Our sixth grade curriculum focuses on Earth Science. Some of the major topics are: Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes, Atmosphere, Soil and Erosion, Earth in Space, Energy Resources, and Environmental Issues. The children study Physical Science in 7th and Life Science in 8th, however many of those topics are reinforced in 6th grade, as well. Our write-in science series by Pearson (junior high version) was new in 2016. As in the past, this series is available on-line. Lab day for the sixth grade is on Wednesdays. However, we do quick labs and those taking more than one day directly in the classroom.
The children are encouraged to bring into class anything that would enrich scientific knowledge for their classmates. Examples would be evidence of labs they have done at home or interesting observations (pictures are always great) they’ve experienced on family outings. With their iPads available at home, they have my permission to use that as a tool to gain knowledge of current science events to share with the class. I encourage the children to use the app NewsELA to be informed about what is happening in their world in science. We use this app in class, as well. Often, a parent has an expertise in a subject we are studying, and we always welcome these talented guest speakers!
Grading is done on a point system. Grades are based on daily work, labs, quizzes, and activities/projects. Tests will be announced at least one week in advance. In addition to reviewing notes, worksheets/pages, etc., the children are expected to reread the material in the chapters we cover. Activities/projects are done almost totally at school, with occasional parent involvement in brainstorming.
STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, art, and math) projects are incorporated throughout the year in conjunction with the 6th grade curriculums.
My expectations for my students are:
- Be respectful and sensitive toward others.
- Acknowledge that everyone has something to contribute.
- Cooperate on group activities.
- Listen attentively to anyone who is speaking.
- Be prepared for class by bringing all materials.
- Complete homework and class assignments on time.
- Use iPads for a variety of purposes directed by the teacher.
- Don’t worry about making mistakes.
- Remember that science is about trying new things.
- Don’t expect to always get the results that you expected.
To conclude, I always like to add this quote from John Whitsett, at NSTA:
“To succeed in the 21st Century, students have to learn how to be creative problem solvers who can work in collaborative groups. These new-world students must have the ability to think critically, use technology efficiently, and communicate effectively.”