8th Grade Science
Course Description: Students will be investigating a number of topics including geology and Earth’s processes, the nature of elements, compounds, mixtures and chemical reactions, genetics and heredity, as well as reviewing for the cumulative MAP test they will take this spring.
Methods of Instruction: This class will utilize a variety of methods which include scientific inquiry, class discussion, hands-on learning, outdoor activities, individual and group projects, problem solving, research, presentations, labs, note taking, and cooperative learning. There will be an emphasis on gaining vocabulary, asking questions, and developing innovative ideas.
Structure of the Class:
Each day, the class will generally follow this structure:
- Complete and discuss Do Now (10 minutes)
- Mini-lesson – this can take several forms including teaching a new concept, reviewing an old one, or discussing the progress on an on-going project or activity. (10-25 minutes)
- Independent work time – students will work on their own or in small groups. (25-45 minutes)
- Clean-up (5 minutes)
- Brief recap and Exit Question (5 minutes)
Generally, this is what our weekly schedule will look like. It is, of course, subject to change as the need arises.
Monday – Introduce new concept, generate questions, and set the goal for the week
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday – carry out lab(s) and/or activities related to the week’s theme
Friday – tie up loose ends and complete an assessment (this could be a mini-quiz, a full-on test, or anything in between)
Students will be able to:
- Develop their inquiry skills by:
- observing, asking questions, and performing tests
- Drawing logical conclusions and supporting them with evidence
- Investigate geologic resources and processes, such as:
- Rocks, minerals, fossils, and landforms
- Processes that shape the surface of Earth
- Earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis
- Explore matter and its interactions by:
- Differentiating between elements, compound, and mixtures
- Examining the similarities and differences between the 3 main states of matter
- Investigating chemical reactions and other ways that substances can change
- Develop an understanding of various cellular process, such as:
- Energy use and production (photosynthesis)
- Heredity and reproduction
- Adaptations and changes over time
- Prepare for the MAP test by reviewing key concepts from 6th and 7th grade science
Movement and Groupings
Unless otherwise stated, you are expected to be in you assigned seat working independently. When it is time to collaborate with classmates or work in groups we will do it in one of three ways, you will mostly work with the other students seated in your area. Occasionally, random groups will be formed by either counting off or drawing names.
Within the groups, you will have jobs. The jobs include:
- Task Manager – this person is responsible for making sure the group stays on task and follows the directions for the activity.
- Materials Manager – this person is responsible for obtaining the necessary supplies, making sure they are used correctly, and oversees their safe cleanup and return.
- Records Manager – this person makes sure that all necessary information is collected and written down. In cases where all group members are required to turn in individual work (like a formal lab write-up), the recorder would write down all the data during the lab, then share it with the other members so that they may complete the post-lab and conclusion.
Like scientists in the field, the vast majority of your work will be in your Science Notebook. Maintaining this notebook is central to the class and will play a major role in your total grade. In-class assignments and homework should be completed on time, and to the best of your ability. Assignments will take a variety of forms including reading articles, written reflections, graphic organizers, modeling, lab reports, making observations, and forming conclusions.
Redos, Retakes, and Corrections
The goal of school is to learn new content and/or skills, even if it takes a few tries. This means we sometimes need to try again. Assignments requiring a redo will have “REDO” written next to the grade.
- Notes/Simple Classwork – complete and/or correct for up to 75% of total credit.
- Tests/Quizzes – in most cases, retakes will be possible for at least a portion of the quiz or test.
- Lab write-ups, constructed essays, and other activities – Redo for partial credit
Each quarter you can earn up to 40 points extra credit by completing Curiosity Questions. A Curiosity Questions is essentially a short research paper on a topic of your choice. They are worth 10 points each, and you may complete up to four. Place completed Curiosity Questions in the Turn-In Bin any time prior to the last week of the quarter. A detailed scoring guide is posted on my webpage.
Absences and Missed Assignments:
You are expected to be in class on time every day. If an absence is unavoidable, you are responsible for any and all missing work and will be given the opportunity to make up the work. Upon returning, check Ms. Rice’s science notebook located on the lab bench in order to get the missed assignments. You will have the same number of days you were absent to make up the work. For example, a student absent 2 days will have 2 days to turn in the missed assignments.
Projects/Tests/ Quizzes: Some quizzes and tests are open-note. This is because it is more important for you to be able to use the material than it for you to memorize it. Like real-life, the questions are harder, but you have resources to help. Additionally, you will complete projects within each unit covered, both in groups and individually.
Quarterly grades will break down as follows:
Tests & Quizzes
Projects & Full Labs
It is the goal at Compton-Drew that all students achieve an 80% or better in each of their classes. In order to accomplish this, students should come prepared and ready to learn, be responsible for all his/her own work, and behave with respect.
Homework will be geared towards strengthening our scientific vocabulary. The students will be responsible for at least one vocabulary word per night (Monday through Thursday), and all words for the week will be posted on Monday. Assignments will include activities such as picture definitions, compare & contrasts, and other vocabulary practice. All homework for the week is due by Friday and late homework will not be accepted. However, homework can be turned in early for extra credit.
Written Assignments and Academic Misconduct: All written work submitted must be the student’s original work and conform to the guidelines provided by the teacher. This means that any substantive ideas, phrases, sentences, and/or any published ideas must be properly referenced to avoid even the appearance of plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to know all relevant school policies concerning plagiarism. Any documented cases of plagiarism can and will result in a failing grade.