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I was reading this mega thread on science curriculum from a while back. The section on lab reports especially got me thinking. I'm now wondering what are my goals for science for 7th and 8th grade?

 

It seems like the general intro phase of the grammar stage is well behind me. My kids will grab science books and consume them willy nilly. It is honestly hard to keep up. I'm not sure that starting high school level science is the right choice for a couple of reasons. But I want to make sure that I've given them the skills of science study, experimentation and documentation that will allow them to suceed when they do hit high school science.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Updated to add: What are the goals and objectives that you have for logic stage science? Is there something like the grammar stage goal of learning to read or learning to count and add? What skills or habits or abilities should a student entering high school have already mastered?

Edited by Sebastian (a lady)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I wanted to bump this, partly because the mega thread linked has such gems and partly to ask the question about goals again.

 

If science in 7th and 8th grade is less about content and more about developing skills needed for high school, what are the skills that a high school science student ought to start high school knowing.

 

So far, I'm thinking of following a lab proceedure (reading the whole proceedure, following it step by step in order, measuring correctly, recording what happens), writing up understandable lab reports, and learning vocabulary (including identification of graphics).

 

I would probably add the ability to write short answers about a system or vocabulary. (Along the lines of "Describe the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide through the body" or "Describe the stages of development in a frog")

 

What other skills ought a student who is beginning high school level work bring to the process?

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Logic stage science is the point at which I transition from knowledge to explaining why. At this point, you have done some form of experimentation to demonstrate a concept or provide an example, watch the magnets repel or see the plant grow. These are all fact-filling missions, as I refer to them anyway. With that noted, I move towards filling the why and the how and concentrate on the scientific method. This includes experimentation that demonstrates or answers both. We watch the plant grow, we know the parts, but now lets look at the conversion of energy and the usage of resources to grow. Perhaps at this point, we would have a plant grown in the dark, one without water, et cetera - Careful notes, recording observations, and lastly a formal writeup.

 

As was mentioned in another post, this age, or grade, level is an excellent opportunity to complete a science-fair-type project.

 

These are my goals for logic stage science :

1. Answer how and why through reading and experimentation

2. Understand and use the scientific method

3. Produce a comprehensive and well-written lab report (including all parts as well as graphs and physical documentation)

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GOALS!?! I'm supposed to have GOALS!?!?

:willy_nilly:

 

LOL!

IDK, I've been more consumed with getting through all the science topics. We have been doing the Scientific Method from the beginning, so shes got that down. I've been having her outline her lessons and using them to answer the questions at the end of the chapter.

 

I guess I'm off to read TWTM again!

Dorinda:lol:

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We are approaching this from exactly the opposite end: we are using the logic stage to develop a wide background in science facts, phenomena and theories (so plenty of explanations for "why" something happens).

This background of general scientific knowledge will then be useful during the high school years when we do a very rigorous formal approach. This means, we are postponing formal lab work until high school. (My kids have zero desire to do anything "hands on" and prefer much to just read about it- so doing "labs" and projects would not make science more fun for them. I also do not find it particularly effective at this age.)

During logic stage, we are focusing on strong math skills -so that an 8th grader would be able to actually graph and quantitatively evaluate scientific data obtained from an experiment.

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I've never really sat down to make a formal list, although I'm very happy with how it has gone here, so in retrospect.... before high school science, what I'd like the kid to have mastered:

 

1. Being responsible in the lab -- this isn't just science, but general safety. I'd want a kid in high school science to be able to carry out procedures safely and independently. I don't stop supervising, but I expect that I don't have to remind him about goggles, or open flames, or cleaning up after himself... Someone here once posted that you can't do high school chemistry with a kid who can't cook dinner on his own, and that sums it up rather neatly.

 

2. Making connections -- being able to learn three different tests (say, for starch, protein, and simple sugars) and not only answer the question "what does iodine test for" but also "if you want to prove that this enzyme turns starch into simple sugars, how can you use the tests you know to do it?" I expect a high school student to be able to take that question and design and carry out the experiment... so a middle school student should be working in that direction. Maybe not "there" yet but at least starting to extend his knowledge beyond the recipe-type lab on to "how can this answer questions generally? what kinds of questions could it answer? when would you want to use this?" Again this isn't just a science skill, but a general skill that can be developed in all sorts of settings.

 

3. Writing -- not just reporting what happened, but being careful not to leave holes in the logic. Writing up the procedure and results with an eye toward what was actually proven. So for instance if you mix baking soda and vinegar (to go with the classics.... LOL) and a gas is produced which fills a balloon, you can't just say "and it's carbon dioxide because that's what vinegar and baking soda make" -- you have to have some evidence that it is in fact carbon dioxide. Does it put out a flame? acidify water when bubbled through? cloud limewater? This particular example is a little pedestrian, but the idea is if you have a substance I'd like it to be described in terms of observed properties and not assumptions of what you expect to see.

 

4. Math -- definitely strong math skills. I'd say Algebra 1 before high school science (although I know it's traditional for algebra to be run concurrently with biology...) Also at least the basics of statistics. Knowing when to use an average and when to use a median and how they're different, knowing what descriptive statistics actually tell you, and how "outlying" something is before it's an outlier, or how different something is before it's really different. This is an area where I think we're a little nuts, but it has made a huge difference in how DS has approached high school science. Basic descriptive statistics are not mathematically difficult and I really (REALLY) wish they were more widely taught alongside Algebra 1.

 

None of this requires formal science to work on... That's been our primary approach, but I already said we're a little nuts. ;) The only thing in my list that I think you'd have to go out of your way to do is the statistics... and I know that one is mostly wishful thinking on my part.

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I've moved more to experimental design as opposed to following a formula. FOr example, we used CPO Life science this year. THe experiment was to put elodea, an aquatic plant, into water with bromothymol blue, a pH indicator. I didn't let DS10 see the experimental design. I told him what he was supposed to do. Put BTB into the water, put in the plants, shine light on the plants....what do you expect will happen? What is the role of BTB? What controls do you need? What is the purpose of each control? What if this control were blue, was does that tell you about the rest of your results? WHat will the plant due when placed in light? Photosynthesis is correct. What products are formed? Write it out and balance the equation for me. Then back to the BTB role and what you expect to see. So it's less about getting experiment books and doing what is written, but thinking through the whys and hows.

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Regentrude,

 

My ds(10) is on the same math and science track as your dc. Would you mind sharing what science textbooks you use for the logic stage and for high school? Also, what will you do for labs in High School?

 

Thanks,

 

Ruth in NZ

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Regentrude,

 

My ds(10) is on the same math and science track as your dc. Would you mind sharing what science textbooks you use for the logic stage and for high school? Also, what will you do for labs in High School?

Thanks,

Ruth in NZ

 

5th grade DS (homeschooled since January): astronomy. Books from library, videos.

6th grade(this year): one semester Earth science with assorted resources - Jason.org, books form library, Tarbuck textbook, videos.

second semester: first chapters of Conceptual Physics by Hewitt ; now we are just reading and watching videos for general science ed.

 

7th possibly Biology Exploring the way life works (which DDdid not like, but he is not ready for Campbell.

 

DD has been homeschooled since 7th grade:

7th grade: biology Campbell/Reece Concepts and Connections. No lab.

8th grade: College Physics; Knight, Jones, Fields; with self designed labs - we are almost through the year and will probably declare this her freshman year

next year 10th: Chemistry Chang General Chemistry; probably labpaq for lab

11th: AP biology - not sure how

12th Calculus based physics at the university

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I've tried to keep my eye on goals as put forth in TWTM:

 

In the middle grades, your goal is to equip the child with a good working knowledge of the building blocks of each scientific field and to think critically about doing science. He will learn how scientists in each field use experimentation to confirm theories. And through experimentation, he'll practice using the scientific method himself.

 

That is a bit of a mishmash of statements from several editions of TWTM.

 

So, I have some smaller goals, such as learning how to write up an experiment and learning how math is used by scientists, but those are my larger goals for the next few years. If I do that, I am happy.

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I would add one more skill.

 

Accurate interpretation of data. For instance, the earth science program we use includes an activity in which the child is to graph the height of high tides and lows tides at a particular location for an entire month. Then he is asked to record the new moon, quarter moon, full moon on the same graph. He is to deduce whether the relative positions of the moon-sun-earth have any effect on the tides or differentials between the high and low tides.

 

This is when science starts to get really fun! We are beyond the basic facts and principles of science learned in the grammar stage (of course we review these) but are moving on to interpretation and critical thinking skills.

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Regentrude - How much of the Concepts and Connections did you cover? That book is huge w/ fine print.

 

We did not finish the whole book in 7th grade, but it was no problem since we knew that there would be another biology class at some later point. She spent 155 hours on biology that year (including supplementary reading). DD covered (i.e. took notes on the reading and completed the quizzes and activities on the CD):

ch. 1-7 Unit I (Life of the cell)

only ch. 8 of Unit II

Ch. 13 of Unit III on evolution (we had covered evolution with other resources extensively)

ch. 16-19 Unit IV (evolution of biological diversity)

ch. 20-24 Unit V

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