What's in a week?

April 2021

Students have been learning about BALANCE in ecosystems as measured by biodiversity, stability of populations, and resilience of dynamic ecosystems. We've studied food chains and webs as well as the interconnectedness of a food web. We've analyzed graphs of populations fluctuating over time and looked for stability. Students are exploring the interactions among living organisms in an ecosystem such as competition between a native and invasive species for resources or predator/prey relationships. Next week students will learn about symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationships.

Week of March 1 - 5

Life Science Standard 6:  

Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy 

among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. 

Important science vocabulary includes . . . 

PRODUCERS - organisms that transform energy from the Sun

 and use carbon dioxide and water to make food

CONSUMERS - organisms that must consume other

organisms for nutrients

DECOMPOSERS - organisms such as bacteria and fungi that break down the remains of dead plants and animals without

need for internal digestion

Students will create and consider three different types of models - chains, webs, and pyramids - as they explore trophic levels and

 the cycling of matter and flow of energy.

Week of Feb 22 - 26
Greetings! Last week students wrapped up their study of water and took a short quiz for a content grade. This week, students will again see the importance of cycles in our world as they consider the carbon cycle in depth during our first science block and the cycling of matter and flow of energy during our second science block. They will learn that one of the most important elements to life on planet Earth is carbon, and all living organisms have carbon as the basis for life. During this lesson students will discover how carbon is moved into and taken out of the atmosphere. Students will read a National Geographic article  about carbon’s role in climate change.  During our second science block, students will be introduced to the flow of energy in an ecosystem as they learn about producers, consumers, and decomposers. 

Week of Feb 16 - Feb 19

This week week we finished our discussion of Watersheds. We discussed the ways that water can get cleaned by soaking through the soils of a wetland. We also learned that the chemicals we put on our farms and lawns or what drips from cars can eventually wash into our water systems. We also took a quiz this week.

Week of Feb 1 - Feb 5
Happy February!  This past week students finished and presented their water cycle projects. There were a plethora of incredible products created and shared. Building on their understanding of the water cycle, 6th graders will now consider Earth’s water supply and how water is distributed not only in the U.S. but in other countries as well as they come to understand that only a small amount of all freshwater is easily accessible by humans. Learning activities include deciphering infographics, researching Earth’s water distribution, considering what happens after they flush - eww - and delving into water scarcity through a documentary called Water for South Sudan based on the book,  A Long Walk to Water. 

Week of Jan 25 - Jan 29
Students are working on their WATER CYCLE PROJECTS this week.

Week of Jan 19- Jan 22

This week, students will continue their study of the water cycle under the realm of Earth and Space Science. The Hydrological Cycle slideshow will focus on three major questions: How does water go up?How does water come down? ~ How does water move across the surface? On Thursday and Friday, we will introduce our Project Water Cycle! choice board before giving students some project work time. This differentiated assignment will give students an excellent opportunity to highlight their learning of Earth and Space Middle School Science Standard 6. Water cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere, and is propelled by sunlight and gravity.  In addition, this project will address two of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) ~ DEVELOP AND USE MODELS as well as OBTAIN, EVALUATE, AND COMMUNICATE.

Week of Jan 11 - Jan 15
This week students we begin our large Ecology unit that will take us through the end of the year. We will make connections between Physical, Earth, and Life sciences with a digital sort called Atoms to Universe. Following that activity, we will introduce ecology ~ the study of how living things interact with one another and their environment.  Students will learn about the difference between biotic and abiotic factors in Earth’s environment. The day wraps up with a brief introduction of the 6 levels of environmental organization. We will take a closer look at this later in the quarter. On either Wednesday or Thursday, students will consider various cycles on Earth as a segway into the water cycle.  Key vocabulary for our WATER CYCLE UNIT include the following terms: EVAPORATION, TRANSPIRATION, RESPIRATION, SUBLIMATION, CONDENSATION, PRECIPITATION, RUN-OFF, AND COLLECTION. 


Remote Learning- December
We have been learning about Synthetic Materials, States of Matter, and Phase Changes. Students watched a video on "Making Stuff Colder" where they were introduced to a 5th state of matter, Bose-Einstein Condensates and the very strange ways particles behave in extreme (like really extreme) cold temps. They understand the Kinetic Molecular Theory and the ways particles move and behave at different states of matter. They will also get to experiment with some Oobleck!
Please check in with Google Classroom for the most up to date science information .
Happy Holidays and we will "see" you remote when we return.

Q2 Week 13 - 11/16- 11/20
IN-PERSON WORK: This is our final week before going remote. We will do another lab on Mon/Tues. The students will have a quick quiz on Properties of Matter on Wed/Thurs.
REMOTE WORK: Mon/Tues students will prepare for their quiz. Wed/Thurs will be watching a Bill Nye video.
NO VIRTUAL DAY FRIDAY 11/20- Teacher Work Day.

Q2 Week 11 and 12- 11/2 - 11/13 IN-PERSON WORK: This week and next we will continue to look at physical and chemical properties by doing some hand-on activities and labs. They will also learn how to measure matter. After they learn how to measure mass and volume they can calculate density. This will be helpful in identifying unknown substances.
REMOTE WORK: Students will do some practice activities using our online science textbook STEMscopes. They will also observe density.

Q2 Week 10-   10/26 - 10/30
JUNK MOLECULE DUE! Bring molecules to school- Cohort B goes first on Tuesday 10/27. Cohort A will go Wednesday 10/28. Students will do a "gallery walk" to see each others work.
Students will also learn how to describe matter using physical and chemical properties. Each pure substance (element or compounds) have unique properties that help identify which substance it is.


M/T: Finalize Junk Molecule. Students should have both parts complete before their next school day. 1) Research and 2)Physical Model.

W/R: Continue work on properties.

Q2 Week 9-   10/19 - 10/23

I hope everyone had a relaxing fall break! We’re ready to start fresh this second quarter.

On Monday/Tuesday this week students will rotate to different stations to learn and review information about atoms, molecules, pure substances, and mixtures. On Wednesday/Thursday students will observe various crystals of solids and use models of the crystals to identify individual atoms, molecules, repeating subunits, and extended structures. 

The remote work for the week includes making observations and drawing a conclusion for the water vs saltwater experiment that students started before break. Students will also research a chosen compound for their second remote work assignment. 

These activities and assignments continue to address this essential question: How can matter made of the same substances look so different and have different properties?

Week 8- 10/5-10/8

QUIZ- Mon/Tues during Team Time. Variables and Observations. They will also have to draw a molecule using the chemical formula of the given substance.
QUIZ- Wed/Thurs in class. Basics of the structure of Matter (see Pink Study Guide and notes on Google Classroom)

In class Mon/Tues we will go over Molecules, Compounds, Pure Substances, and Mixtures to prepare them for their Quiz Wed/Thurs.


2 activities this week. One will be to review for the quiz with a practice sheet on identifying molecules, compounds, elements, etc. The other activity is an experiment to prove that saltwater is a mixture.

Week 7- 9/28 - 10/2

This week we will learn the relationship between atoms, elements, molecules, compounds, and mixtures through various hands-on activities. Students will build models of molecules, analyze their chemical composition, and determine if they are pure substances.


M/T: Students will do a “Basketball Lab” for their Monday/Tuesday remote work assignment in order to review observations and variables. They will take a short quiz Friday on observations and variables. Notes on this material are posted in google classroom for students to review.

W/R: Students will also complete a study guide on the structure of matter (atoms, elements, molecules, compounds)for their Wednesday/Thursday remote work assignment to help them review for a quiz on this material the following week. The quiz will be during team time Mon/Tues Oct. 5/6th.

Week 6- 9/21 - 9/25

This week we begin our journey into MATTER!! In class M/T students will discuss what they think matter is and what it isn't. We will also cover physical properties of matter and how they are used to describe matter. This ties into their lesson on making observations from last week. At home they will watch Bill Nye explain Atoms! W/R we will look more closely at why matter can be made of the same elements but look so different. At home students will read more about the way elements combine to form every arrangement of matter in the universe! 

Week 5- 9/14 - 9/18

Students all passed their safety quizzes so that mean....it's LAB TIME! This week they will conduct their first lab. Students will learn about how to "keep track" of what they are testing in a data table. They will also learn about variables this week and how to make scientific observations (qualitative vs. quantitative). This is the beginning of real science for many of the students. The take home message is that you can TEST almost anything you are curious about. We will look at how to turn our curious questions into testable experiments. 

Week 4- 9/8 - 9/11

This week students will complete their lab safety quiz. Cohort B is on Tuesday and Cohort A takes theirs on Wednesday. Students are required to get 100% but will have multiple attempts if necessary.   This will be a content knowledge grade. The fewer attempts, the better their grade.
Remote Learning: Students will work on a written response to Bootcamp. This will also be a content knowledge grade. 
Thursday both cohorts will work on a science activity that can be done in class or at home. 

Week 3- 8/31 - 9/4
The students start the year in science with "BOOTCAMP"! We work our way through skills they will be using as scientists and in middle school. T-COPRS guides us in our activities. 
PS=Problem Solving. 
Last week students completed their Teamwork activity. They were first "tested" to see if they could remember to bring in a piece of cardboard. Most forgot (learning experience). Then they competed for the tallest tower. We all laughed as I used their instructions on how to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich for the Communication event. This week they worked on order in class and PROVED that it really was easier to remember things when they were organized by having to memorize arrangements of shapes and then draw them. They will complete their Reasoning activity with "Lost on the Moon" where they will see how their reasoning compares to NASA scientists.
We will finish this week with a collaborative Problem Solving activity called "Marble Madness". 

Looking ahead to next week- we will go over our science lab safety rules so we can start some hands-on experiments.