Throughout the school year we will be using the skills and processes employed by scientists to investigate the following science concepts:
Natural Resources and Human NeedsEnvironmental IssuesAstronomy
Wave Interactions
Electricity and Magnetism
Plate TectonicsMaterials and Processes That Shape a Planet and Earth HistoryPhysical and Chemical ChangesSTEM Standards of PracticeEnglish Language Arts Standards - Science and Technical Subjects - Grade 6-8

Plate Tectonics
1. Recognize and describe the internal and external structure of the Earth.

a. Recognize and describe that the Earth's mantle
• Lies between the core and the crust
• Is very hot
• Has properties of both solids and liquid
b. Recognize and describe that the Earth's core
• Is at the center of the Earth
• Is very hot
• Is dense and metallic
c. Identify and describe the Earth's crust.
• The solid crust consists of separate plates
• The plates constantly move in different directions due to convection currents
• The plates interact with one another as a result of plate motion.

2. Recognize and explain how major geologic events are a result of the movement of Earth's crustal plates.

a. Recognize and describe the evidence for plate movement.
• Shape of continents
• Continuity of geologic features and fossils on the continents
• Ocean rifts, seafloor spreading
• Global patterns of earthquakes and volcanoes
b. Recognize and explain that major geologic events (earthquakes, volcanic activity, sea floor spreading) occur along crustal plate boundaries.


Materials and Processes That Shape a Planet and Earth History
2. Cite evidence to demonstrate and explain that physical weathering and chemical weathering cause changes to Earth materials.

a. Identify examples of physical weathering, such as the effect of wind, ice, etc. and describe the changes caused in each.
b. Describe the changes in materials caused by each of the chemical weathering processes listed:
• Rusting/tarnishing
• Dissolving by acid rain
c. Compare physical and chemical weathering and provide examples if changes caused in Earth materials or features by each of these processes.

4. Differentiate among sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks based upon the processes by which they are formed.

a. Identify and describe the processes that form sedimentary rock.
• Deposition
• Compaction
• Cementation
b. Identify and describe the processes that form igneous rocks.
• Volcanic eruptions
• Igneous intrusions
c. Identify and describe the processes that form metamorphic rocks.
• High Temperature
• Pressure
d. Cite features that can be used as evidence to distinguish among the three types of rocks and relate these features to the processes that form each rock type.
e. Describe the processes that change one form of rock into another (rock cycle).

B. Earth History
1. Explain how sedimentary rock is formed periodically, embedding plant and animal remains and leaving a record of the sequence in which the plants and animals appeared and disappeared.

a. Explain how sedimentary rock buried deep enough may be reformed by pressure and heat and these re-formed rock layers may be forced up again (uplift) to become land surface and even mountains.
b. Cite evidence to confirm that thousands of layers of sedimentary rock reveal the long history of the changing surface of the Earth.
c. Explain why some fossils found in the top layers of sedimentary rock are older then those found beneath in lower layers.
• Breaking
• Uplift
• Faulting
• Tilting

2. Recognize and explain that fossils found in layers of sedimentary rock provide evidence of changing life forms.

a. Recognize how different types of fossils are formed, such as petrified remains, imprints, molds and casts.
b. Recognize and explain that the fossil record of plants and animals describes changes in life forms over time.


1. Recognize that objects of our solar system are interrelated.

a. Recognize that Earth and its closest star, the sun, are part of a disk-shape galaxy of stars and that our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies.
b. Construct models with accurate scale that represent the position of the Earth relative to the sun and to other planets.
c. Identify and describe the general pattern of movement of all objects in our solar system.
d. Recognize that the pull of gravity causes the pattern of motion of celestial objects.


Wave Interactions

1. Identify and describe the relationships among the various properties of waves.

a. Cite examples to show that waves transfer energy from one place to another.
• Light
• Sound
• Earthquake waves
b. Measure and describe the wavelength, frequency, and amplitude of waves using:
• Water
• Ropes
• Springs
c. Measure and describe the relationship between the frequency and the wavelength of a wave.

2. Provide evidence to demonstrate the relationship among the properties of waves using sound.

a. Investigate and describe that the pitch of sounds can be varied by changing the rate of vibration.
b. Identify and describe the relationship among frequency, wavelength, and pitch.
c. Observe and describe the relationship between amplitude and loudness.
d. Cite evidence that sound waves transfer energy using observation of sympathetic tuning forks, tuned guitar strings, etc.

3. Investigate and cite the rules that govern behaviors of light.

a. Based on data generalize the law of reflection.
b. Cite evidence from observations and research to support the fact that something can be "seen" when light waves emitted or reflected by it enter the eye.
c. Based on observations predict the change in the direction (refraction) of light as it travels from one material to another.
d. Cite evidence that the amount of light energy absorbed or reflected depends on the color of the object illuminated.


Electricity and Magnetism
2. Cite evidence supporting that electrical energy can be produced from a variety of energy sources and can itself be transformed into almost any other form of energy.

a. Research and identify various energy sources and the energy transforming devices used to produce electrical energy
• Wind (generators, wind mills)
• Sun (solar cells)
• Water (turbines)
• Fossil fuels (engines)
b. Cite examples that demonstrate the transformation of electrical energy into other forms of energy.
c. Investigate and describe that some materials allow the quick, convenient, and safe transfer of electricity (conductors), while others prevent the transfer of electricity (insulators).
d. Identify and describe the energy transformations in simple electric circuits.

3. Identify and describe magnetic fields and their relationship to electric current.

1. Investigate and describe the magnetic fields surrounding various types of magnets using materials, such as iron filings and small comapasses.
• A single bar magnet
• Two bar magnets with like poles facing
• Two bar magnets with opposite poles facing
• A horseshoe magnet
2. Investigate and explain ways to change the strength of a simple electromagnet by varying the number of coils wrapped, the amount of electricity in the wire, the number of batteries used, and whether or not an iron core is used.
3. Describe how the electromagnet demonstrates the relationship of magnetism and electricity and identify common devices that demonstrate application of this relationship.
• Electric motors (fans, hair dryers, can openers)
• Electrical generators (turbine)
4. Based on investigations describe that electricity moving through a wire produces a magnetic force on materials placed near the wire.
• Iron filings
• Compasses


1. Give reasons supporting the fact that the number of organisms an environment can support depends on the physical conditions and resources available.

a. Explain that populations increase or decrease relative to the availability of resources and the conditions of the environment.
b. Identify and describe factors that could limit populations within any environment, such as disease, introduction of a nonnative species, depletion of resources, etc.
c. Explain that within any environment organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for resources.
d. Cite examples to illustrate that competition is reduced when organisms use different sets of resources, such as birds in a forest eat different kinds and sizes of seeds.


1. Explain that in any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms and species depend on the physical conditions.

a. Cite examples and describe that small differences between parents and offspring can accumulate (through selective breeding) in successive generations so that descendants are very different from their ancestors.
b. Explain that in all environments-freshwater, marine, forest, desert, grassland, mountain, and others-organisms with similar needs may compete with one another for resources, including food, space, water, air, and shelter.
c. Explain that in any particular environment individual organisms with certain traits are more likely than others to survive and have offspring.
d. Explain, with examples, ways that people control some characteristics of plants and animals they raise by selective breeding.
e. Describe ways in which changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
f. Describe how sediments of sand and smaller particles (sometimes containing the remains of organisms) are gradually buried and are cemented together by dissolved minerals to form solid rock; and describe that such fossils provide evidence for the long history of changing life forms whose remains are found in the rocks.
g. Explain that the more recently deposited rock layers are likely to contain fossils resembling existing species.


Natural Resources and Human Needs
1. Recognize and compare how different parts of the world have varying amounts and types of natural resources and how the use of those resources impacts environmental quality.

a. Identify and describe natural resources as
• Land
• Fossil Fuels
• Forests
• Water
• Wind
• Minerals
• Wildlife
b. Identify and describe the distribution of natural resources around the Earth
c. Identify and describe how the natural change processes may be affected by human activities.
• Agriculture
• Beach Preservation
• Mining
• Development/construction
• Stream/river alteration
d. Identify and describe problems associated with obtaining, using, and distributing natural resources.
e. Identify possible solutions to problems associated with obtaining, using, and distributing natural resources.


Environmental Issues
1. Recognize and explain that human-caused changes have consequences for Maryland's environment as well as for other places and future times.
a. Identify and describe a range of local issues that have an impact on people in other places.
b. Recognize and describe how environmental change in one part of the world can have consequences for other parts of the world.
c. Identify and describe that ecosystems can be impacted by human activities.
• Protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
• Resource acquisition and use
• Land use decisions (agriculture, mining, and development)
• Recycling
• Use and disposal of toxic substances


Physical and Chemical Changes
C. States of Matter

1. Provide evidence and examples illustrating that many substances can exist as a solid, liquid, or gas depending on temperature.

a. Use evidence from investigations to describe the effect that adding heat energy to different types of matter has on changing matter from one state to another.
b. Based on data from investigations describe the effect that removing heat energy from different types of matter has on changing matter from one state to another.
c. Analyze data gathered and formulate a conclusion on the effects of temperature change on most substances.

D. Physical and Chemical Changes

1. Cite evidence to support the fact that some substances can be separated into the original substances from which they were made.

a. Investigate and identify ways to describe and classify mixtures using the observable and measurable properties of their components.
• Magnetism
• Boiling Point
• Solubility in water
b. Based on data gathered, identify and describe various processes used to separate mixtures.
• Filtration
• Evaporation
• Paper Chromatography
c. Use data gathered to provide a reasonable explanation for the idea that the mass of a mixture is equal to the sum of the masses of its components.


STEM Standards of Practice
The titles of the seven STEM Standards of Practice are:
  1. Learn and Apply Rigorous Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Content
  2. Integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Content
  3. Interpret and Communicate STEM Information
  4. Engage in Inquiry
  5. Engage in Logical Reasoning
  6. Collaborate as a STEM Team
  7. Apply Technology Appropriately

For more about the STEM Standards of Practice visit this site by the Maryland State Department of Education.

English Language Arts Standards - Science and Technical Subjects - Grade 6-8

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant togrades 6–8 texts and topics.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.5 Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to an understanding of the topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.6 Analyze the author’s purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.8 Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.9 Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Assessment Schedule for 2012-13

Unit 1
12 days
Introduction to Skills and Processes/ Constructing Knowledge
BM Assessment #1
Unit 2
14 days
BM Assessment #2
13 days
Unit 3
`9 days
Natural Resources and
Human Needs
BM Assessment #3
15 days
Environmental Issues
Unit 4
12 days
BM Assessment #4
Unit 5
13 days
Wave Interactions
BM Assessment #5

5 days
NorthBay Environmental Center
1/27 – 1/31

Unit 6
18 days
Electricity and Magnetism
BM Assessment #6
Unit 7
25 days
Plate Tectonics
BM Assessment #7
Unit 8
24 days
Materials and Processes That Shape a Planet and Earth History
BM Assessment #8
Unit 9
13 days
Physical and Chemical Changes
5/14 – 6/3
BM Assessment #9