Science

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    Science


    High expectations in education are essential for the U.S. to continue as a world leader in the 21stcentury. In order to be successful in postsecondary education, the workforce, and in life, students need a rigorous, age-appropriate set of standards that include finding and gathering information, critical thinking, and reasoning skills to evaluate information, and use information in social and cultural contexts. Students must learn to comprehend and process information, analyze and draw conclusions, and apply the results to everyday life. 
     
    Science is both a body of knowledge that represents the current understanding of natural systems, and the process whereby that body of knowledge has been established and is continually extended, refined, and revised. Because science is both the knowledge of the natural world and the processes that have established this knowledge, science education must address both of these aspects.
     
    The curriculum at each grade level is aligned with the Cherry Creek School District Middle School Curriculum and the Colorado Academic Standards with an emphasis on the NGSS Science Practices and the implementation of STEM.
     
    Grade Level Expectations:
     
    Physical Science
     
        All matter is made of atoms, which are far too small to see directly through a light microscope. Elements have unique atoms and thus, unique properties. Atoms themselves are made of even smaller particles.
     
        Atoms may stick together in well-defined molecules or be packed together in large arrangements. Different arrangements of atoms into groups compose all substances
     
        The physical characteristics and changes of solid, liquid, and gas states can be explained using the particulate model
     
     
       Distinguish among, explain, and apply the relationships among mass, weight, volume, and density
     
       Mixtures of substances can be separated based on their properties such as solubility, boiling points, magnetic properties, and densities.
     
       Identify and calculate the direction and magnitude of forces that act on an object, and explain the results in the object’s change of motion
     
       There are different forms of energy, and those forms of energy can be changed from one form to another – but total energy is conserved
     
       Distinguish between physical and chemical changes, noting that mass is conserved during any change
     
       Recognize that waves such as electromagnetic, sound, seismic, and water have common characteristics and unique properties
     
    Life Science
     
       Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms, populations, and entire species
     
       Organisms interact with each other and their environment in various ways that create a flow of energy and cycling of matter in an ecosystem
     
       Individual organisms with certain traits are more likely than others to survive and have offspring in a specific environment
     
       The human body is composed of atoms, molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that have specific functions and interactions
     
       Cells are the smallest unit of life that can function independently and perform all the necessary functions of life
     
       Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important processes by which energy is acquired and utilized by organisms
     
       Multiple lines of evidence show the evolution of organisms over geologic time
     
     
       Human activities can deliberately or inadvertently alter ecosystems and their resiliency
     
       Organisms reproduce and transmit genetic information (genes) to offspring, which influences individuals’ traits in the next generation
     
    Earth Systems Science
     
       Complex interrelationships exist between Earth’s structure and natural processes that over time are both constructive and destructive
     
       Water on Earth is distributed and circulated through oceans, glaciers, rivers, ground water, and the atmosphere
     
       Earth’s natural resources provide the foundation for human society’s physical needs. Many natural resources are nonrenewable on human timescales, while others can be renewed or recycled.
     
       Major geologic events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, mid-ocean ridges, and mountain formation are associated with plate boundaries and attributed to plate motions
     
       Geologic time, history, and changing life forms are indicated by fossils and successive sedimentation, folding, faulting, and uplifting of layers of sedimentary rock
     
       Weather is a result of complex interactions of Earth's atmosphere, land and water that are driven by energy from the sun, and can be predicted and described through complex models
     
       Earth has a variety of climates defined by average temperature, precipitation, humidity, air pressure, and wind that have changed over time in a particular location
     
       The solar system is comprised of various objects that orbit the Sun and are classified based on their characteristics
     
       The relative positions and motions of Earth, Moon, and Sun can be used to explain observable effects such as seasons, eclipses, and Moon phases
     
     
    21stCentury Skills and Readiness Competencies
     
       Inquiry Questions
    Sample questions are intended to promote deeper thinking, reflection and refined understandings precisely related to the grade level expectation
     
       Relevance and Application
    Examples of how the grade level expectation is applied at home, on the job or in a real-world, relevant context
     
       Nature of the Discipline
    The characteristics and viewpoint one keeps as a result of mastering the grade level expectation
     
    NGSS Science Practices
     
       Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
     
       Developing and using models
     
       Planning and carrying out investigations
     
       Analyzing and interpreting data
     
       Using mathematics and computational thinking
     
       Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
     
       Engaging in argument from evidence
     
        Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information