Life Science - 2017-2018

Welcome to 7th grade science 
with Mrs. Sorrows!    

Life science, or Biology, is the study of life and living organisms. Ecology is the study of organisms and how they interact with each other and their environment. This year w
e will explore life, the resources and characteristics of Earth that support life, and the interactions between living things and with the environment. 

Our study will include 5 main units:
Unit 1: What conditions allow life to exist on Earth?

Unit 2: What are they dynamics of life on Earth?

Unit 3: How do energy and matter move in an ecosystem?

Unit 4: How are the needs of living things met?

Unit 5: What accounts for diversity of life on Earth?       

Scientific Practices 

  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 & computational thinking

  6. Constructing explanations and designing solutions

  7. Engaging in argument from evidence

  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Essential Questions: we will ask questions such as these:

How does the cycling of water enable the conditions for life on Earth?

Why do living things live where they do?

Core biology topics we cover include:
        The Scientific Method
        Ecology, environment
        Viruses, Bacteria and Protists
        Plants and Fungi
        Invertebrates and Vertebrates
        Organ Systems in Animals

Parent Volunteers
I would love to have a few parents help when I take students outside for science activities or during certain labs. Please let me know if you have completed the CORI and are interested. Often I ask volunteers to come in for two class periods in a row, if they are available.

Online Tools and Resources

Climate & Biome resources
NRSD Biome Resources * I created this website to provide access to a variety of resources to research different biomes.

This is a great site to practice your vocabulary. My sets are designed to work well with the activity called "Match"  and as Flashcards for practice. Then, if you want to test yourself, create a test but change the # of questions to the maximum for that set AND un-click the "written" option. I expect you to do your best with spelling, but I do not find that your time is well spent practicing spelling on Quizlet as it too often marks you wrong. My class Quizlet page is: 
You will choose log in with Google, and will use your NRSD google account to connect to my class.

Google Classroom - You can log on to Google Classroom to access videos, activities, websites and other resources that we used in class.

Wildfire conditions
The movement of smoke and particulate from wildfires are mapped on AirNow from the EPA

Online Bird Guide
This is a wonderful website for identifying and learning about birds you see, with calls, descriptions and photos:
Cornell Lab of Ornithology at

Instructional Materials include:

Partial Solar Eclipse!
I hope you found a way to SAFELY see the effects of the partial solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017! 
You can learn a bit about how an eclipse happens at PBS. Remember, whatever you do, don't look directly at the sun, and don't point your phone or camera directly at it either! 
Extra Help, Contact Information and Other Announcements

Contact Mrs. Sorrows!
My email address is msorrows and all school addresses use
Please feel free to email me any questions or concerns; I check email daily and will get back to you as soon as I can, typically by the end of the next school day. Email is the best way to reach me, however you can also call me by telephoning the office at 978-365-4558 and leaving a message for me.

After school help
After school help is typically available on Tuesdays. Other afternoons and before school are also possible, just ask!

Want to do better in science?
I invite you to come see me for help during or after school! Here are two hints to try, whether you are stuck on the homework, wanting to work toward a better grade on the next test, or trying to make sense of the material.

1. Go through your class notes and try to explain them out loud. When you get to something that is hard to explain or you don't understand, write down a question and bring it in to ask.

2. As you are doing your homework, think of one question that you are curious about, relating to the material. What would you ask a scientist who works on that topic? Bring that in to share and we can discuss it. 

General advice:  Do all homework assignments, practice current and old vocabulary regularly, and don't be shy about coming in for review or when you have questions.

Miscellaneous Announcements WISE inquiry system

Many students ask for the recipe for the playdough that we use in class. There are several versions at this website  and there are other sites with no-cook playdough. 
I do the following:
Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar in a pot. Then add 1 cup water and 1 Tablespoon oil.  Mix over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2 to 5 minutes. It turns into a lumpy mess, and just before you think it is going to burn to the pan and be a disaster, take it off, dump it on the counter with a tiny bit of flour, and it will be perfect.  You can add food coloring with the liquids or at the end when you are kneading it on the counter.  When it is cool, store it in a zipped plastic bag and it will last for months. The cream of tartar helps it last longer and is great to have, but it would probably work without it.