Benchmark 11B
Common Themes: Models
Grades 6-8, page 269

Different models can be used to represent the same thing. What kind of a model to use and how complex it should be depends on its purpose. The usefulness of a model may be limited if it is too simple or if it is needlessly complicated. Choosing a useful model is one of the instances in which intuition and creativity come into play in science, mathematics, and engineering.

NSES Content Standard A 
Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Grades 5-8, page 145
Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description--providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject matter knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

NSES Content Standard A 
Science as Inquiry: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Grades 9-12, page 175
Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students should be able to use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.

NSES Content Standard E 
Science and Technology: Abilities of technological design
Grades 9-12, page 192
Propose designs and choose between alternative solutions. Students should demonstrate thoughtful planning for a piece of technology or technique. Students should be introduced to the roles of models and simulations in these processes.

See also the general discussion in Unifying Concepts and Processes: Evidence, models, and explanation