A variety of topics will be covered this year based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Students will learn how cells, people, and Earth are made up of many systems. They will also explore how weather results from interactions among Earth systems while climate influences plants and animals in a particular area. Finally, students will explore human impact on climate change. We will also have investigations and experimentation throughout our units of study.
Unit 1: Microbiome ~ Students take on the role of student researchers as they work to figure out why a fecal transplant cured a patient suffering from a C. difficile infection.
Unit 2: Metabolism ~ Through inhabiting the role of medical students in a hospital, students—as they first diagnose a patient and then analyze the metabolism of world-class athletes—are able to draw the connections between the large-scale, macro-level experiences of the body and the micro-level processes that make the body function.
Unit 3: Traits & Reproduction ~ Students act as student genetic researchers to investigate what causes variation in spider silk traits. Specifically, they explain why parent spiders have offspring with widely varied silk flexibility traits. They uncover the roles of proteins and genes and the way that genes are inherited.
Unit 4: Thermal Energy ~ In their role as student thermal scientists, students work with the principal of a fictional school, Riverdale School, in order to help the school choose a new heating system. They compare a system that heats a small amount of water with one that uses a larger amount of cooler groundwater.
Unit 5: Ocean, Atmosphere, Climate ~ Students act as student climatologists helping a group of farmers near Christchurch, New Zealand figure out the cause of significantly colder air temperatures in New Zealand during the El Niño climate event. To solve the puzzle, students investigate what causes regional climates. They learn about energy from the sun and energy transfer between Earth’s surface and atmosphere, ocean currents, and prevailing winds.
Unit 6: Weather Patterns ~ In the role of student forensic meteorologists, your students will investigate severe rainstorms in a fictional town called Galetown, which serves as the anchor phenomenon for the unit. They investigate how water vapor, temperature, energy transfer, and wind influence local weather patterns and how these factors can lead to severe rainstorms..
Unit 7: Earth’s Changing Climate ~ In the role of student climatologists, students investigate what is causing ice on Earth’s surface to melt in order to help the fictional World Climate Institute educate the public about the processes involved. Students consider claims about changes to energy from the sun, to the atmosphere, to Earth’s surface, or in human activities as contributing to climate change.