1 Teacher: Mike Valenti School: Mt. Tabor Middle School Subject: Science Course Title: Earth & Grade Level(s): 8th Space Is high school credit an option for this course? Yes X No Prerequisites: None Course description: Below you will find a letter written by the publisher of our curriculum that explains the course quite well. Dear Parent or Guardian, This year, your child is using a science course called Issues and Earth Science (IAES) that was developed by SEPUP, the Science Education for Public Understanding Program. SEPUP has developed and published innovative and highly acclaimed middle school curriculum for more than 30 years. Issues and Earth Science, like other SEPUP curriculum materials, was funded by the National Science Foundation. To learn more about SEPUP, visit us on the Internet at Issues and Earth Science is an engaging hands on earth science course based on the educational approach of scientific inquiry. As such, it uses several kinds of activities to teach science. For example, students design and conduct an experiment to identify a mineral, explore a model of the continents changing through plate movement, play the roles of scientists learning about the composition of soil, and read about the causes of the Dust Bowl in the United States in the 1930s. A combination of experiments, readings, models, debates, role plays, and projects help students discover the nature of science, learn science content, and experience the relevance of science in today s world. How do we know that this is a good way for your child to learn? In general, research on science education supports it. In particular, SEPUP tests out its materials, such as Issues and Earth Science, with hundreds of students and their teachers throughout the country, and experts in earth and space sciences provide scientific review of the content. SEPUP then revises the materials based on the feedback and evaluation of the materials. We believe the resulting curriculum shows students that learning and using scientific ideas is an important and an exciting endeavor. Portland Public Schools Middle Level /18/2015 Sincerely, The SEPUP Staff Priority Standards: NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS
2 In the spring of 2014, Oregon adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as the science standards for Oregon. We are in the process of implementing the new standards. In addition to content standards, the NGSS require students to be taught Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts. To learn more about the NGSS, please go to: dimensions Schedule of topics/units covered: 8th graders will study earth and space science. Below you will find the name of the units we will complete as well as a few of the topics we will learn about in each unit. Erosion & Deposition: topography, erosion, deposition, landforms. Plate Tectonics: Earth s history, earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, Earth s structure. Rocks & Minerals: rock cycle, rock formation, minerals. Weather & Atmosphere: weather, climate, atmosphere, water cycle, oceans, clouds, Sun as a source of energy. The Earth in Space: Earth, moon, day and year length, seasons, tides, axis tilt. Exploring Space: space explorations, telescopes, space objects, Sun, solar system, gravity, planetary motion, remote sensing. Academic Vocabulary: List includes, but is not limited to: Mineral, rock, lithosphere, mantle, metallic core, seismic wave, igneous rock, metamorphic rock, sedimentary rock, crystal, grain, hydrosphere, atmosphere, convection, rock cycle, weather, climate, water cycle, evaporation, condensation, watershed, recycle, crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, sediment deposition, weathering, erosion, geologic time, landform, continental drift, geologic evidence, subduction, sea floor spreading, plate tectonics, plate boundary, subduction zone, mid ocean ridge, tides, orbit, eclipse, phases of the Moon, day, year, axis, satellite, Solar System, star cycle, galaxy, universe, light year, Milky Way District adopted materials: Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) Issues and Earth Science
3 Supplemental resources: Lab materials, field trips, speakers, inquiry activities, computer programs, websites and videos Differentiation/ accessibility strategies and support (TAG, ELL, SpEd, other): Tiered assignments are designed to instruct students on essential skills that are provided at different levels of complexity, abstractness, and open endedness. The curricular content and objective(s) are the same, but the process and/or product are varied according to the student s level of readiness. Students work as part of many different groups depending on the task and/or content. Use of science notebook and supplementary materials, i.e. online textbook and Spanish version available. TAG students to test more levels of independent variable during inquiries. Use of computer programs. Use of rubrics that outline the steps needed to meet and exceed benchmark expectations. Use of several instructional formats: whole class, small group, partners, individuals Emphasize the use of critical and creative thinking and the application of learning. Use of a variety of instructional strategies: lectures, manipulatives, role play or simulations, labs, inquiries, and readings. Extensive use of formative assessment to direct instruction. High use of visuals and demonstrations Tiered levels of concepts to be used in large scale assessment projects Revisions/retakes of assessments Due dates flexible and extendable Use of previous student examples for guidance on projects Final proficiencies: State Inquiry Work sample(s) that successfully score 4 or higher in all 4 aspects of the State Inquiry Scoring Guide. Demonstration of understanding
4 of the Next Generation Science Standards through teacher made tests, projects and lab activities Essential skills to be taught or assessed: x x Read and comprehend x x Write clearly and accurately x x Listen actively and speak clearly x x Apply mathematics x x Think critically x x Personal management and teamwork x x Use technology x Civic and Community Engagement x Global Literacy Assessment/evaluation/grading policy: At the end of each quarter, student grades will be based on the following assignments/assessments: Unit tests/quizzes = 35% Projects = 30% Analysis Questions = 25% Notebook = 10% Behavioral expectations: Students are expected to adhere to all behavior expectations set forth in the PPS Student Responsibilities, Rights, and Discipline Handbook, as well as the Mt Tabor Student and Family Handbook. It is expected that students will be present in class every day unless a note from a parent or guardian is provided and the absence is excused. Students are responsible for making up all work missed while they are absent in order to receive a grade for that work. Make up work is difficult (and sometimes impossible) to complete, especially for labs that require special set up, therefore regular attendance is strongly encouraged. Agendas will be posted daily to help with missed assignments. When students are tardy they miss the instructions and set up for the whole day's work. This is a very important time for the whole class. If you are tardy please come in quietly, and wait to get the information you missed, so as not to disturb the class any more than necessary.
5 It is my philosophy that every student has the right to a classroom environment that is conducive to learning and free from unnecessary disruptions. It is each student's responsibility to behave in a manner that is respectful of the rights of all members of the class. Respect yourself Respect others Learn science In the event that a student's absences, tardiness, or behavior become a problem the following consequences will be implemented: 1. individual conference with the student 2. call the student's parent or guardian 3. refer the student to the appropriate administrator or counselor Safety issues and requirements: All students and parents sign a science safety agreement. This is a district requirement, and I keep them on file for reference. Contact information: If you need to contact me my address is You can contact me by phone at