Week of August 31:


Middle School Science at St. John School

Mr. Tice

egg drop

Dear middle school students and families:

Welcome to the 2015-2016 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.


General Information: 

 All science instruction at St. John School is based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which were adopted by the state of Washington in September of 2013. (You can find an explanation of the NGSS here, along with a detailed list of all of the individual standards at grades K-12: NGSS)


Like the NGSS, the science curriculum at St. John is organized around three major strands:

  1. Science and engineering practices (processes and procedures used by scientists)
  2. Crosscutting concepts (ideas that are useful across all areas of science)
  3. Disciplinary core ideas (traditional 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 PracticesScience 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
Environmental science Evolution
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. In addition, students should hold on to all of their old quizzes and summative assessments.



Behavior Expectations:

  • Be respectful towards everyone;
  • 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 I am happy help out with some of these if it becomes necessary.



Grades are awarded according to a point system. The number of points you earn depends on the type of assignment:

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)


Final grades are calculated by dividing the number of points you earn in a trimester by the number of points possible.


Turning in Assignments:

You can turn in your assignments in one of three ways:

  1. Handwritten or typed papers that you hand directly to me;
  2. Email (I prefer that you send any attachments to sv******@gm***.com);
  3. Google Docs, if you have a Google account. (Do not set up a Google account without your parents’ permission.)


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 slightly reduced score, for up to one week after the due date.


Work must be of consistently high quality:

  1. It must include a complete heading which includes the learning outcome (LO) and School-wide Learning Expectation (SLE);
  2. It must be neatly written, in complete sentences in pencil, blue, or black pen, or typed on a laptop or tablet.
  3. Your written work must provide evidence of deep thought where needed.


If your work does not meet standards, I will return it to you and ask you to do it again. When it is re-submitted to me, you will receive full credit.

Scores for all 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 Fair:

All 7th and 8th graders are expected to submit a project for the St. John Science and Engineering Fair, which will take place on Thursday, April 7, 2016. Work on this very important project will begin in 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 April 1 & 2, 2016:

WA State Science Fair


Final Thoughts:

  1. Be persistent and strive for accuracy. It’s not always going to be easy, but you’ll be successful if you try.
  2. Communicate with me frequently, even if you know things are going well.
  3. All of us, especially you and your classmates, will have a much better year if you always remember to be respectful towards everyone.
  4. Please, never show up for class unprepared. Always bring your binder, your notebook, and your science textbook.


God bless,

Mr. Tice