Seventh Grade, Eighth Grade, Ninth Grade
Middle School, Upper School
Fall: The semester began with the students learning about and incorporating the scientific method into understanding the biological world around them as scientists do in their work. Students worked on the eight characteristics of living things and then wrote a response to “Are viruses living or non-living using some or all of the 8 characteristics of living things to justify their response to the question”. Students then shared their opinions with each other through open discussion. The students explored the organization of life and types of cells through the interactive website “cellsalive.com” and the teacher generated graphic organizer to collect information about plant and animal cells. Students were given a cell project/extension to help guide them towards mastery of the different cell organelles. Students were given choices to answer the prompt, “Name and describe the function of the cell organelles” by: a) Composing a song/rap/poem, b) Composing an interCELLactic voyage story, c) Composing and illustrating a comic strip, or d) Composing a cell catalog. For the end of the semester project, the students researched and put a slide presentation together on one of the macromolecules of living things assigned: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids, and Nucleic Acids.
Spring: This semester, the students explored the human body systems including: the Digestive, Circulatory, Respiratory, Excretory, Endocrine, and Nervous Systems. In addition, the students also studied the process of the cell cycle and cell reproduction (mitosis) on the cellular level. Students were given a project to assess their understanding of the various organ systems, and to present their work to the class. The students were given three scenarios to choose from, along with a graphic organizer, and a presentation rubric to help them organize their thoughts and to formulate questions to ask of each other's project. This semester also included the practice skill of reading scientific text for information.
Key Learning Objectives:
Fall: Scientific Method, Characteristics of Living Things, Organization of Life, Types of Cells, Cell Organelles, and Macromolecules.
Spring: Digestive, Circulatory, Respiratory, Excretory, Endocrine, and Nervous Systems, Cell Cycle, Mitosis, and Meiosis