Available Curriculum

Welcome Teachers and Administrators!

At the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center, we are proud to instruct your students in accordance with the California’s Next Generation Science Standards. Our immersions are led by trained instructors and are based on the appropriate level of education. We reinforce many concepts that students are already learning in the classroom, as well as introduce subject matters that will come up within the future years of their education. Below you will find some of the curriculum standards covered by our program. The following are taken from the Next Generation Science Standards.

Male and female preteens at science

Curriculum by Age Group

Elementary (5th grade)

Structure and Properties of Matter


Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity.


Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.


Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.

Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems


Support an argument that plants get the material they need for growth chiefly from air and water


Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment

Earth’s System


Develop a model using an example to describe ways various layers of the geosphere, biosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.


Describe and graph the amounts of saltwater and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.


Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Space Systems: Stars and the Solar System


Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars due to their relative distances from the Earth


Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.

Engineering Design


Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.

Middle School (6th – 8th grade)

Physical Science

MS Structure and properties of Matter


Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures


Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society


Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.

MS. Chemical Reactions


Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.

MS. Forces and Interactions


Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational; interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects


Investigate and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact

MS. Energy


Construct and interpret graphical display of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and the speed of an object


Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the objects

Life Science

MS. Structure, Function, and Information Processing


Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different number and types of cells

MS. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems


Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through organism


Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem


Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affects populations

MS. Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems


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


Construct an argument supported by empirical that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations

MS. Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms


Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behavior and specialized plant structure affects the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively


Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms

MS. Natural Selection and Adaptations


Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that documents the existence diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

Earth and Space Sciences

MS. Space System


Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun, moon, and the seasons.


Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system


Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.

MS. History of Earth


Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.


Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scale.


Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

MS. Weather and Climate


Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperature over the past century.

MS. Human Impacts


Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.


Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science

MS. Engineering Design


Define a design problem that can be solved through the development of an object, tool, process or system and includes multiple criteria and constraints, including scientific knowledge that may limit possible solutions.


Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.


Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.


Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

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