In science class at McAuliffe, we use inquiry-based instruction so that students are doing science and developing content knowledge alongside the experimental design, investigation, problem solving, and reasoning and reflection skills necessary to be strong scientists.
Review the IB MYP Sciences brief here.
In Sixth Grade Earth Science, students work as teams to conduct experiments, explore questions, solve problems, evaluate their progress, share solutions and debate scientific issues. Students start the year with an exploration of what it means to be a scientist and do science. Next, we delve into Earth’s geology, the rock cycle, and plate tectonics. Students study Earth’s closest celestial neighbors in our third unit on the sun, moon, and planets in our solar system. We return to Earth with a look at the features that make Earth distinct from its planetary compatriots, including the atmosphere and presence of water. Students then study how water and atmosphere combine to make weather and how long-term weather patterns form the climates of Earth. Sixth graders end the year with a capstone project in which they investigate relationships between Earth and its human inhabitants.
In 7th grade Life Science, we begin the year by learning how scientists study people and how we can use knowledge of body systems to make healthy lifestyle choices. Then we zoom in to microbiology and study cells, viruses, and genetics before heading back out to larger scale ecosystems, evolution, and bioengineering. Throughout the year, students work in teams and independently to find their unique strengths and interests in science as we design our own projects and labs and work on challenges that appeal to multiple learning styles.
In 8th Grade Physical Science, we will continue to develop students’ scientific inquiry skills through creating and developing models, designing scientific investigations, and constructing explanations based on evidence. We will cover physics and chemistry standards with topics such as energy, force and motion, waves and technology, and matter and interactions. Long-term projects that embed engineering practices such as solar ovens, electric cars, water filters, and bottle rockets will be in corporated throughout the units. Students will engage in independent and group work activities and will finish the year with a student-designed capstone experiment. Students will be expected to participate in scientific argumentation verbally and in writing and be able to base their arguments off evidence collected in class or by other scientists. Eighth grade science students will also take the Science Colorado Measure of Academic Success in the spring, which covers science from all three disciplines (Earth, Life, and Physical).