Middle School Science at St. John School
Dear middle school students and families:
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year! I’m very happy to be working with all of you, and pray that all students will have a happy, productive year, full of personal and academic growth.
All science instruction at St. John School is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the national science standards for grades k-12, which were adopted by the state of Washington. (You can find an explanation of the NGSS, along with a detailed list of all of the individual standards in grades k-12, here.)
Like the NGSS, the science curriculum at St. John is organized around three major strands:
- Science and engineering practices (processes and procedures used by scientists)
- Crosscutting concepts (ideas or habits of mind that are useful across all subject areas)
- Disciplinary core ideas (content: life science, physical science, etc.)
The science/engineering practices and the crosscutting concepts are included in all science instruction throughout the year, while the disciplinary core ideas are divided into these units:
|6th Science||7th Science||8th Science|
|Science Practices||Science Practices||Science Practices|
|Classification of organisms||Force and Motion||Nature of matter|
|Microbiology||Simple machines and engineering practices||Nature of energy|
|Earth Science||Astronomy||Cell biology/genetics|
|Weather and climate|
Each unit will take between 4-10 weeks to complete, and will include many shorter formative assessments along the way, followed by one or two summative assessments at the end of the unit.
Students will be given a list of performance expectations and a study guide at the beginning of each unit; these documents should be placed in students’ binders (in the science section) and kept until the end of the school year. The standards are organized into units in a section in the side bar of my teacher page. In addition, students should hold on to all of their old quizzes and summative assessments.
- Be respectful towards others;
- Don’t talk when you should be listening;
- Do all work assigned to you and turn it in on time;
- Clean up your own messes and help others clean up theirs.
I do not think that any students will have a hard time meeting these expectations, but if students make a poor choice, I am willing to help them choose a wiser path. Refer to the Behavior Policy guidelines (which you and your parents will need to read and sign) for more specific information.
Grades are based on the number of points students earn divided by the total possible points:
Daily homework or classroom assignments: 0.5 points
Weekly checkpoint quizzes: 5 points
Longer quizzes (not common): 20 points
End-of-unit assessments: 100 points
Summative projects: varies depending on the project (20-300 points
Turning in Assignments:
You can turn in your assignments in any of three ways:
- Handwritten or typed papers that you hand directly to me;
- Email attachment (I prefer that you send any attachments, as a Word Document or PDF, to firstname.lastname@example.org);
- Microsoft 365 shared document.
You are expected to turn in all work on time. I will give you more time with no penalty if you’ve been absent from school due to illness or family emergency. Work that is late without good reason will be accepted, with a reduced score, for up to one week after the due date.
Work must be of consistently high quality:
- It must include a complete heading which includes the assignment, the learning outcome (LO) and the School-wide Learning Expectation (SLE);
- It must be neatly written, in complete sentences in pencil, blue, or black pen, or written on a laptop or tablet.
- Your written work must provide evidence of deep thought where needed. (i.e., nearly all the time.)
- Work that involves quantitative reasoning (i.e., math) must include a neat description of how you solved the problem.
If your work does not meet grade-level standards, I will return it to you and ask you to do it again. When it is re-submitted to me, and it meets standards, you will receive full credit.
Scores/grades for the work you turn in to me will be posted on PowerSchool. I strongly suggest that both you and your parents check PowerSchool at least once a week.
Science Inquiry Projects:
All 7th and 8th graders are expected to submit a science or engineering project to me by the middle of April. In addition to designing a line of inquiry and carrying out the project, students will need to complete a background research paper, a complete, detailed lab report, and present their findings to me and their classmates. (This is similar to the science fair project, minus the actual fair.) Work on this very important project will begin in early October; you will received more detailed information at that time.
In addition, students are encouraged to participate in the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair, which will take place on March 23-24, in Bremerton, WA:
- Be persistent and strive for accuracy. It’s not always going to be easy, but you’ll be successful if you try.
- Communicate with me frequently, even if you know things are going well. If you need help, do not be afraid to ask. (I live for that sort of thing.)
- All of us will have a much better year if we always remember to be respectful towards everyone.
- Please, never show up for class unprepared. Always bring your binder, your notebook, and your science textbook.
Again, I look forward to working with you this year, and hope you have a nice time in my class.