• 8th Grade Earth Science Concepts

    Major Course Outcomes:

    • Increase the knowledge of the history and nature of science through scientific inquiry and experimental design
    • Introduce and investigate the basic structure of matter
    • Explore astronomy, geology and meteorology

    Units/Learning Targets:

    1. Practice and Nature of Science and Engineering: students will understand that science is a way of knowing about the world through scientific inquiry using multiple skills to design and conduct investigations through current technology.  Students will also understand interactions between science, engineering and technology.  

    • Learning Target Examples: I can tell the differences between an inference and an observation. I can explain why scientific research is limited by constraints such as money, politics, and ethics. I can tell the difference between a fact and an opinion and use evidence to identify faulty reasoning.  
    • Other activities:  build a structure to withstand an earthquake and test it; research global climate changes and determine facts, opinions, and examples of faulty reasoning.

    2. Matter: students will understand the structure of matter and its characteristics, including chemical and physical changes, elements, density, mixtures and pure substances.

    • Learning Target Examples: I can find the density of an object using its mass and volume. I can explain the differences between elements and compounds in terms of atoms and molecules.  
    • Other activities:  determine if a change is physical or chemical; find the pH of different household substances; graph data from conduction lab.

    3. Astronomy: students will understand Earth's position and its interaction in the solar system and its place in the universe, including the Sun, Moon, rotation and seasons.

    • Learning Target Examples:  I can explain the sun’s size and place in the universe and compare it to other stars. I can explain how the tilt of Earth’s axis and the revolution around the Sun causes seasons.  
    • Other activities:  diagram Moon phases from a classroom model; res
    • cultures have contributed to astronomy.

    4. Geology: students will understand the patterns of change and constancy in the Earth and its history, including plate tectonics, weathering and erosion of landforms, minerals, rocks and rock layers.  

    • Learning Target Examples: I can explain how Minnesota’s landscape has been shaped by weathering, erosion, deposition, and glacial activity. I can explain the geologic events, landforms, and relative motions that occur at plate boundaries.  I can determine the relative age of sedimentary rock layers.  
    • Other activities:  identify different minerals based on their properties; create a weathering and erosion experiment using stream tables; make a poster with appropriately scaled layers of the Earth.

    5. Meteorology: students will understand the patterns of change and constancy in the Earth's atmosphere and climate, including composition and structure, wind systems and ocean currents, energy transfer, moisture content, weather patterns and predictions.  

    • Learning Target Examples: I can explain why the atmosphere has layers and identify what occurs in each layer. I can describe how oceans and ocean currents affect climate. I can describe the weather associated with low-pressure systems and high-pressure systems.  
    • Other activities:  model the water cycle; forecast the weather by charting weather data; use local weather data to graph results.

    Learning Targets for each unit will be posted in the classroom, written on each lab/activity, and discussed with students.  Students will self-evaluate their progress after each assessment and demonstrate their learning of the targets throughout the units.

    Homework updates will be posted on science teacher websites, and the daily agenda and homework will be posted in the classroom.  Students will have time each day at the beginning of class to record homework in their planners.  Absent students are expected to check what they missed online or in the classroom and see the teacher with any questions.

    Grading:  Student grades will consist of tests/quizzes/other assessments--70%; homework/class work/participation--20%; trimester final—10%

    Assessments will consist of classroom quizzes and tests.  Retakes will be available. In order to retake a quiz or test, students are required to do some “remediation” work independently.  This includes options of reading the book, more time studying, completing a study guide, meeting with the teacher for help, etc. Students need to schedule a retake time (before school, during Pathways, during study hall) and turn in their retake materials to then retake an assessment.  The trimester final cannot be retaken.