Science is a systematic process for acquiring the knowledge essential for comprehending the natural world. It involves investigating and understanding natural phenomena - a way of thinking that includes observing, collecting, manipulating and analyzing data, as well as evaluating and interpreting results. Learning scientific ways of doing things provides students the methods for constructing knowledge and the criteria for testing and revising their ideas.
At Sellwood Middle School, each grade level focuses on a specific science curriculum.
Sixth Grade: Life Science
Students progress from studying life science from the point of view of individual organisms to recognizing patterns in ecosystems and understanding the cellular dimensions of living systems. Along the way, students broaden their understanding of populations and communities of species and the ways they interact with each other and with their environment.
Key areas of focus during this year:
- Study of cells and their structure.
- Human Biology, including understanding that the body has organs that function together to maintain life; sexual reproduction in humans; sexual reproduction in flowers; heredity .
- Ecosystems and the interactions between organisms and environments.
Students learn by making observations as their investigations become increasingly quantitative, incorporating the use of computers and conceptual and mathematical models. In addition, they gain experience working with microscopes.
Seventh Grade: Physical Science
Seventh grade students focus on physical science, performing the following activities:
- Observe and measure characteristics and properties, such as boiling points, melting points, solubility, and simple chemical changes of pure substances and use those properties to distinguish and separate one substance from another.
- Develop a model of matter with the vocabulary to explain it.
- Learn the properties of elements and compounds; observe physical and chemical reactions.
- Use simple objects such as rolling balls/mechanical toys to understand force, and friction.
- Explore connections among light, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the motion of objects.
- View energy as fuel that is stored, ready to use, and gets used up.
Eighth Grade: Earth and Space Science
In eighth grade, students develop an understanding of earth and the solar system as a set of closely coupled systems.
- Investigating the four major interacting components of the earth system - geosphere (crust, mantle, and core), hydrosphere (water, atmospheres), and the biosphere (the realm of all living things).
- Plotting the locations of volcanoes and earthquakes and finding pattern of geological activity.
- Developing an understanding of the water cycle.
- Investigating gravity as a force that holds all parts of the solar system together.
- Creating models to explain the phases of the moon, and correct explanations for the seasons.