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Seventh Grade Science Content Standards
Eighth Grade Science Content Standards
Academics Plus - Portfolio Program
Vision Statement:
Learning Outcomes: 
 Homework Policy:
 Materials Needed:
Determination of Grades:
Science Scope/Sequence:
 Rubric Standards
Academic Plus Guidelines
State Science Standards
Valley Middle School
1645 Magnolia Avenue
Carlsbad, CA 92008
760 602-6020
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Seventh Grade Science Curriculum
Vision Statement
 The core science curriculum is derived from the newly adopted California Academic Standards for the earth, life and physical sciences.  Science instruction is intended for all students and is designed to accommodate the diversity of each pupil's curiosity, interests, language proficiency and academic ability.  Active learning is the central feature of classroom instruction, and teachers expect student creativity and commitment to learning.  The science curriculum incorporates the appropriate components of mathematics, research skills, and use of technology.  The science content and process related activities are designed to present concepts of increasing breadth and complexity at appropriately paced intervals throughout the various grade levels.  The curriculum encourages students to take a lifelong interest in science and understand its impact upon their daily lives. 
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Learning Outcomes

   "Learning by doing" is the hallmark of middle school science.  "Doing" science can take many forms, but the common denominator is active larning, as demonstrated in laboratory exercises, research projects and use of technology. 

   Science instruction is activity-based and builds directly upon students' previous knowledge, skills, interests, and background experiences.  There is equal focus upon both the topics and techniques of scientific inquiry. 

   Students need for interaction with their peers are recognized and provided in active, student-centered learning activities that are central to the program.  Taking advantage of diverse backgrounds, needs and interests, the program encourages students to work collaboratively and cooperatively on projects that stimulate the type of "teams" that found throughout the business community. 

   Students make careful observations, collect/interpret data and conduct "open ended" experiments in order to learn the basics of the scientific process including: 

       -  Observing 
       -  Measuring 
       -  Comparing 
       -  Relating 
       -  Inferring 
       - Communicating 

   The middle grades science program also offers many interdisciplinary connections with language arts,  mathematics, history/social studies, and the arts.  A concerted effort is made to take full advantage of the resources found in the library-media center and on the Internet. 

    The science program is fully supported by the school, district administrators, the Governing Board, and the community as a whole.   There is a wide range of instructional materials available for science learning.  Science texts are up-to-date and supplemented by a variety of materials which include laboratory specimens,  appropriate scientific equipment and an array of computer-based technology. 

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Homework Policy:
    While most of the science curriculum is activity based classroom instruction, homework is regularly assigned to reinforce the concepts taught in class.  Such extended learning activities include supplemental reading assignments, watching prescribed documentary/news programs on television and completion of classroom initiated research projects.  On average students should expect from one to one and half hours of homework each evening from all their classes 
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Materials Needed:
    Students are strongly encouraged to have the following, materials with them daily: 

3-ring binder with dividers 
Pencils (No. 2) 
Colored Pencils 
Glue Stick 
Student Scissors 
Metric Ruler 
Highlighter - Yellow 

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Determination of Grades:

A+  Enrollment in Academics Plus Program 
A = 90 - 100% 
B = 80 - 89% 
C = 70 -79% 
D = 60 - 69% 
F  =  59% or less 

   of all assignments which include tests, laboratory activities, projects, quizzes, class participation and homework.  Gardes are weighted according to the following criteria: 

50% - Quizzes, unit tests and semester final 
15% - Laboratory exercises/Authentic assessment 
15% - Class participation 
10% - Semester research project 
10% - Homework (extension activities) 

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Science Scope and Sequence for Grades 7
Grade Science Area Content Area Standard Length
7th Unifying Concepts Measurement/Metrics 
*Lab equipment 
*Lab procedures 
*Scientific method
Scale Modeling 
Internet Research
4 weeks
7th Life Science Cell Biology Chemical Make-Up/ 
Cell Theory/DNA
3 weeks
7th Life Science Genetics Genes,Traits,Heredity 3 weeks
7th Life Science Adaptation/Diversity Change, Fossil Record 3 weeks
7th Life Science Anatomy/Physiology Structure and function in living things 8 weeks
7th Life Science Energy and Living Things Photo-optics 
Energy Systems 
6 weeks
7th Life Science Ecology Ecosystems/Habitats 
Web-Based Projects
8 weeks
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Seventh Grade Science Content Standards
Focus on Life Science

Cell Biology 

1. All living organisms are composed of cells, from just one to many trillions, whose details 
usually are visible only through a microscope. 
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. cells function similarly in all living organisms. 
b. the characteristics that distinguish plant cells from animal cells, including chloroplasts and cell walls. 
c. the nucleus is the repository for genetic information in plant and animal cells. 
d. mitochondria liberate energy for the work that cells do, and chloroplasts capture sunlight energy for 
e. cells divide to increase their numbers through a process of mitosis, which results in two daughter cells 
with identical sets of chromosomes. 
f. as multicellular organisms develop, their cells differentiate. 


2. A typical cell of any organism contains genetic instructions that specify its traits. Those traits 
may be modified by environmental influences. 
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. the differences between the life cycles and reproduction of sexual and asexual organisms. 
b. sexual reproduction produces offspring that inherit half their genes from each parent. 
c. an inherited trait can be determined by one or more genes. 
d. plant and animal cells contain many thousands of different genes, and typically have two copies of every 
gene. The two copies (or alleles) of the gene may or may not be identical, and one may be dominant in 
determining the phenotype while the other is recessive. 
e. DNA is the genetic material of living organisms, and is located in the chromosomes of each cell. 

Adaptation, Diverstiy and Fossil Record 

3. Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes 
over many generations. 
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. both genetic variation and environmental factors are causes of evolution and diversity of organisms. 
b. the reasoning used by Darwin in making his conclusion that natural selection is the mechanism of 
c. how independent lines of evidence from geology, fossils, and comparative anatomy provide a basis for 
the theory of evolution. 
d. how to construct a simple branching diagram to classify living groups of organisms by shared derived 
characteristics, and expand the diagram to include fossil organisms. 
e. extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a 
species are insufficient for its survival. 

Earth and Life History (Earth Science) 

4. Evidence from rocks allows us to understand the evolution of life on Earth. 
As the basis for understanding this concept, students know: a. Earth processes today are similar to those 
that occurred in the past and slow geologic processes have large cumulative effects over long periods of 
b. the history of life on Earth has been disrupted by major catastrophic events, such as major volcanic 
eruptions or the impact of an asteroid. 
c. the rock cycle includes the formation of new sediment and rocks. Rocks are often found in layers with 
the oldest generally on the bottom. 
d. evidence from geologic layers and radioactive dating indicate the Earth is approximately 4.6 billion years 
old, and that life has existed for more than 3 billion years. 
e. fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed. 
f. how movements of the Earth's continental and oceanic plates through time, with associated changes in 
climate and geographical connections, have affected the past and present distribution of organisms. 
g. how to explain significant developments and extinctions of plant and animal life on the geologic time 

Structure and Function in Living Systems 

5. The anatomy and physiology of plants and animals illustrate the complementary nature of 
structure and function. 
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. plants and animals have levels of organization for structure and function, including cells, tissues, organs, 
organ systems, and the whole organism. 
b. organ systems function because of the contributions of individual organs, tissues, and cells. The failure of 
any part can affect the entire system. 
c. how bones and muscles work together to provide a structural framework for movement. 
d. how the reproductive organs of the human female and male generate eggs and sperm, and how sexual 
activity may lead to fertilization and pregnancy. 
e. the function of the umbilicus and placenta during pregnancy. 
f. the structures and processes by which flowering plants generate pollen and ovules, seeds, and fruit. 
g. how to relate the structures of the eye and ear to their functions. 

Physical Principles in Living Systems (Physical Science) 

6. Physical principles underlie biological structures and functions. 
As a basis for understanding this concept, students know: 
a. visible light is a small band within a very broad electromagnetic spectrum. 
b. for an object to be seen, light emitted by or scattered from it must enter the eye. 
c. light travels in straight lines except when the medium it travels through changes. 
d. how simple lenses are used in a magnifying glass, the eye, camera, telescope, and microscope. 
e. white light is a mixture of many wavelengths (colors), and that retinal cells react differently with different 
f. light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including 
g. the angle of reflection of a light beam is equal to the angle of incidence. 
h. how to compare joints in the body (wrist, shoulder, thigh) with structures used in machines and simple 
devices (hinge, ball-and-socket, and sliding joints). 
i. how levers confer mechanical advantage and how the application of this principle applies to the 
musculoskeletal system. 
j. contractions of the heart generate blood pressure, and heart valves prevent backflow of blood in the 
circulatory system. 

Investigation and Experimentation 

7. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful 
As a basis for understanding this concept, and to address the content the other three strands, students 
should develop their own questions and perform investigations. Students will: 
a. select and use appropriate tools and technology (including calculators, computers, balances, spring 
scales, microscopes, and binoculars) to perform tests, collect data, and display data. 
b. utilize a variety of print and electronic resources (including the World Wide Web) to collect information 
as evidence as part of a research project. 
c. communicate the logical connection among hypothesis, science concepts, tests conducted, data 
collected, and conclusions drawn from the scientific evidence. 
d. construct scale models, maps and appropriately labeled diagrams to communicate scientific knowledge 
(e.g., motion of Earth's plates and cell structure). 
e. communicate the steps and results from an investigation in written reports and verbal presentations. 

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Rubric Standards:

   Twelve good reasons for using rubrics in the Science Core and Academic Plus Programs: 

    1. Rubrics set standards:   Students know in advance what they have to do to achieve a certain level.  Assessment may range from attempted, acceptable, admirable, to awesome and academic plus. 

    2.  Rubrics tell students they must be careful and safe with the task:  Information on the expected procedures and outcomes of the task being performed are given to students. 

    3. Rubrics clarify expectations for excellence:   When levels are based on a "higher expectation" (e.g., Level 5), everyone knows what is required. This is especially important for students who are enrolled in both Science Core Classes and the Academics Plus Program. 

    4. Rubrics help students take responsibility for their own learning:   Students use rubrics to engage in specific activities and research the discipline demands. 

    5.  Rubrics have value to other stakeholders:   Anyone (including parents and community members) seeing an additive rubric and a student score based on that rubric knows what content was mastered by that student. 

    6. Rubrics look at student examples:   Show students examples of good and not-so-good work. Identify the characteristics that make the good ones good and the bad ones bad. 

    7. Rubrics list criteria for quality work:   Use the discussion of models to begin a list of what counts in quality work. 

    8. Rubrics articulate gradations of quality:   Describe the best and worst levels of quality, then fill in the middle levels based on your knowledge of common problems and the discussion of not-so-good work. 

    9. Rubrics practice on models:   Have students use the rubrics to evaluate the models provided as examples. 

   10. Rubrics use self- and peer-assessment:   Give students their assignment. As they work, stop them occasionally for self- and peer-assessment. 

    11. Rubrics are revised and updated:   Always give students time to revise their work based on the feedback they get from teacher and parent. 

     12. Rubrics use student and teacher assessment:   Use the same rubric students use to assess your work as a teacher. 


Using Rubrics in Middle School 
Rubric for Science Media Projects 

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"Academics Plus" Guidelines for Seventh Grade Science
Students are expected to adhere to the following guidelines: 
photo montagegraphsCD's
1.  All work will be staff and student evaluated in accordance to agreed upon rubrics. 
2.  All work will be turned in according to specificed deadlines.  Exceptions will be made only for serious illness requiring medical verificaton. 
3.  All work will be completed by the student and it must be their best work. 
4.  All work will must be word processed and when graphs, tables, charts, etc. are required in the projects, they must be constructed using a computer. 
5.  All research must be referenced in a bibliography. 
6.  There is no tolerance for plagiarism.  All student-generated materials must be original. Any quotes, graphics or ideas presented in materials researched by the student must referenced in the paragraph or footnoted at the bottom of the page. 
7.  All work must be "A" quality as established by the rubric.  Any work that is not given a grade of "A must be redone based on correction and comments given to the student by 
his/her peers. 

Parents are expected to adhere to the following guidelines: 

1.  Be supportive of their child and teachers. 
2.  Take an active part in providing opportunities for their child to do research outside of school. 
3.  Make sure that only the students involved in the project work on the project. 
4.  Grade their child's presentation prior to turning it in using the rubric and giving suggestions for improvement. 

The resource teacher, in collaboration with the regular classroom teacher, is expected to adhere to the following guidelines: 

1.  Provide guidance on what kind of product is expected 
2.  Present students with information about the projects 
3.  Povide opportunities in class for the students to do research 
4.  Give suggestions on how to find information or materials 
5.  Settle disputes over grades received via the rubric 
6.  Review student generated rubrics (SRGs) for approval 
7.  Keep an Academic Plus folder for each student 

Academics Plus Outline: 7th Grade Lab Link and Adode PDF file   

(In order to print any of the  Lab. Excercises listed below you will need Acrobat Reader to open the .pdf file.  Click on the link to the Adobe Acrobat Website to obtain a free download of Acrobat Reader, if you don't already have it.)

acrobat.gif (18601 bytes) 
Adobe Acrobat Website 

Actions:  If any student fails to maintain an "A" in the program, they will be dropped. 
Any parent concerns should be first directed to the teacher.  The teacher will contact the parents of students that are in danger of being dropped. 

Science Journaling:
A Naturalist's Notebook 
A Microbe Zoo Journal 
A Wildflower Journal 
A Habitat  Journal - Nature Guide 
Making Personalized Online Databases of Animals and Plants 
Online Collaborative Programs: 
The CE - Naturalist Homepage 
A NatureLink Homepage 
The GLOBE Program Homepage 

 ABC Innovative Challenge Grant: Virtual Field Trips 
 Establishing a School Archive 

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Student Constructed Weblists and WebQuests Examples: 
Filamentality 2.0 
Filamentality is a fill-in-the-blank interactive Web site that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Web, gathering good Internet sites, and turning Web resources into learning activities. It helps combine the "filaments" of the Web with a learner's "mentality". Support is built-in through Mentality Tips that guide you along the way to creating a Web-based activity you can share with others. 
Middle School Website Evaluation Guide 
 Website - Critical Evaluation Surveys 
 Evaluating Web Resources | Home Page 
 CyberGuide for Rating Website Content 
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Mr Klopfenstein's Web Authored Projects: 


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Student Data Collections and Graphing Examples
It's That Time of Year  - Get Outside - Image and Identify Nature's Gifts 


Leaf Colors 

Leaf Colors 

Student Data Collections and Graphing Examples:   Line, Bar and Circle Graphs: 


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     Goals for Use of the "Science Media Stations" in the Classroom:, DC210, Kodak phot Cd and scanner
  1.  For each participant to reach "Higher Levels of Instructional Media Proficiency" 
  2.  For each participant to explore a variety of media-technology options in the classroom. 
  3.  For each participant to prepare a subject area presentation using technology . 
  4.  For each participant to plan at least one in depth WebQuest project for the classroom 
  5.  For each participant to evaluate and create a Website List of subject-area resources. 
  6.  For each participant to benefit from  integrating  technology into their daily lives. 
     In the one-room school and in recent factory classrooms, the teacher was the heart of the education enterprise. In the new model of education, the parent, teacher and student  will emerge as partners, guides, mentors and brokers to the world of knowledge made accessible by technology.. 

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E-Mail Link to Jay Klopfenstein
Apple Distinguished Educator
                                        Additional Links for Parents: 
Valley Parents - Tap into "Weekly Science Lesson Plans" Posted on the Teamatics Web Site,
Guestbook by GuestWorld
 Sign Our Science Dept. Guestbook
Volunteer Your Support  for the Science Program
 View the Site Guestbook Registry
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Website Authoring by Jay Klopfenstein

Middle School ScienceTeacher
Media Commuications - Apple Distinguished Educator
Carlsbad Unified School District
Valley Middle School
 Last Updated 8/26/2000

Jay Klopfenstein