The Curriculum

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OVERVIEW

The TASIS middle school science curriculum is meant to be a challenging, three-year curriculum designed to meet the needs of the diverse TASIS student population. The curriculum is considered an integrated curriculum in that it includes topics of study drawn from the biological, chemical, and physical (including the earth and space) sciences. As a whole, the curriculum is circumscribed by standards-based concepts, practices, and grade-level content questions, whose presence is not only meant to improve students’ overall scientific literacy and practical/inquiry skills, but also to help prepare students for a wide range of future possibilities including success in International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) high school science courses.

EMPHASES & APPROACHES

All three of the TASIS middle school science courses are typified by a commitment to scientific inquiry, where inquiry is loosely defined as using evidence to create explanations for natural phenomena. Students in these courses spend a significant portion of their in- and out-of-class time engaging in practices commonly enacted in scientific laboratories and at field sites (e.g., asking questions, assembling collections, making observations, creating descriptions, collecting, transforming and analyzing data, looking for patterns/trends, constructing models, formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, and crafting arguments). In addition, these courses approach science as an additional ‘language’ to be learned. Learning the language of science means developing the ability to create and understand the various gestures, symbols, words, equations, graphs, maps, pictures, drawings, and other symbolic objects and actions commonly used in science and by scientists. In this respect, we assume that our TASIS science students–both native and non-native English speakers alike–are all ‘SAL’ students, that is, that they are all learning science as an additional language.

GRADE-LEVEL CONTENT QUESTIONS

In addition to the standards-based scientific concepts and practices mentioned above, each grade level is also circumscribed by a series of standards-based grade-level content questions.

  • For a more detailed look at the Grade 6 questions, please click HERE.
  • For a more detailed look at the Grade 7 questions, pleas click HERE.
  • For a more detailed look at the Grade 8 questions, please click HERE.

GRADE-LEVEL UNITS

The science curriculum in each middle school grade level is also characterized by approximately four major units: Introduction (1-2 weeks), Unit A (14-15 weeks), Unit B (11-12 weeks), Student Investigations (4-5 weeks).

  • For a more detailed look at each of the units taught in Grades 6, 7 and 8, please click HERE.

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