Our middle school science program helps students develop a solid foundation in scientific concepts while growing to be complex thinkers and self-directed learners. Students also practice the skills needed in the laboratory and in the world to be excellent scientists.
Characteristics of Science at Concordia
- Students engage deeply in inquiry and creative problem solving
- Hands-on experimentation and data collection are integrated through the units
- Students use technology to learn and to share their learning
- Students explore the interdisciplinary and cross-curriculum connections embedded in real-world problems
- Students develop their technical literacy as they read, write and present
These skills equip students to collect and process scientific information necessary to investigate and understand their world. All Concordia science courses align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts. This integration of rigorous content and application reflects how science and engineering are practiced in the real world.
Concordia Science Students are
Science in Grade 5 is an integrated course composed of three units of study. Each unit of study is designed using a three-dimensional approach in which disciplinary content is taught in context with both scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts.
In the first unit of Grade 5 Science, students build an understanding of the systems and resources essential to life on Earth. Emphasis is placed on the interactions that exist between Earth systems such as the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. At the completion of this unit, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in using models to describe phenomena, use mathematical and computational thinking as well as obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.
The second unit of Grade 5 Science uses the engineering design cycle to build students’ capabilities as problem solvers. Using LEGO EV3 Robotics, students develop basic programming and building skills as they complete a checklist of basic tasks. Real-world applications of robotics and engineering design are studied in preparation for the student’s own design challenge. As a culminating task, students work in collaborative teams to design, build and program their robot to successfully complete a challenge modeled on a real world scenario.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
The third unit of Grade 5 Science explores Earth’s position in the universe and the interactions that result from the patterns and universal laws we experience. Students hone their skills of data analysis and interpretation, constructing models to explain scientific principles, and evidence based arguments as they develop answers to questions such as: What causes shadows to change size?, Why does the moon’s shape change?, and Why aren’t hours of day and night always the same?.
Science in Grade 6 is an integrated course composed of four units of study. Each unit of study is designed using a three-dimensional approach in which disciplinary content is taught in context with both scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts.
Molecules to Systems
In the first unit of Grade 6, students begin by exploring how cells form the basic building blocks of all living organisms. The connection is then made to cellular specialization, which allows for the formation of interacting organs, organ systems, and finally an organism. Students will apply the skills of scale, proportion, and quantity in order to better understand the size and function of various cells.
Matter and Its Interactions
In the second unit of Grade 6 Science, students will start to explore the basic concepts of chemistry. Students will begin with discussions and investigations that will address questions such as What is matter?, What is matter made of?, and What are the different types of matter?. After establishing this foundation, students will learn how to describe matter using quantitative and qualitative observations related to the physical and chemical properties of a substance. This unit will conclude with exploring physical and chemical changes through the use of scientific investigations.
Waves and Their Applications
Unit 3 serves as the bridge between the physical science unit and our earth science unit. In Unit 3, students will develop models that describe the properties of both transverse and longitudinal waves. Students will then conduct a project based learning activity to study the application of sound waves to concepts such as frequency/pitch and amplitude/volume.
In the final Unit of Grade 6 science, students will explore the history of planet earth and the geoscience processes that still continue to shape our planet. Students will construct models to demonstrate the plate tectonics and large-scale system interactions such as the effect of seismic waves on building structures. Furthermore, students will make interdisciplinary connections to demonstrate that the earth is a recycling system through the study of the rock cycle and its connection to plate tectonics.
Science in Grade 7 is a life science course composed of three units of study. Each unit of study is designed using a three-dimensional approach in which disciplinary content is taught in context with both scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts.
Thinking Like a Scientist
Students explore the nature of scientific inquiry and develop an understanding of science as an exploratory enterprise. Students begin to investigate the scientific and engineering enterprise and gain an awareness of current shifts underway in both focus and method.
Students will study the nature of experimentation and its relationship to problem solving. Emphasis will be placed on experimental procedures and engineering design: (a) variables, (b) hypothesis, (c) data collection, and (d) communication of results. Students will explore what makes knowledge "scientific". Students perform independent science and engineering investigations and showcase their projects in a science expo at the end of the unit.
Reproduction in Living Things
In this unit students explore asexual and sexual reproduction with a focus on the biological processes. Students examine the similarities and differences in asexual and sexual reproduction in a range of living organisms including the structures and processes of human reproduction.
Students investigate animal behaviors that increase the odds of reproduction and a variety of reproductive strategies used by plants. In addition, they identify the impact of animal behavior on plant reproduction. Students discover that genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of an organism.
Diversity of Life and Ecology
In this unit, students explore the relationships between biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem. This includes key cycles (nitrogen & carbon), energy transfer in food webs, and human impact on ecosystems. Students investigate ways to organize living organisms into groups based on structural and functional characteristics and explore the ways in which living organisms respond and adapt to their environment. Students research and analyze current scientific data from a range of fields to build an understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change. The concepts of system complexity and recycling of energy and matter are highlighted. Emphasis is placed upon cause and effect and change.
Science in Grade 8 is a life science course composed of three units of study. Each unit of study is designed using a three-dimensional approach in which disciplinary content is taught in context with both scientific and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts.
Science as a Process
In this brief introductory unit of Grade 8 science students practice and refine scientific skills while planning investigations and designing engineering solutions. Proficiency in these areas early in the course equips students to successfully apply these foundational skills in other units.
Forces and Interactions
The second unit of Grade 8 science focuses on helping students understand ideas related to why some objects will keep moving, why objects fall to the ground and why some materials are attracted to each other while others are not. Students answer the question, “How can one describe physical interactions between objects and within systems of objects?"
Students test ideas about motion, gravity and forces through an investigation of rocketry. As they design, construct and test a load-carrying rocket, students apply Newton's Third Law of Motion to explain the motion of objects. The scientific practices of asking questions, designing solutions, and engaging in argument are emphasized in this unit of study.
During the month of January, all Grade 8 students participate in an interdisciplinary project in Humanities, Math and Science. Students select a topic of personal interest and explore it in depth.
The Energy unit helps students formulate an answer to the question, “How can energy be transferred from one object or system to another?”
Emphasis is placed on understanding important qualitative ideas about energy transfer and conservation of energy, that objects may have kinetic or potential energy dependent on their position, as well as key differences between energy and temperature. Culminating tasks allow students to hone their skills in scientific modeling and apply their understanding of energy to create roller coasters and Rube Goldberg machines.
Matter and Its Interactions
The performance expectations in Matter and Its Interactions help students formulate an answer to the question, "How do atomic and molecular interactions explain the properties of matter that we see and feel?" by building understanding of what occurs at the atomic and molecular scale.
By the end of this unit, students will be able to describe simple atomic structure, use the patterns found in the periodic table to predict atom interactions, provide molecular-level accounts to explain that chemical reactions involve regrouping of atoms to form new substances, and apply this understanding to write balanced chemical equations. Emphasis is placed on the scientific practices of planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information.
We believe in our obligation to help students become Active Global Citizens and, as a result, develop the relevance of science outside of the classroom is a major objective of our curriculum.