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Middle School Science

Each middle school science course contains standards called “Performance Expectations” (PEs) from the Next Generation Science standards (NGSS). Each PE is written to include a science practice, crosscutting concept and disciplinary core idea.  This 3-dimensional approach to science learning is the key innovation of the NGSS. Instruction with the NGSS should engage students in the science and engineering practices, along with the crosscutting concepts, in order to learn the disciplinary core ideas. Each middle school grade level science course contains disciplinary core ideas from life, earth and physical science. Student understanding of science content and practices should grow increasingly more sophisticated as concepts build throughout the middle school science curriculum. The content covered at each grade level includes:

 

Grade Level 6                        

In sixth grade science, students begin by describing Earth processes and Earth’s place in the universe. They then investigate the forces that act between objects including chemical, electrical, gravitational and magnetic forces. The course ends with a study of the importance of resources and interactions within ecosystems. Students interact with these content ideas by making observations, asking questions, designing and conducting investigations, analyzing data, developing models and communicating evidence through scientific argumentation. 

Grade Level 7                        

In seventh grade science, students investigate the relationships between cells, tissues and systems in living organisms. Students then describe the role of chromosomes and genes in the production of proteins and inherited traits that impact the survival of populations. The relationships between energy and matter are then studied in the concepts of photosynthesis, respiration, cycling of matter and waves. Students finish the year differentiating between weather and climate, and analyzing technologies to predict, inform and mitigate their effects. Students interact with these content ideas by making observations, asking questions, designing and conducting investigations, analyzing data, developing models and communicating evidence through scientific argumentation.  

Grade Level 8    

In eighth grade science, stability and change are key understandings. Transfer of energy and engineering designs to regulate this transfer are the beginning concepts of 8th grade science. Students then investigate evidence to support explanations of changes to Earth’s structures and populations of organisms over time. The uneven distribution of Earth’s resources and the impacts of rising populations and human consumption on Earth systems are key points of integration in the final 8th grade module. Students interact with these content ideas by making observations, asking questions, designing and conducting investigations, analyzing data, developing models and communicating evidence through scientific argumentation.