Grade 9  Selected Top Priority Standards


  • English

    1. Students apply their knowledge of word origins to determine the meaning of new words encountered in reading materials and use those words accurately.

    2. Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational patterns, arguments, and positions advanced.

    3. Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science. They conduct in-depth analyses of recurrent patterns and themes. The selections in Recommended Literature, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students.

    4. Students write coherent and focused essays that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose.

    5. Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies.

    6. Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories; Write responses to literature; Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports; Write persuasive compositions; Write business letters; & Write technical documents (e.g., a manual on rules of behavior for conflict resolution, procedures for conducting a meeting, minutes of a meeting).

    7. Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.

    8. Students deliver polished formal and extemporaneous presentations that combine the traditional rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description. Student speaking demonstrates a command of standard American English and the organizational and delivery strategies and must be able to deliver persuasive arguments (including evaluation and analysis of problems and solutions and causes and effects).


  • Math

    1. Students will develop their ability to construct formal, logical arguments and proofs in geometric settings and problems.

    2. Students demonstrate understanding by identifying and giving examples of undefined terms, axioms, theorems, and inductive and deductive reasoning.

    3. Students prove that triangles are congruent or similar, and they are able to use the concept of corresponding parts of congruent triangles.

    4. Students prove and use theorems involving the properties of parallel lines cut by a transversal, the properties of quadrilaterals, and the properties of circles.

    5. Students compute the volumes and surface areas of prisms, pyramids, cylinders, cones, and spheres; and students commit to memory the formulas for prisms, pyramids, and cylinders.

    6. Students compute areas of polygons, including rectangles, scalene triangles, equilateral triangles, rhombi, parallelograms, and trapezoids.

    7. Students prove relationships between angles in polygons by using properties of complementary, supplementary, vertical, and exterior angles.

    8. Students use the Pythagorean theorem to determine distance and find missing lengths of sides of right triangles.

    9. Students prove theorems by using coordinate geometry, including the midpoint of a line segment, the distance formula, and various forms of equations of lines and circles.

    10. Students know the definitions of the basic trigonometric functions defined by the angles of a right triangle. They also know and are able to use elementary relationships between them. For example, tan(x) = sin(x)/cos(x), (sin(x))2 + (cos(x)) 2 = 1.

    11. Students use trigonometric functions to solve for an unknown length of a side of a right triangle, given an angle and a length of a side.

    12. Students know and are able to use angle and side relationships in problems with special right triangles, such as 30°, 60°, and 90° triangles and 45°, 45°, and 90° triangles.

    13. Students prove and solve problems regarding relationships among chords, secants, tangents, inscribed angles, and inscribed and circumscribed polygons of circles.

    14. Students know the effect of rigid motions on figures in the coordinate plane and space, including rotations, translations, and reflections.


  • Physical Science

    Physical Science helps to prepare students to enroll in Chemistry and Physics. Motion, forces, matter and structures are a few of the topics integrated into the curricula. Students will be introduced to basic ideas that build into a greater understanding of Chemistry and Physics in later years. Students will also examine the formation and evolution of the universe, the solar system, the earth, and the oceans. Investigations will highlight the methodologies and technologies of earth science and the development use, and depletion of the earth's resources.

    • Laboratory is an essential part of this course and students learn the importance of observation and data organization as they produce formal laboratory reports for each activity.

    • Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations.

    • The students will gain basic understanding of the following concepts: velocity of an object is the rate of change of its position; Newton's laws predict the motion of most objects; Electric and magnetic phenomena are related and have many practical applications; etc.

    Earth Science

    Students understand that astronomy and planetary exploration reveal the solar system's structure, scale, and change over time.

    • Earth-based and space-based astronomy reveal the structure, scale, and changes in stars, galaxies, and the universe over time.

    Students know accelerators boost subatomic particles to energy levels that simulate conditions in the stars and in the early history of the universe before stars formed.

    Students know the evidence indicating that the color, brightness, and evolution of a star are determined by a balance between gravitational collapse and nuclear fusion.

    Students know how the red-shift from distant galaxies and the cosmic background radiation provide evidence for the "big bang" model that suggests that the universe has been expanding for 10 to 20 billion years.

    • Plate tectonics operating over geologic time has changed the patterns of land, sea, and mountains on Earth's surface.

    Students know the explanation for the location and properties of volcanoes that are due to hot spots and the explanation for those that are due to subduction.

    Students know the relative amount of incoming solar energy compared with Earth's internal energy and the energy used by society.

    Students know how differential heating of Earth results in circulation patterns in the atmosphere and oceans that globally distribute the heat.

    Students know the interaction of wind patterns, ocean currents, and mountain ranges results in the global pattern of latitudinal bands of rain forests and deserts.

    Students know features of the ENSO (El Niño southern oscillation) cycle in terms of sea-surface and air temperature variations across the Pacific and some climatic results of this cycle.

    Students know how computer models are used to predict the effects of the increase in greenhouse gases on climate for the planet as a whole and for specific regions.

    Students know how the composition of Earth's atmosphere has evolved over geologic time and know the effect of outgassing, the variations of carbon dioxide concentration, and the origin of atmospheric oxygen.

    Investigation & Experimentation

    Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content in the other four strands, students should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will:

    Select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as computer-linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.

    • Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error.
    • Identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources of error or uncontrolled conditions.
    • Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
    • Solve scientific problems by using quadratic equations and simple trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
    • Distinguish between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
    • Recognize the usefulness and limitations of models and theories as scientific representations of reality.
    • Read and interpret topographic and geologic maps.
    • Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g., relative ages of rocks, locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an ecosystem).
    • Recognize the issues of statistical variability and the need for controlled tests.
    • Recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence.
    • Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and applying concepts from more than one area of science.

    Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. Examples of issues include irradiation of food, cloning of animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer, choice of energy sources, and land and water use decisions in California.

    Know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted scientific theory, the observation is sometimes mistaken or fraudulent (e.g., the Piltdown Man fossil or unidentified flying objects) and that the theory is sometimes wrong (e.g., the Ptolemaic model of the movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets).


  • World History and Geography: Ancient Civilizations

    Students in grade six expand their understanding of history by studying the people and events that ushered in the dawn of the major Western and non-Western ancient civilizations. Geography is of special significance in the development of the human story. Continued emphasis is placed on the everyday lives, problems, and accomplishments of people, their role in developing social, economic, and political structures, as well as in establishing and spreading ideas that helped transform the world forever.

    Students develop higher levels of critical thinking by considering why civilizations developed where and when they did, why they became dominant, and why they declined. Students analyze the interactions among the various cultures, emphasizing their enduring contributions and the link, despite time, between the contemporary and ancient worlds.

    Students describe what is known through archaeological studies of the early physical and cultural development of humankind from the Paleolithic era to the agricultural revolution.

    Discuss the climatic changes and human modifications of the physical environment that gave rise to the domestication of plants and animals and new sources of clothing and shelter.

    Trace the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power.

    • Understand the relationship between religion and the social and political order in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
    • Know the significance of Hammurabi's Code.
    • Trace the evolution of language and its written forms.

    Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the Ancient Hebrews.

    • Describe the origins and significance of Judaism as the first monotheistic religion based on the concept of one God who sets down moral laws for humanity.
    • Identify the sources of the ethical teachings and central beliefs of Judaism (the Hebrew Bible, the Commentaries): belief in God, observance of law, practice of the concepts of righteousness and justice, and importance of study; and describe how the ideas of the Hebrew traditions are reflected in the moral and ethical traditions of Western civilization.
    • Explain the significance of Abraham, Moses, Naomi, Ruth, David, and Yohanan ben Zaccai in the development of the Jewish religion.
    • Discuss the locations of the settlements and movements of Hebrew peoples, including the Exodus and their movement to and from Egypt, and outline the significance of the Exodus to the Jewish and other people.
    • Discuss how Judaism survived and developed despite the continuing dispersion of much of the Jewish population from Jerusalem and the rest of Israel after the destruction of the second Temple in A.D. 70.

    Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Ancient Greece.

    • Discuss the connections between geography and the development of city-states in the region of the Aegean Sea, including patterns of trade and commerce among Greek city-states and within the wider Mediterranean region.
    • Trace the transition from tyranny and oligarchy to early democratic forms of government and back to dictatorship in ancient Greece, including the significance of the invention of the idea of citizenship (e.g., from Pericles' Funeral Oration).
    • Outline the founding, expansion, and political organization of the Persian Empire.
    • Compare and contrast life in Athens and Sparta, with emphasis on their roles in the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars.
    • Trace the rise of Alexander the Great and the spread of Greek culture eastward and into Egypt.
    • Describe the enduring contributions of important Greek figures in the arts and sciences (e.g., Hypatia, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Thucydides).

    Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of India.

    • Discuss the significance of the Aryan invasions.
    • Explain the major beliefs and practices of Brahmanism in India and how they evolved into early Hinduism.
    • Outline the social structure of the caste system.
    • Know the life and moral teachings of Buddha and how Buddhism spread in India, Ceylon, and Central Asia.
    • Describe the growth of the Maurya empire and the political and moral achievements of the emperor Asoka.
    • Discuss important aesthetic and intellectual traditions (e.g., Sanskrit literature, including the Bhagavad Gita; medicine; metallurgy; and mathematics, including Hindu-Arabic numerals and the zero).

    Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of China.

    • Locate and describe the origins of Chinese civilization in the Huang-He Valley during the Shang Dynasty.
    • Explain the geographic features of China that made governance and the spread of ideas and goods difficult and served to isolate the country from the rest of the world.
    • Know about the life of Confucius and the fundamental teachings of Confucianism and Taoism.
    • Identify the political and cultural problems prevalent in the time of Confucius and how he sought to solve them.
    • List the policies and achievements of the emperor Shi Huangdi in unifying northern China under the Qin Dynasty.
    • Detail the political contributions of the Han Dynasty to the development of the imperial bureaucratic state and the expansion of the empire.
    • Cite the significance of the trans-Eurasian "silk roads" in the period of the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire and their locations.
    • Describe the diffusion of Buddhism northward to China during the Han Dynasty.

    Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures during the development of Rome.

    • Identify the location and describe the rise of the Roman Republic, including the importance of such mythical and historical figures as Aeneas, Romulus and Remus, Cincinnatus, Julius Caesar, and Cicero.
    • Describe the government of the Roman Republic and its significance (e.g., written constitution and tripartite government, checks and balances, civic duty).
    • Identify the location of and the political and geographic reasons for the growth of Roman territories and expansion of the empire, including how the empire fostered economic growth through the use of currency and trade routes.
    • Discuss the influence of Julius Caesar and Augustus in Rome's transition from republic to empire.
    • Trace the migration of Jews around the Mediterranean region and the effects of their conflict with the Romans, including the Romans' restrictions on their right to live in Jerusalem.
    • Note the origins of Christianity in the Jewish Messianic prophecies, the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as described in the New Testament, and the contribution of St. Paul the Apostle to the definition and spread of Christian beliefs (e.g., belief in the Trinity, resurrection, salvation).
    • Describe the circumstances that led to the spread of Christianity in Europe and other Roman territories.
    • Discuss the legacies of Roman art and architecture, technology and science, literature, language, and law.



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