GRADE EIGHT SCIENCE - NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
The Science Curriculum taught at Daniel Wright School reflects the recommendations of the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Daniel Wright Junior High School Science teachers rewrote the science curriculum during the 2014-2015 school year using the Next Generation Science Standards. This is the first year (2015-2016) the new units are being taught. There may be some variation between the intended curriculum, what is described here, and the implemented curriculum. Revisions may be made to the curriculum units as the unit is being taught.
To better understand the structure of the Science curriculum for the middle school (6-8) students, an explanation of four major disciplines within the field of science can be found by accessing the links below.
Science Units taught in Grade Eight include:
Weather over Time
Weather on Earth has directly impacted the development of species. Air mass movement due to the unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns in the atmosphere and ocean. These patterns directly determine changes in regional climates. Weather also can create catastrophic events that impact environments and negatively affect the survival of species. Humans collect data and ask questions to assess the factors that have impacted weather and have lead to global temperature changes over the past century in an attempt to develop ways to minimize future catastrophic weather-related events.
Changes in the environment have directly impacted species development via natural selection. Organisms that are not suited to an environment do not survive and do not pass their traits on to the next generation. Catastrophic events have altered environments and have changed entire ecosystems. Over time this leads to a change in the characteristics of the original organism as the more successful genetic traits take precedence in that organism. As humans observed this pattern in nature, the process of selectively breeding organisms for desired traits developed in agriculture and animal husbandry. By this process, humans have influenced the characteristics of many organisms that exist in the world today.
Change Through Time
Earth has shown major changes in geology and biology over its 4.6 billion year history. Evidence of these changes have been detected in the rock strata. Fossil evidence tells us about the evidence and changes in life forms over time. Throughout time, a variety of catastrophic events have nearly obliterated life on Earth. As a result of the catastrophic events, life forms have evolved and changed throughout Earth's history. Fossils give us evidence through the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms as well as fossils compared to the organisms that inhabit the planet today. When embryological development across multiple species is examined, relationships among organisms becomes apparent.
Changes in Population and Human Impact.
As humans assess how weather changes and other human activities have affected ecosystems, decisions must be made regarding ways to maintain the biodiversity of ecosystems. Human must study evidence of how physical and biological component changes affect populations in the ecosystem. The behaviors of organisms is dependent on external stimuli, which includes the changes in the environment, reduction of population due to human activity, and catastrophic events. Ways of monitoring human impact on the environment must be developed and ways to apply that knowledge to maintaining the health of the ecosystem must be implemented. In addition, ways of monitoring and controlling the impact of catastrophic events on ecosystems and human populations must be developed. In order to maintain the health of the planet, an understanding of how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources must be gained. Techniques to minimize this impact are needed.
Scientific Inquiry Method is integrated throughout the Science Curriculum.
The Science Performance Expectations for Grade Eight have been recommended by the Next Generation Science Standards, a collaborative group of over 20 states, including Illinois.