Whooping Crane study 

Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents, but others result from an individual's interactions with the environment. Inherited characteristics include the color of flowers and the number of limbs of an animal. Other features are learned through interactions with the environment and cannot be passed on to the next generation. (K-4)

A Tale of Two Cranes


All animals depend on plants. Some animals eat plants for food. Others eat animals that eat plants. (K-4) X
An organism's behavior patterns are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and number of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment. When environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations. (K-4) Dominant or Submissive? Leader or Follower?
A Tale of Two Cranes
Whooping Crane Population Dynamics
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or others, whereas others are beneficial. (K-4) X
Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms. (K-4) Migration: A Dangerous Journey
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
Eastern Flock: A "Nonessential," Experimental Population


Living systems at all levels of organization demonstrate the complementary nature of structure and function. (5-8) How Birds Fly
Adaptations That Help Cranes Survive
Anatomy Study: Draw a Lifesize Whooping Crane

A Day in the Life of a Migrating Whooper
Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet
Reproduction is a characteristic of all living systems; because no individual organism lives forever, reproduction is essential to the continuation of every species. Some organisms reproduce asexually. Other organisms reproduce sexually. (5-8)


In many species, including humans, females produce eggs and males produce sperm. Plants also produce sexually?the egg and sperm are produced in the flowers of flowering plants. An egg and sperm unite to begin development of a new individual. That individual receives genetic information from its mother (via the egg) and its father (via the sperm). Sexually produced offspring never are identical to either of their parents. (5-8) X
Every organism requires a set of instructions for specifying its traits. Heredity is the passage of these instructions from one generation to another. (5-8) X
The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. Some are inherited and others result from environmental interactions. (5-8) Where's My Mommy? Imprinting
All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions in a constantly changing external environment. (5-8)

Feeling Blue and Crabby: Whooping Crane Winter Diet
Why Captive Breeding?

Entire Whooping Crane study

Regulation of an organism's internal environment involves sensing the internal environment and changing physiological activities to keep conditions within range required to survive. (5-8)  
Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels, including cells, organ systems, and whole organisms. Behavioral response is determined in part by heredity and in part from experience. (5-8) What is roosting?
An organism's behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. How a species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger are based in the species' evolutionary history. (5-8) Dominant or Submissive? Leader or Follower?
Mates for Life?
A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)

Eastern Flock: A "Nonessential," Experimental Population

Entire Whooping Crane study

Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some microorganisms are producers?they make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8) X
For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. That energy then passes from organism to organism in food webs. (5-8) X
The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition. Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations increase at rapid rates. Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific in certain niches. (5-8) X
Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. Although different species might look dissimilar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, the similarity of their chemical processes, and the evidence of common ancestry. (5-8) X
Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species through gradual processes over many generations. Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves the selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. Biological adaptations include changes in structures, behaviors, or physiology that enhance survival and reproductive success in a particular environment. (5-8) X
Extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct. Extinction of species is common; most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist. (5-8) X
The sun, moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes all have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described. (K-4) Where on Earth? A Look at GPS

The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. (K-4)

Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation. (K-4) Ultralight Pilot's Checklist: Weather or Not?
Objects in the sky have patterns of movement. The sun, for example, appears to move across the sky in the same way every day, but its path changes slowly over the seasons. The moon moves across the sky on a daily basis much like the sun. The observable shape of the moon changes from day to day in a cycle that lasts about a month. (K-4) X

Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria. Soils are often found in layers, with each having a different chemical composition and texture. (5-8)

Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." Water evaporates from the earth's surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground. (5-8) X
Clouds, formed by the condensation of water vapor, affect weather and climate. (5-8) X
Global patterns of atmospheric movement influence local weather. Oceans have a major effect on climate, because water in oceans holds a large amount of heat. (5-8) X
People have always had questions about their world. Science is one way of answering questions and explaining the natural world. (K-4) Cracking the Code: Banded Cranes Tell Their Story
Whooping Crane Population Dynamics

Entire Whooping Crane Study
People have always had problems and invented tools and techniques to solve problems. Trying to determine the effects of solutions helps people avoid some new problems. (K-4) Where on Earth? A Look at GPS
Why Captive Breeding?
Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. This understanding focuses primarily on teams working together and secondarily, on the combination of scientist and engineer teams. (K-4) X
Women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and groups engage in a variety of scientific and technological work. (K-4)

Eastern Flock: A "Nonessential," Experimental Population

Entire Whooping Crane study

Tools help scientists make better observations, measurements, and equipment for investigations. They help scientists see, measure, and do things that they could not otherwise see, measure, and do. (K-4)

Signals from the Sky
Where on Earth? A Look at GPS


Resources are things we get from living and nonliving environment to meet the needs and wants of a population. (K-4) X
Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil; some are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials; and some resources are nonmaterial, such as quiet places, beauty, security, and safety. (K-4) X
The supply of many resources is limited. If used, resources can be extended through recycling and decreased use. (K-4) X


Environments are the spaces, conditions, and factors that affect an individual's and a population's ability to survive and their quality of life. (K-4)

Whooping Crane Population Dynamics
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
Why Captive Breeding?

Entire Whooping Crane study
Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humans. Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are neither. Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans. (K-4) Migration: A Dangerous Journey
Towering Troubles
Crabs in Trouble = Cranes in Trouble
Some environmental changes occur slowly and others occur rapidly. Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods. (K-4) X
When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to the increased use of resources. (5-8) X

Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and country to country. (5-8)



Science and technology have been practiced by people for a long time. (K-4) X
Men and women have made variety of contributions throughout the history of science and technology. (K-4) X
Although men and women using scientific inquiry have learned much about the objects, events, and phenomena in nature, much more remains to be understood. Science will never be finished. (K-4) What is Roosting?
Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science. (K-4)  Entire Whooping Crane study
Science requires different abilities, depending on such factors as the field of study and type of inquiry. Science is very much a human endeavor, and the work of science relies on basic human qualities, such as reasoning, insight, energy, skill, and creativity?as well as on scientific habits of mind, such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas. (5-8)  Entire Whooping Crane study

Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models. Although all scientific ideas are tentative and subject to change and improvement in principle, for most major ideas in science, there is much experimental and observational confirmation. Those ideas are not likely to change greatly. Scientists do and have changed their ideas about nature when they encounter new experimental evidence that does not match their existing explanations. (5-8)


In areas where active research is being pursued and in which there is not a great deal of experimental or observational evidence and understanding, it is normal for scientists to differ with one another about the interpretation of the evidence or theory being considered. Different scientists might publish conflicting experimental results or might draw different conclusions from the same data. Ideally, scientists acknowledge such conflict and work towards finding evidence that will resolve their disagreement. (5-8)

It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the explanations proposed by other scientists. Evaluation includes reviewing experimental procedures, examining the evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations. Although scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretations of data, or about the value of rival theories, they do agree that questioning, response to criticism, and open communication are integral to the process of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, major disagreements are eventually resolved through such interactions between scientists. (5-8)  X