Curriculum Connection

 

Science Course Descriptions
The course description describes the big ideas of the course.

Kindergarten Science

In kindergarten, students learn about the world around them through the study of earth, life, and physical science. Students learn about force and motion, weather, and the needs of living things – both insects and plants. They learn that scientific investigations involve trying to answer questions by making observations and trying things out. Students develop explanations based on observations or other evidence. They use simple tools and materials to solve problems in creative ways.

 

1st Grade Science

In 1st grade, students learn about the world around them through the study of earth, life, and physical science. Students learn the concept of part to whole relationships. They also learn that scientific investigations involve trying to answer questions by making observations and trying things out. Students develop explanations based on observations or other evidence. They use simple tools and materials to solve problems in creative ways. Students learn about solids and liquids, needs of living things, the life cycle of a butterfly, the phases of the moon, how we get day and night, and how shadows change.

 

2nd Grade Science

In 2nd grade, students learn about the world around them through the study of earth, life, and physical science. Students learn about the interdependence of parts to form a whole system. They investigate phenomena by making predictions, observations, following a plan and recording results. They begin to use models to help them understand the world. They apply their growing scientific knowledge to solve a problem using a design process. Students learn about forces and motion, the interrelationship of plants and insects, fossils and how plants and animals have changed over time.

 

3rd Grade Science

In 3rd grade, students learn about the world around them through study of earth, life, and physical science. Students learn about the interdependence of parts to form a whole system. They investigate phenomena by making predictions, observations, following a plan and recording results. They begin to use models to help them understand the world. They apply their growing scientific knowledge to solve a problem using a design process. They learn to plan different types of investigations like controlled experiments, systematic observations, models and simulations. Students will apply their content knowledge about science to solving problems of moderate complexity using a design process that involves research, testing, and communicating solutions. Students learn about water and weather. The notion of water as a solid, liquid and gas will be examined in relation to weather. They also learn about the life cycle of plants and animals and the functions of various parts of these plants and animals.

 

4th Grade Science

In 4th grade, students learn about the world around them through study of earth, life, and physical science. Students expand their understanding of systems by learning about smaller (sub-) systems and the effect of changing inputs and outputs in a system. They learn to plan different types of investigations like controlled experiments, systematic observations, models and simulations. Students will apply their content knowledge about science to solving problems of moderate complexity using a design process that involves research, testing, and communicating solutions. They will build on their intuitive understanding of energy and learn how heat, light, sound and electrical energy are generated and can be transferred from place to place. Students will learn about the formation of landforms and the processes of weathering and erosion. They will also learn to revise questions so they can be answered scientifically and then to design an appropriate investigation to answer the question and carry out experiments using plants.

 

5th Grade Science

In 5th grade, students learn about the world around them through study of earth, life, and physical science. Students expand their understanding of systems by learning about smaller (sub-) systems and the effect of changing inputs and outputs in a system. They learn to plan different types of investigations like controlled experiments, systematic observations, field studies, models and simulations. Students will apply their content knowledge about science to solving problems of moderate complexity using a design process that involves research, testing, and communicating solutions. The interrelationships among various forms of life and the environment will also be explored through the study of ecosystems. The notion of forces that effect floating and sinking will be explored, as will the chemical properties of matter. Students learn about other objects in the Solar System, including stars, and how they are held together by a force called "gravity." 5th graders also revisit their prior learning of moon phases and eclipses.

 

6th Grade Science

In 6th grade, students take a full year science course that focuses on Earth science, providing students the opportunity to learn science concepts and principles, acquire reasoning and problem solving abilities, and develop inquiry skills at a rigorous level of learning. The course engages students in rich learning experiences that enable them to develop an understanding of the ideas of science and the ability to apply them appropriately. The sixth grade course is the first year of a three year science sequence (6th-8th grade) and is designed to enable students to attain a fundamental level of scientific literacy that will provide the competencies needed for successful participation in our scientifically and technologically oriented society.

 

Middle School Science

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Grade 7 Life Science

This is a life science course which provides seventh grade students the opportunity to learn science concepts and principles, acquire reasoning and problem solving abilities, and develop inquiry skills. It is designed to enable students to attain a fundamental level of scientific literacy that will provide the competencies needed for successful participation in our scientifically and technologically oriented society. Students will learn key biological concepts. Including cells, the human body, heredity, biomechanics of speciation, DNA structure and function, classification systems, and the vital relationships between ourselves and the physical environment.

Grade 8 Physical Science

This is a science course that focuses on Physics and Chemistry, providing eighth grade students the opportunity to learn science concepts and principles, acquire reasoning and problem solving abilities, and develop inquiry skills. The eighth grade course is designed to enable students to attain a fundamental level of scientific literacy that will provide the competencies needed for successful participation in our scientifically and technologically oriented society. Students will cover the concepts of matter, energy, force, motion, waves, light, temperature, heat, physical and chemical properties, atoms, behavior of gases, elements and chemical changes.

 

High School Science

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Biology

Biology is the study of living systems, and interactions between living and non-living systems. Biology is a year-long introductory lab science course designed for ninth grade students. Using the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide, students explore essential questions underlying topics in cellular biology, heredity, evolution and ecosystems. Questions guiding exploration include: “How do organisms live and grow? How and why do organisms interact with their environment, and what are the effects of these interactions? How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next? How can individuals of the same species have different characteristics?” And, “What evidence shows that different species are related?” In addition to acquiring content knowledge specific to biology, students also deepen their understanding of science and engineering practices through hands-on inquiry that involves asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, and exploring and applying core science concepts that span across and unify all disciplines of science. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Biology Mesa

MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) is a unique, applied biology course the district and Washington State University jointly operate. This lab science option follows a course syllabus similar to Biology A-B, and is designed for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in science and technology professions. The course provides additional enrichment opportunities and academic support for students participating in the program. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Biology Honors

Biology is the study of living systems, and interactions between living and non-living systems. Biology Honors is a year-long introductory lab science course designed for ninth grade students that covers similar themes as Biology, but at an accelerated pace with deeper and/or wider content exploration. Using the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide, students explore essential questions underlying topics in cellular biology, heredity, evolution and ecosystems. Questions guiding exploration include: “How do organisms live and grow? How and why do organisms interact with their environment, and what are the effects of these interactions? How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next? How can individuals of the same species have different characteristics?” And, “What evidence shows that different species are related?” In addition to acquiring content knowledge specific to biology, students also deepen their understanding of science and engineering practices through hands-on inquiry that involves asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, and exploring and applying core science concepts that span across and unify all disciplines of science. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Biology Collection of Evidence (COE)

This course is designed for students to prepare a portfolio of evidence as an alternative way to meet Washington State graduation requirement for demonstrating proficiency in science.

 

AP Biology

This Advanced Placement (AP) Biology course is approved and certified by the College Board. It is intended to be the equivalent of a college level general biology course. AP Biology follows the program syllabus outlined by the College Board, in which students study concepts in the following major topic areas: molecules and cells; heredity and evolution; and organisms and populations. Students participate in laboratory investigations as a part of their course experience, and will have the opportunity to develop scientific reasoning abilities and inquiry skills. This course prepares students to successfully complete the advanced placement exam in biology. A score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam is accepted by many cooperating colleges for college credit. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Anatomy and Physiology

This course involves an in-depth study of the structure and function of the human body. Students learn how anatomy and physiology are interrelated and how the body maintains internal balance. Various human body systems are studied in depth at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels. This course involves hands-on investigations, including dissections. This course should be of high interest to students who are considering health science careers or who simply want a deeper understanding of the biology of the human body.

 

Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of the properties of matter and its interactions. Chemistry is a year-long introductory lab science course designed for students after their freshman year. Using the Next Generation Science Standards as a guide, students explore essential questions underlying topics including the structure and properties of matter and chemi- cal reactions. Questions guiding exploration include: “How can one explain the structure, properties and interactions of matter?” And “How is energy in chemical reactions transferred and conserved?” In addition to acquiring content knowledge specific to chemistry, students also deepen their understanding of science and engineering practices through hands-on inquiry that involves asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, and exploring and applying core science concepts that span across and unify all disciplines of science. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Chemistry MESA

Chemistry MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) is a unique, applied chemistry course the district and Washington State University jointly operate. This lab science option follows a course syllabus similar to Chemistry A-B, and is designed for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in science and technology professions. The course provides additional enrichment opportunities and academic support for students participating in the program. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

AP Chemistry

This year-long Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry course is approved and certified by the College Board. It is intended to be the equivalent of a college level general chemistry course. AP Chemistry follows the program syllabus outlined by the College Board, in which students explore a range of advanced topics related to inorganic and organic chemistry. Students will participate in laboratory investigations that develop their inquiry skills and laboratory techniques, and will have an opportunity to enhance their mathematical abilities by working with quantitative data. This course provides a critical foundation for students interested in medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinarian sciences, chemistry, biology, engineering and other STEM related disciplines. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

Environmental Chemistry

This is a year-long course that extends the study of chemistry into areas dealing with the environment. Students will spend a brief period reviewing chemistry concepts learned in prior grades. Following this introduction, they will participate in learning experiences involving the chemistry of water, food, the human body, air, natural resources (including petroleum), and radioactive substances. The course includes students’ participation in laboratory investigations, and involves them in developing a deeper understanding of the chemical basis underlying the natural world.

 

AP Environmental Science

This year-long Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science course is approved and certified by the College Board. It is intended to be the equivalent of a college level environmental science course. AP Environmental Science follows the program syllabus outlined by the College Board, in which students use scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/ or preventing them. The following themes provide a foundation for the structure of the AP Environmental Science course: 1. Science is a process. 2. Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes. 3. The Earth itself is one interconnected system. 4. Humans alter natural systems. 5. Environmental problems have a cultural and social context. 6. Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. This course is considered an algebra-based science.

 

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