Physical Science Course Description

Grade Level: Grade 8 Prerequisite(s): General Science, 7th grade math

Text and resources used:

    • CPO - Middle School Physical Science ISBN: 978-1-58892-498-8

Course Description:

Physical Science Physical Science program introduces students to many aspects of the physical world, focusing first on chemistry and then on physics. The course provides an overview of the physical world and gives students tools and concepts to think clearly about atoms, molecules, chemical reactions, motion, electricity, light, and other aspects of chemistry and physics. Among other subjects, students study the structure of atoms; the elements and the Periodic Table; chemical reactions; forces, including gravitational, motion, acceleration, and mass; and energy, including light, thermal, electricity, and magnetism.

Type of Assessment Used:

Semester exams, tests, quizzes, laboratory activities, note-taking, homework, research project and class participation

Number of Credits:

1 credit per course, ½ credit per semester

Grade Based On:

    • Class Participation/Classwork/Labs: 20%
    • Tests/quizzes: 20%
    • Writing/Essays/Projects/Presentations: 10%
    • Notebook: 10%
    • Homework 10%
    • Semester/ Final Exam: 30%

Course Content/Goals/Outline:

The Nature of Science

What is Physical Science? Begin your journey into physical science by learning about measurements and how to do proper lab procedures.

· Introduction to Physical Science (1.1)

· Physical Systems (p129)

· Measurement and the International System (1.2)

· Laboratory: Measured Steps

· Laboratory: Density (p298)

· Working with Model Problems (p38)

· Model Problems


Learn about matter and the pattern displayed in the periodic table which helps us understand atoms, chemical reactions, chemical formulas, chemical compounds, atomic mass, and other concepts covered in this unit.

· Atoms (13.1 especially p328)

· Atomic and Mass Numbers (p347)

· Elements and the Periodic Table (Chapter 14)

· Design of the Periodic Table (p345)

· Molecules 15.1 especially (p365)

· Properties of Matter (p344)

· States of Matter (p280, 281)

· Physical and Chemical Changes (p344)


Learn about the chemistry surrounds you every day. Cars are built with chemicals and run on chemical fuel. Chemicals make up the clothes you wear and the food you eat. You breathe chemicals, your computer and radio are composed of chemicals, and our world today is dependent on chemicals.

· Chemical Bonding (15.1, 15.2)

· Chemical Reactions (Chapter 17)

· Chemical Formulas (p366)

· Laboratory: Testing and Producing Gases

· Rates of Chemical Reactions (p369)

· Chemical Equations (p411, 412)

· Laboratory: Dissolving Metals

· Mixtures (p364)

· Separating Mixtures

· Solutions (16.1)

· Substances (a chemical 'substance' is simply an element or compound)

· Laboratory: Separating Ingredients

· Acids and Bases (16.2)

· Model Problems

Force and motion

Learn about displacement, speed, acceleration, Newton's laws of motion, and gravitation.

· Force (Chapter 4, especially section 4.1)

· Gravitational Force (7.1)

· Motion (Chapter 3)

· Laboratory: Calculating Speed

· Speed and Velocity (p55)

· Measuring Speed and Velocity (p55)

· Acceleration (3.3)

· Newton's First Law of Motion (5.1)

· Mass and Weight (pp 82-83)

· Newton's Second Law of Motion (5.2)

· Newton's Third Law of Motion (5.3)

· Buoyant Forces (12.2)

· Laboratory: Precious Cargo

· Model Problems


Learn about the different energy that constantly surrounds you, and how you use this energy in your everyday life.

· Energy (6.1)

· Work (6.2, especially pp135-137)

· Kinetic Energy (not in book?! Kinetic energy (motion energy) = ½ x mass x speed²)

· Potential Energy (pp131, 136)

· Laboratory: The Pendulum

· Laboratory: Using a Lever

· Simple Machines (6.3)

· Compound Machines (not in book – there will be a photocopy)

· Laboratory: Heat Flow

· Thermal Energy (11.1)

· Temperature (11.1)

· Model Problems

Waves, Sound, and Light

Explore the different waves you're being exposed to every second of every day.

· Waves (9.2, 9.3?)

· Electromagnetic Waves (p252)

· Light Waves (10.1, 10.2?)

· Laboratory: Path of Light

· Reflection and Refraction (10.3)

· Lenses (p266)

· Model Problems

Electricity and Magnetism

Learn about electricity and magnetism, two particular forms of energy that are quite important to you.

· Electric Charge (p191)

· Electric Currents (p192)

· Electric Circuits (8.2)

· Laboratory: Series and Parallel Circuits

· Magnetism (8.3)

· Electromagnetism (Chapter 8)

· Laboratory: Motoring On

· Motors and Generators (p209)

· Model Problems

Scientific Investigation (if time)

Scientists conduct experiments and form conclusions. You can do the same thing. Be a scientist as you design and carry out your own experiment. Discover how the scientific process works, what makes it different from just guessing, and why it's the most powerful and successful way of figuring out how the forces of nature work.

· Scientific Methods

· Design and Set-Up Your Experiment

· Data Collection

· Data Analysis

· Report Conclusions and create a Display