Middle School Science

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are the anchor for the Science Curriculum.  The curriculum relative to these standards is still evolving.  Embedding the dimensions of science practices (the behaviors of scientists), crosscutting concepts (those ideas that link all domains of science), and disciplinary core ideas (the science content) is the work that has and will continue to happen relative to the written curriculum.  Including strong, real-world science phenomena has been essential to the development of successful units of study.

  • Dimension 1: Practices centers around the major practices that scientists employ as they investigate and build models and theories about the world, as well as a key set of engineering practices that engineers use as they design and build systems.
  • Dimension 2: Crosscutting Concepts are the concepts that have applications across all domains of science (i.e., Patterns, Cause and Effect, Energy and Matter, Scale, Proportion, and Quantity).
  • Dimension 3: Disciplinary Core Ideas emphasize four main domains: the physical sciences, the life sciences, the earth and space sciences, and engineering, technology and applications of science.

The heart of the shift in curriculum has been ensuring that students are the ones “doing the science”.  In part, this includes having students observe, model their thinking visually, collaborate, engage in discourse, trial and experiment, and revise their thinking based on a science phenomenon.  The chosen science phenomenon is introduced at the beginning of a unit prior to students reading or otherwise learning about the science content associated with the phenomenon.  The infusion of science content then happens in doses over the course of the unit.  This sequencing is often the reverse of previous science instruction where students would be given the science content first, and then conduct an experiment or activity that matches the content.  Having students “do the science” has strong alignment to the overarching emphasis on developing self-directed learners and certainly engages them in complex thinking.

As we continue throughout the 21st century, society needs scientifically literate citizens who can be effective and informed decision makers.  The Dodd Middle School Science Department enjoys helping students learn how to become successful learners and critical thinkers with a sense of responsibility to our global community.  These skills will be evaluated and linked to the Cheshire Public Schools Performance Standards.

Middle School Science Content/Unit Overview

Grade 7

  • Molecules to Organisms
  • Heredity
  • Biological Evolution
  • Earth’s Place in the Universe
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Earth and Human Activity

Grade 8

  • Matter
  • Motion and Stability
  • Energy
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Earth and Human Activity