Grades 6-8 Science

The 6-8 Science program aligns with the NJCCCS 5.1 for students to understand scientific explanations-core concepts, principles, and value tools and measurements to generate scientific evidence through active investigations, to reflect on science knowledge and to participate productively in science through writings, communications, and critiques.

Each grade has an introductory measurement unit with modifications that emphasize scientific units, scientific notation, accuracy, and precision. The middle school science program addresses the natural world by grade levels. Grade 6 focuses on life science. Grade 7 focuses on the Earth and space system. Grade 8 focuses on physical science. By incorporating engineering projects into the core courses, the science programs studies technology, the design process, and the human-made world.

Grade 6 Learning Expectations

By the end of Sixth Grade, students are expected to learn:

  • Introduction to the atomic structure of matter
  • Distinguish elements, compounds, and molecules
  • Incorporation of the main chemicals found in life forms.
  • The basic unit of structure and function of life forms is the cell.
  • All cells come from pre-existing cells.
  • Cells with specialized functions will have specialized sub-structure and genetic expression.
Human Body and Health
  • Explain how systems of the human body are interrelated and regulate the body's internal environment.
  • Recognize that complex multicellular organisms, including humans, are composed of and defined by interactions of the following: , tissues, organs, and systems
  • Structure and function of the various body systems
  • Organisms contain genetic information that influences their traits, and they pass this on to their offspring during reproduction.
  • The continuity of life is based on heritable information in the form of DNA.
  • Patterns in genetics relate to diploidy/haploidy.
  • Study of patterns of traits (autosomal recessive, dominate and blended)
Environmental Education Trip

The sixth graders at John Witherspoon Middle School learn about the environment through a two-day residence experience at the Fairview Lake Environmental Education Center in Newton, New Jersey. Talented, trained naturalists educate the students about various aspects of the environment. The students learn the importance of the wetlands during the swamp walk. They hike up the Kittatinny Mountain Range and gain knowledge about the geological history of the Appalachian Mountains. Pond ecology gives the students an opportunity to study scientific aspects of aquatics and pond life. They also build teamwork and communication skills while participating in a variety of problem solving challenges during Action Socialization Experience. Finally, students enjoy and master the art of boating while adhering to the safety rules. This hands on experience is an exciting, interactive, and memorable trip for everyone.

Grade 7 Learning Expectations

By the end of Seventh Grade, students are expected to learn:

  • The variety of substances on Earth results from the way the atoms are arranged and combined.
  • Most rocks are formed from pre-existing rocks through external and internal geologic processes.
  • Minerals are an integral part of everyday life.
  • Most geologic activity occurs at the boundaries between plates.
  • Volcanoes develop from magma moving upward from deep within the Earth.
  • Earthquakes are natural vibrations of the ground, some of which are caused by movements along fractures in Earth's crust.
  • Mountains form through dynamic processes which crumple, fold, and create faults in the Earth's crust.
  • Scientist use several methods to learn about Earth's geological history.
Weather and Climate
  • Most of what occurs in the universe involves some form of energy being transformed into another.
  • No matter how substances within a closed system interact the total mass of the system remains the same.
  • Changing patterns of weather and climate occur in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Weather and climate impact the natural world.
  • Weather and climate impact individuals and societies.
  • Organization of the solar system can be used to understand the motion of the stars, sun, moon and planets in the sky.
  • The Sun, Earth, and Moon form a dynamic system that influences all life on Earth.
  • Motions of the Sun-Earth-Moon system define Earth's day, month and year.
  • Using the laws of motion and gravitation astronomers can understand the orbits and properties of the planets and other objects in the solar system.
  • The life cycle of every star is determined by its mass, luminosity, magnitude, temperature, and composition.
  • Observations of galaxy expansion, cosmic background radiation, and the Big Bang theory describe an expanding universe that is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old.
  • The universe is an ever changing place of immense size and spectacular phenomena.
  • Humans explore the planets, sun and moons to learn about the history future, and nature of the solar system, its planets and life.
  • Studying oceans helps scientists learn about global climate and Earth's history.
  • The marine environment is geologically diverse and contains a wealth of natural resources.
  • The global ocean consists of one vast body of water that covers more than two-thirds of the Earth's surface.
  • Oceans have distinct layers of water masses that are characterized by temperature and salinity
  • Waves and currents drive the movements of ocean water and lead to the distribution of heat, salt, and nutrients from one region of the ocean to another.
Grade 8 Learning Expectations

By the end of Eighth Grade, students are expected to learn:

  • All substances (things) are made of matter.
  • Regardless of how matter interacts with other matter or how atoms are rearranged into molecules in a chemical reaction, mass is always conserved.
  • The structure of a substance relates to its properties.
  • Based on similarities of structure, matter, such as atoms and molecules have patterns and/or trends of properties and behaviors.
  • Chemical energy is energy stored in the arrangement of atoms. atoms are rearranged during chemical reactions, energy is transferred and transformed. and light are common forms of energy that are released during chemical reactions.
  • Forces act on objects and can produce motion.
  • Unbalanced forces cause changes in motion that can be predicted and described.
  • Forces in fluids are related to pressure and density can affect the motion of objects in the fluid.
  • Work is the transfer of energy to an object, and power is the rate at which work is done. Machines are devices that help make work easier.
  • Heat is energy that moves from an object at a higher temperature to an object at a lower temperature.
  • Waves transfer energy, have describable properties, and interact in predictable ways.
Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy is transformed from one form to another during changes in matter.
  • Electricity is a form of energy that can be transformed by moving electric charges doing work in various devices.
  • Electricity and magnets are related.