Brand New Science Passages

Kindergarten Science [top]

"A Big Star" 
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Sunlight warms Earth's surface
Description: Illustrates the relationship between  sun and Earth in regards
to light and heat
Lexile: 310

"A Hurricane is a Big Storm"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Weather scientist forecast Hurricanes so that the communities can prepare for and respond to these events
Description: Provides the properties of hurricanes and ways for people to stay safe when a hurricane hits
 Lexile: 350

"A Tornado is Coming"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Scientist forecast tornados to help people prepare for their safety 
Description:  A family prepares for a tornado and takes shelter
Lexile: 180

"A Busy Bird"
Topic: Life Science - Animals can change their environment
Description: Carlos watches a bird build a nest
Lexile: 140

"Blow, Wind, Blow"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Weather is a combination of sunlight, wind, precipitation and temperature  
Description: Wind and its characteristics
Lexile: 310

"How Plastic is Recycled"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - People can reduce their impact
on their environment 
Description: Step by step process for recycling plastic.
Lexile: 200

"The Flying Machine"
Topic: Technology & Engineering - Observing and gathering information are approaches to problem-solving  
Description: Leonardo da Vinci uses observation to help him design a flying machine 
Lexile: 280

"Clouds and Rain"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Weather is a combination of sunlight, wind, precipitation and temperature  
Description: Some properties of clouds and what happens when it rains
Lexile: 290

1st Grade [top]

"A Baby Polar Bear Grows Up"
Topic: Life Science - Animals can have offspring and care for them 
Description: How a polar bear cares for her baby from birth to 3 years
Lexile: 260

"All About Koalas"
Topic: Life Science - All animals need food to live and grow 
Description: Details about what a baby koala's eats and drinks
Lexile: 390

"An Elephant's Excellent Trunk"
Topic: Life Science - Animals have body parts that are important for their growth and survival 
Description - Elephant's use their trunks for various functions
Lexile: 500

"Cool in the Hot Desert"
Topic: Life Science
Description: The desert home of a fennec fox
Lexile: 300

"Groundhogs are Diggers"
Topics: Life Sciences - Plants and animals can change their environment 
Description: Groundhog burrows are a series of underground rooms
Lexile: 370

"How to See Sound"
 Topic: Physical Science - Sound can make matter vibrate 
Description: Qualities of sound and an experiment to visualize sound
Lexile: 410

"Maria Recycles"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - People can reduce their impact on their environment  Description: The recycling efforts of a girl and her father
Lexile: 440

"Meet a Baby Panda"
Topic: Life Science - Young animals are very much like their parents 
Description - How the baby panda looks compared to it's mother and how she cares for it
Lexile: 360

"Keeping Bears Out"
Topic: Life Science  
Description: Solutions to keeping bears away from food at campsites
Lexile: 400

"An Owl is a Bird"
Topic:  Life Science - Different animals use their body parts to find and take in food 
Description: The owl has body parts that help it hunt for food
Lexile: 380

2nd Grade [top]

"Atka and the Wolves of South Salem"
Topic: Life Science
Description:  Behavior of wolves in contrast to dogs
Lexile: 630

"Arctic Life"
Topic: Life Science
Description: How a walrus, polar bear and snowy owl are suited to their Arctic habitat
Lexile: 720

"Dive Into a Coral Reef!"
Topic: Life Science
Description: The variety of sea life living on a coral reef
Lexile: 610

"Let's Explore Caves"
Topic: Life Science
Description: Introduces creatures that thrive in a cave ecosystem
Lexile: 700

"Web Weavers"
Topic: Life Science
Description: Some spiders and the types of webs they weave
Lexile: 480

"An Adventure in Africa"
Topic: Life Science - Different animals used their body parts to move around and take in food 
Description: A family goes on safari and sees a giraffe eating 
Lexile: 640

"Plant Attack"
Topic: Life Science
Description: Certain plants and ants co-exist, sometimes to the detriment of the plant’s health                  
Lexile: 730

"The Grey Sheep"
Topic: Life Science - Young animals are very similar to their parents. Plants are very similar to their parents too
Description: Offspring are similar as told in a story about a girl whose mother raises sheep and grows plants
Lexile: 600

3rd Grade [top]

"Miss Johnson's Plant Experiment"
Topic: Life Science - Plants depend on water and light to grow
Description: Miss Johnson's class does an experiment on what makes plants grow well
Lexile: 700

"Saving the World from Small Pox"
Topic: Technology & Engineering - Asking questions, making observations, and gathering information are helpful in thinking about problems
Description: Examines Edward Jenner's quest to develop a vaccine for smallpox
Lexile: 820

4th Grade [top]

"Energy for Life"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural sources.  Some resources are renewable over time,
and others are not
Description: Examines non-renewable and renewable energy, and related issues
Lexile: 1170

"Our Changing Earth:
Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions"

Topic: Earth & Space Science – The Earth has different land and water features, and maps can help locate them
Description: Two boys and their uncle go on a hiking trip, and learn about maps, earthquakes, and how the earth changes
Lexile: 610

"Sensing the World Around Us"
Topic: Life Science - Different sense receptors of people and animals are specialized for particular kinds of information, which is then processed
to guide actions
Description: Exploration of the five senses and other sensory receptors of animals
Lexile: 970

"Sunrise, Sunset... or Not?"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Seasonal patterns of sunrise and sunset can be observed, described, and predicted
Description: Explores how the sun never sets and never rises in certain places during the year, and how that can impact life
Lexile: 840

"Portrait of An Animal Rescue Expert"
Topic: Life Science – Wildlife rescue
Description: Explains the life and goals of Justin Matthews,
a wildfire rescue expert in Florida
Lexile: 800


5th Grade [top]

"Matter is Everywhere"
Topic: Physical Science - Matter of any type can be subdivided into particles that are too small to see, called atoms. Matter is found in different states, and can be identified by a variety of properties
Description: Discusses different types of matter in certain states, and how to identify them
Lexile: 930

"The Ecosystem of the Forest"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Matter cycles between the air and soil among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die
Description: Illustrates the parts of a forest's ecosystem and how they
affect each other
Lexile: 1000

Topic: Earth & Space Science - The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. Stars range greatly in their
distance from Earth
Description: Examines why we can or cannot see certain stars with the naked eye
Lexile: 960

"The Brightest Sky"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - The sun is a star that appears larger and brighter than other stars because it is closer. Stars range greatly in their
distance from Earth
Description: Emine travels to Cairo and stargazes in the desert, amazed at the difference of his view of the night sky back in New York City
Lexile: 970

"Water, Water Everywhere! The Role of Water in the Earth's Surface"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Nearly all of Earth’s available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere
Description: Discussion of water - both ocean and freshwater
Lexile: 1010

"Bring in the Beavers"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Rainfall helps to shape the land and affects the types of living things found in the region
Description: Shows how beavers build dams, which naturally lessen the chance of rivers overflowing when it rains heavily
Lexile: 950

"Electric and Magnetic Forces and the Modern Day Compass"
Topic: Physical Science - Electric and magnetic forces between a pair of objects do not require that the objects be in contact
Description: An explanation of how magnetic fields exist and interact on Earth, illustrating these concepts by using compasses
Lexile: 1190

"Free Transfer"
Topic: Physical Science - Energy can be moved from place to place by moving objects or through sound, light, or electric currents
Description: Discusses ways that energy can be transferred
Lexile: 850

"Honey to the Bee"
Topic: Life Science - Different animals use their body parts in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water, and air
Description: Describes bees and how their hives function
Lexile: 990

"Tornado Scientists"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - Weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow, or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time. Tornadoes form when strong winds spin
Description: Describes tornadoes and the methods in which tornado chasers study them
Lexile: 940

"Watch for Steady Rocks"
Topic: Earth & Space Science - A variety of natural hazards result from natural processes, such as landslides. Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can take steps to reduce their impacts
Description: Details the efforts of two boys and their class to create a wall to minimize the natural hazard of a devastating landslide
Lexile: 960

6th Grade [

"The Penny Experiment"
Topic: Physical Science – Substances react chemically in characteristic ways
Description: Provides an account of a girl learning about the reduction-oxidation of copper, which creates a pigment on the copper called verdigris

"From the Earth to Outer Space"
Topic: Technology & Engineering – Designs should be compared and tested since there are multiple solutions for a problem
Description: Examines the efforts of inventors and scientists to create spacecraft that would send people to space
Lexile: 1130

"Tugboats: Pushers and Pullers"
Topic: Physical Science – Pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction of its motion and can start or stop it
Description: Provides information about tugboats and their usability
Lexile: 1140 

"Valley Nuts"
Topic: Life Science – Growth of organisms are limited by access to resources
Description: Describes human efforts to grow almond trees and other 
crops in California
Lexile: 1050

"The Problem Solvers"
Topic: Technology & Engineering – Solutions need to be tested and modified on the basis of test results
Description: Examines a hypothetical architectural problem to demonstrate the process of researching a problem, brainstorming solutions, and testing the solutions
Lexile: 990

7th Grade [top]

"Will Human Life on Earth Come to an End?"
Topic: Earth & Space Science – Illustrates human dependency
on limited natural resources
  Description: Highlights a few notable ideas and thoughts on space colonization from when it was mainly in the science-fiction realm to a possible reality due to further advancement in technology
Lexile: 1080

"Water: A Give and Take"
Topic: Earth & Space Science – Roles of water in Earth’s surface processes
Description: Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations
Lexile: 1050

"Different Forms of Water"
Topic: Physical Science – The properties of water
Description: How different forms of water are used for different purposes
Lexile: 1160

"Everyday Energy"
Topic: Physical Science – Examples of the conversion of stored
energy for practical use
Description: Explains potential energy, kinetic energy, and the functions of the Hoover Dam
Lexile: 1120

"The History of Planet Earth"
Topic: Earth & Space Science – Events can occur over time periods longer than one can observe
Description: The passage describes the Earth's physical evolution over
the past several billion years
Lexile: 1090

"Worldwide Loss of Bees a Growing Concern"
Topic: Life Science – Changes in biodiversity can influence
humans’ resources
Description: Details the importance of honeybees and the dangers
of extinction they are facing
Lexile: 1350

8th Grade [

"Everyday Compound or Poison"
Topic: Physical Science
Description: Demonstrates the relationship between substances that are potentially harmful and dangerous by regrouping certain atoms in common substances like table salt
Lexile: 1240

"Developing Possible Solutions"
Topic: Technology & Engineering – Systematic processes for evaluating solutions
Description: Explains how scientists use the stages of inquiry and scientific method to find solutions to problems, through an example of creating
an effective mousetrap
Lexile: 1220

Topic: Earth & Space Science – Processes through Earth’s history
Description: The passage explores some of the relationships between living creatures, inorganic material, and climate conditions, looking more specifically at photosynthesis and heat from the Earth’s core
Lexile: 1280

"Two Sets to Build a Difference"
Topic: Life Science – Natural selection, variations from sexual
reproduction and mutations
Description: Presents the events and thought processes that led to Darwin's formulation of his theory of evolution based on his observations of the finch populations on the Galapagos Islands
Lexile: 1310

"Wetlands and Habitat Loss"
Topic: Earth Science – Human impact and reliance on wetlands
Description: Describes the importance of wetlands for creating biodiversity and the well-being of the planet, chronicles the history of wetlands from wide destruction to recent conservation and takes a closer look at Louisiana wetlands
Lexile: 1210

"A Bird with Many Beaks"
Topic: Life Science – Natural selection
Description: A look at Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection by
examining a few examples
Lexile: 1190

"The American Chestnut"
Topic: Earth Science – American Chestnut trees and natural selection
Description: Demonstrates the ways in which the different chestnut trees have adapted to their environment, while the introduction of certain elements from other environments have been deadly for the American Chestnut
Lexile: 1050

"Memories: Good and Bad"
Topic: Life Science – Memory, senses and the brain
Description: Explores how memory is stored and how it can be involuntarily
recalled from sensory input
Lexile: 1180