The first semester seventh grade science curriculum begins with a brief neuroscience unit, dives deep into the realm of astronomy and ends with a study of water and its physical and chemical characteristics. Water’s properties naturally lead into physical science and chemistry for the second semester. Students conduct regular labs, inquiry based investigations, and deeply explore and apply their scientific knowledge throughout the course.
During the introductory neuroscience unit, the students explore Brain Rules, specifically the sections pertaining to sleep, stress, and study habits. This helps students understand the importance of structured study time, time and stress management, and the need for sleep.
Students begin the astronomy unit studying the lives of stars and the how scientists observe space. The class builds small telescopes and visit the VLBA (Very Long Baseline Array) telescope in Eastern Washington. As students progress, they choose independent topics of inquiry, write a research paper, and use spectrometers, flame tests, and spectrum tubes to explore the connection between elements in stars and the elements here on our planet and determine the composition of objects from such a distance.
The second semester curriculum establishes the foundation for physical science and chemistry and continues to build experimental design skills. Students conduct regular labs and/or inquiry based investigations to explore topics. A unique project allows students to explore ceramics and ceramic glazes. The class makes glazes from raw materials, and links tessellation tile patterns and chemistry calculations to the glazes and firing process they encounter.
As the course concludes, the biological sciences come into the picture with a short unit on biochemistry and nutrition which leads them into their eighth grade biology class. STEM Day in May allows the students to showcase a project from this class or another that focused on science, technology, engineering and math for the greater school community.
Science Explorer Series – Physical Science, Prentice Hall 2007
Introductory Chemistry, Nivaldo J. Tro. Pearson, 2009.
Science Explorer Series – Earth Science, Prentice Hall 2007
Brain Rules by John Medina, Pear Press 2008