Integrity - Service - Merit
Middle School Science has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Within the NGSS, there are three distinct and equally important dimensions (Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts) to learning science. These dimensions are combined to form each standard—or performance expectation—and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time. Middle School Science lessons and units are built around this 3-Dimensional approach. Inductive teaching and inquiry is a fundamental part of the NGSS, how we teach and how the students learn. Below you can see a listing of the three dimensions. Check out the NGSS website for more information.
In the first unit of Grade 5, students will develop a particle model of matter in order to identify materials and investigate whether the mixing of two or more substances will result in new substances. In the second unit, students will make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place. The third unit will explore the cycling of matter in ecosystems, with a focus on the transfer of matter and energy between plants and animals. In unit four, students will examine the interactions and relationship between the four subsystems/spheres (lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere) of the Earth. Also, in the fourth unit, students will look at patterns in the daily and seasonal changes in the sky and then model the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses and seasons.
In Grade 6, students will start the year by learning about the structure of living things and the function of their different parts from organelles to cells to tissues to organs to organisms. In the second quarter, students will analyze how energy affects matter. The third unit will explore the factors that affect gravitational, magnetic and electric forces. The final unit will examine how plate tectonics, wind and water has shaped and is changing the surface of our planet.
In Grade 7, students will start the year by conducting investigation in order to analyze the relationship between motion, forces and collisions, with an emphasis on Newton’s Laws. The second unit will examine how gravity affects the interactions between the Earth, moon, sun, and solar systems, and how those interactions result in the changing seasons, moon phases, eclipses and night sky. In the third unit, students will look at the effect that temperature, pressure and humidity have on weather and climate. Students will end the year by learning how organisms are affected by genetics, inheritance, natural and artificial selection, and the environment.
In Grade 8, students will commence the year by analyzing and interpreting data on the properties of substances before and after mixing to determine if physical and/or chemical changes have taken place. In the second unit, students will look for patterns in the fossil record as they formulate theories on evolution and the history of the Earth. In the third unit, students will analyze how matter and energy cycle, flow and transfer through ecosystems and the effect that this has on the interdependent relationships between organisms. The final unit begins with students analyzing the effects of human impact on the environment, and culminates with the Grade 8 interdisciplinary (along with Math, Social Studies and English) capstone project, Advocating for Change (AFC), during which students will apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems.
Instructional practices in the Science classroom are differentiated and aligned with the essential learning outcomes for each unit. Students of all abilities gain a coherent understanding of the living, physical and material components of the world around them while engaged in the scientific process. Through fun and meaningful exploration in hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based methodology, students are immersed in a variety of situations and experiences. During a typical day in any Middle School Science classroom, one may observe teacher and student-led discussions, laboratory and fieldwork investigations, individual and small-group instruction, various projects being carried out, a diverse assortment of assessments being taken and the integration of a wide range of technology.
Student safety is paramount when participating in scientific activities. The Middle School Science Department will direct students to wear goggles, aprons, rubber gloves and/or facemasks when necessary. Guidelines for appropriate behavior while in the Science laboratory will be implemented and adhered to. Furthermore, students are expected to enter the Science laboratory with closed-toed shoes (such as PE shoes or sneakers); flip-flops and sandals present a safety hazard and are not acceptable footwear.