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"Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Middle School Science 

Welcome back to school!  I am excited for the new school year filled with new beginnings and fresh starts.  This letter is to provide a brief description of the middle school curriculum for 7th and 8th graders. 

Communication

I will be doing all of my communication and correspondence via PowerSchool.  At times, I will also send out group emails.  Please make sure I have an updated email address.  If you don’t have a login for PowerSchool, please let us know or you can get your account set up at Open House on September 4th.  On PowerSchool you can find:

  • grades
  • calendar with upcoming assignments and events
  • descriptions for projects/assignments
  • notifications

7th and 8th Grade:  Project-Based Learning

The 7th and 8th graders will be participating in many exciting projects, field trips, outdoor experiences, and learning opportunities.  This year, the science class will be a project-based learning course.  Students will have 5 big projects this school year with each project lasting approximately 7 weeks.  Below, you can find a brief description for each project and the dates in which they will occur.

 Assessment

What will I be assessing (grades)?  

When you check your child’s grades you will see that they are being evaluated on 8 Science and Engineering Practices.  The Next Generation Science Standards: Science and Engineering Practices are:

1.Asking Questions and Defining Problems

2. Developing and Using Models

3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data

5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking

6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

7. Engaging in Argument from Evidence

8. Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information


While evaluating your child on the 8 Practices I will also be embedding content standards, or performance expectations, within each project (see table on next page). 

If you would like more information on the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, the following website is an excellent source with links to specific grade level expectations:

“NSTA Science and Engineering Practices”  https://ngss.nsta.org/PracticesFull.aspx


7th and 8th Grade: Life Science Syllabus

I have condensed some of the descriptions for the performance expectations below to make them clear and concise.  If you would like a more detailed explanation for each performance expectation please go to the following website: https://ngss.nsta.org/AccessStandardsByTopic.aspx

*Dates are approximate and are subject  

8/31 - 10/19/18

10/22 - 12/14/18

12/17 - 2/14/19

2/25 - 4/12/19

4/22 - 6/7/19

Ecosystems

Cells

Genetics

Natural Selection

Science Fair

Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem

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

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

Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth.

Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles.

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

Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function

Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms

Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing.

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

Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services



Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time

Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each.





Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object.


5th and 6th Grade: Curriculum

The 5th and 6th graders will be using a curriculum called “Stemscopes” for the majority of the year.  We will be learning and practicing how to “do” science: developing questions, making observations, collecting/analyzing data, technology, and mathematics.  My goal is to transition after February vacation to a Project-Based Learning style of learning.  Students will be working on one large project for each unit.  The last project of the year will be the science fair project.


I have condensed some of the descriptions for the performance expectations to make them clear and concise.  If you would like a more detailed explanation for each performance expectation please go to the following website: https://ngss.nsta.org/AccessStandardsByTopic.aspx


5th and 6th Grade: Syllabus

8/31 - 10/19/18

10/22 - 12/14/18

12/17 - 2/14/19

2/25 - 4/12/19

4/22 - 6/7/19

Earth and Space

Motion and Stability

Interactions in Matter

Earth and Human Activity (PBL)

Science Fair (PBL)

5-ESS1-1:The student is expected to support an argument about the differences in the brightness of the sun compared to other stars.

5-PS2-1: The student is expected to support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed toward the center of the Earth. 

5-PS1-1: The student is expected to develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen. 

5-ESS3-1: Obtain information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles.

5-ESS1-2: The student is expected to represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.


MS-ESS1-2: Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity within galaxies and the solar system.

5-PS1-2: The student is expected to measure and graph quantities about the phases of matter to observe matter is conserved.


MS-ESS3-3: Design a method for monitoring and minimizing human impact on the environment.

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

MS-ESS1-1: Develops and uses a model describing the relationships of the cyclical patterns of the moon, sun, and earth.

ETS1-3: The student is expected to plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled to identify aspects of a model that can be improved. 

5-PS1-3: The student is expected to make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.


Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each.


ETS1-2: The student is expected to generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

5-PS1-4The student is expected to conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.


Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object.

Subpages (1): Science Fair