My Body and Me
Students investigate the various methods of scientific problem solving and compare it to a historical experimental design in terms of evidence and trade offs. Students learn about the major organs and systems in the human body and their functions. Students examine the relationship between structure and function Students critically evaluate information in order to make ethical and life style decisions.
Students investigate the relationship between decreasing the amount of effort force that a simple machine must supply and the trade-off that the user must exert this force over a larger distance.
Force and Motion
Students investigate forces and how they affect motion Motion is first investigated both quantitatively and qualitatively. The most common forces that affect motion are identified and analyzed including how these forces combine to produce an overall effect on the motion of an object.
After a review of simple circuits, students are guided to an understanding of series and parallel circuits from an energy perspective. Students are expected to demonstrate their understanding through constructing circuits and explaining how energy moves and changes form in the circuit. The unit also introduces the particle model, by identifying charged particles and moving particles, e.g. charges moving through a circuit.
The study of Earth’s history enables people to use observations of present processes to infer past history of the Earth. The study of individual rock types, formations, sequences, and use of index fossils allows us to use the relative geologic time scale to understand vast amounts of time and the changes that have taken place in Earth’s history.
Diversity of Life
Students explore the commonalities among all life forms and determine what it means to be “alive.” Students also investigate the micro-world and realize that life is diverse, ranging from the tiniest of cells to the largest multi-cellular life forms. Students are introduced to the basic concept of cellular metabolism and resource acquisition.
Our Genes, Ourselves
Students research and investigate genetics, genes, traits and heredity using data collected from various activities throughout the unit. Students use Punnett squares and pedigrees to analyze patterns of inheritance. The advantages and disadvantages of sexual and asexual reproduction are addressed. Students will be presented with real life genetic disorders through readings and videos and make decisions that model real life situations. DNA fingerprinting and blood typing are also introduced and used in a mock investigation to identify children separated from their parents as a result of war.
Properties of Matter
Students examine characteristic properties including density, solubility, and melting and boiling points. The particle model is utilized to illustrate how materials behave under different
conditions (changes in temperature and pressure). The link is made between the increase/decrease of energy and the behavior of the materials.
Students explore how water is used, where it is found, and the role of water in the Earth system, and how a safe and useable water supply can be ensured. Students are introduced to understanding the importance of protecting Delaware watersheds.
Transformation of Energy
By following the flow of energy through natural phenomena, students will gain a better appreciation of how interconnected many natural processes are. Energy concepts will help students understand why things happen, and enable them to make predictions about natural phenomena. Students will learn more about the properties of kinetic energy, heat energy, and electromagnetic waves, as well as the big ideas of energy transfer and energy transformation
The Weather unit explores how the Earth’s heat energy is used to explain many weather occurrences. Students collect daily weather data, observe satellite imagery, frontal systems, high and low pressure regions and use this information to make short term and long term weather forecasts. Students study hurricanes, tornadoes, nor’easters and thunderstorms and see how they transfer heat energy from one region to another.
The Planetary Systems unit focuses on observable, predictable patterns of movement in the Sun, Earth, Moon system including Moon phases, Sunrise and Sunset, rotation and revolution, seasons and day/night. Students collect data on Moon phases, Sunrise and Sunset and tides and use this data to observe visible patterns caused by the motion of the Sun, Moon and Earth. Modeling, analyzing data and researching data from the internet are some methods used to effectively teach this unit.
The horseshoe crab/shorebird connection is used as a real world model to focus on the
global nature of ecosystems. Students learn to observe, sample, and record their observations in a local environment and learn how the local populations effect global populations. Different sampling techniques are utilized and the interactions and effects of a variety of biotic and abiotic factors are investigated. The effects of biological adaptations are studied. Limiting factors are recognized while resultant population fluctuations are recorded. The interaction of light (and light quality) on specific plant structures is shown to effect photosynthesis.