The majority of our science curriculum is provided by FOSS, a full option science system that is research-based and aligned with the middle school Next Generation Science Standards. This system was developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. The curriculum is organized in a rotating schedule so that each year students complete new course content and at the end of three years they have completed all science units and are prepared for their high school science courses.
2020-2021 Curriculum Units
- The Nature of Science: Design and Variables
- Gravity and Kinetic Energy
- Planetary Science
- Heredity and Adaptations
- Populations and Ecosystems (this unit will be continued fall 2021).
- Be kind! Be patient! Technology enriches, but also complicates.
- Log into our meeting from a quiet, distraction-free environment.
- You may leave your camera on/off. You will be required to turn it on for some activities.
- Participation in class counts toward daily grade.
- Responses to interactive lesson questions count as participation!
- Mic on mute except when asking/answering questions.
- Use the raise hand button to ask a question.
- If you use the chat box, remember it is public and a record of the chat is kept and archived.
- If you need to go to the bathroom, send me a private chat message.
- No sitting on beds! Sit at a desk or table. Appropriate classroom attire is expected.
Required Materials & Supplies
All students are expected to have these materials with them in class, daily.
- 2” three-ring binder with college-ruled paper
- 1 package of graph paper (fits binder, 3 ring holes)
- 4 dividers for the binder
- composition notebook (college-ruled) for experiments
- black ink pens
- glue stick
- colored pencils for scientific drawings only
Students will receive a grade based on the following categories:
Class Differentiation: Although grades 6-8 use the same curriculum and cover the same content, instruction and assessment is sometimes provided at different levels for each grade. Grade 6 students are expected to state, outline, interpret, apply, and summarize content. Grade 7 students must do the above, but also discuss, interpret, and explain content. Grade 8 students should do all of the above plus describe, evaluate, and analyze content. More information about these different levels will be discussed in class.
Daily Work: On the 1st day of class, students will be introduced to an interactive teacher-led lesson that is built into Google Classroom. Student participation during these lessons will count towards a daily work grade. Note that participation does not always mean speaking in class. If a student responds to questions throughout the interactive lesson via text, quizzes, or drawings, the student is participating! When we return to in-person classes, the daily work grade will be solely based on homework completion.
Science Notebook: On the 2nd day of class, students will receive a presentation with instructions on how they should keep their science notebook. This presentation is available in Google Classroom for students to review at any point during the year. There will be unscheduled checks throughout the year where students will need to turn in their notebook for assessment. During Distance Learning, checks will be digital. Students will be asked to photograph several pages of their work and submit them through Google Classroom.
Quizzes and Tests: Online quizzes will be given every few days to check for understanding. Many quizzes will be ungraded. However, I will occasionally schedule a graded quiz. Students will be given several days of advance notice before a graded quiz. A test will be given at the conclusion of every unit. Students will have a review lesson the day before the test, which will include sample test questions. Tests should be completed independently. Using notes, talking/texting, or cheating during a test is NOT allowed. If a student is found doing such things, he/she will receive a 0% on the test. During Distance Learning, tests will be completed online.
Labs and Lab Reports: When we return to in-person instruction, a lab safety tutorial and quiz will be given before students can operate laboratory equipment. Any student acting in an unsafe manner during a lab will be removed immediately and given a zero for the lab. During distance learning, students will be asked to collect data from their surrounding environment. Students should not disturb, harass, feed, or interfere with any animals in any way during their experiments.
Projects: Students will be given projects periodically throughout the year that focus on applying scientific skills and concepts in creative ways. Students will be given ample time to complete projects, in some cases extra class time.
Late penalties will occur for assignments turned in after the due date.
During Distance Learning, attendance will be taken at the start of every zoom “live” class. Students not in attendance will be marked absent in ALMA. Excessive absences should be avoided. In the event of an absence, the student is required to make up missed notes, classwork, and homework assignments. Students will be given sufficient time to make up the missed work, for full credit, or receive a zero for missing assignments. If the student was absent the day of a test or the day a project was due, but was present for all applicable instruction, the test/project will be taken/due the day the student returns. Any student that is absent should first check with a classmate to find out what was missed. Ask the teacher for clarification or additional questions if needed. Assignments will not be available to complete early in cases of planned absences (ie. family trip).
Need Extra Help?
If any student feels he/she needs extra help, has any questions, or needs to stay after school to make up work from an absence, they are encouraged to see me and set up a time. During Distance Learning, students can schedule a zoom conference via email.