7th Grade Course Syllabus

7th Grade Science Syllabus

This year in Science will be one of the best of your lives!  You will learn more than you ever have about life and physical science. By the end of the year, you will have the content knowledge, critical thinking skills, lab protocols, and safety procedures necessary to excel in 8th grade and beyond.

A Day in the Life:  Each day, you will enter class, get out your notebook and do the “Notebook” on the board.  These 10 minutes or so will get you thinking, talking and/or writing about the topic of the day.  After that, you will learn about the topic as a scientist:  conducting and designing experiments, making observations, discussing key concepts, relating ideas to current events, writing scientific explanations, etc...

Required Materials: Spiral notebook, student planner, writing utensil (all should be in your binder)

Learning Targets: Learning targets are the essential concepts and skills you will master in this course and are closely aligned with Minnesota state standards for Science.  Each long term-target can be found here, but main topics are in the table below.  Daily learning targets will be posted in our classroom. Like steps on a staircase, the daily targets will support you in progressing towards mastery of the long-term targets in all 6 of our units:

UNIT

TIME

LEARNING TARGET TOPICS

ESSENTIAL QUESTION TO ANSWER

1 – Natural Systems

Aug - Oct

Ecosystem, food webs, energy pyramids, biotic and abiotic effects on populations, impact of humans on environment

In what ways are the organisms in an ecosystem interconnected?

2 - Diversity

Oct - Nov

Adaptations, natural selection, heredity, common ancestor

How are the characteristics of an organism related to its genes and the environment?

3 - Physical Properties of Matter

Dec – Jan

Lab safety, tools, & measurement, density, melting point, boiling point, physical change

How do the properties of materials determine their uses?

4 - Mixtures & Solutions

Jan - Feb

Pure vs. mixtures, Solubility, controlled experiment, scientific explanations

What roles do mixtures and solutions play in our daily lives?

5 - Elements, Compounds & Chemical Reactions

Feb - Mar

Atomic Theory, physical vs. chemical change, acids, Law of Conservation of Matter, Particle Theory

What types of substances are pure? Which reactions are the most common?

6 - Human Body & Disease

Apr - Jun

Cell structure & function, organ systems, microbes, immune system, infectious disease

How do our bodies work?

Grading and Assessment:  For all 24 learning targets, there will be an assessment particular to that learning.  These “Learning Target Assessments” will be worth 80% of your final grade.  The homework and classwork “practice” that leads towards the learning of these concepts will be worth 10%.  Finally, 10% of the grade with be “work habits,” which includes effort and participation.

While overall grades will be a letter (A, B, C, D, F), assignment grades will be based on a 4-point Standards-Based Grading Scale.  See separate handout for more details about Standards-Based Grading.

Homework: You can expect to have homework Monday through Thursday.  It should take between five to 20 minutes each night.  Each day’s homework will be written in the planner, so that you and your family can check what needs to get done.  If you have need of an extra reminder or possible conversation starter, join Remind.com to get texts about the homework.

Re-do’s, retakes, revising policy: My goal is that all students reach proficiency level (3), meaning they are demonstrating appropriate 7th grade knowledge and skills.  If you need help or to redo an assessment, I encourage you to come in during lunch, after school on Mondays or before school on Wednesdays during that quarter so that you can show what you know. Before re-taking an assessment, you must demonstrate additional practice on the learning target. Sites such as BrainPop or Study Jams are encouraged for you to refresh or enhance your knowledge.  Some specific interactive lessons may be found on FossWeb to help you as well.  The username & password are both 316Earth.

Family Involvement:  Science is everywhere and the best thing families can do to foster creativity is to ask questions and analyze the world around them.  If those questions relate to our learning, our classroom community will benefit most.  Therefore, families, check the planner or read the Remind texts to ask questions to prompt your students. 

Of course, middle school is also about forming work habits, therefore, make sure your student has somewhere to study.  Please help them get into the habit of checking their planner to see what they have to do as well as crossing it off when it’s done.  If you find your student is behind on work, check the parent portal or check the student portal with them.  Click on any “assignment,” and it should say what the student should do and possibly where to find it such as “MyMPS” or “JPMS,” which is my page on the school’s website.  Most work is not worksheet-based and what will pop up in the portal will be what do such as “write a paragraph contrasting atom and molecule.” If your student has questions, encourage them to look it up, email me or come in for help. 

Questions? Comments? Email is the best way to contact me.  Please do not hesitate to send questions or comments!  I look forward to having a great year!

Sincerely,

Alex Fowler

alex.fowler@mpls.k12.mn.us

http://page.mpls.k12.mn.us/fowler

 

 

OFFICE HOURS

 

Monday Afternoons (3:45 - 4:30)

Thursday Mornings (7:45 - 8:20)

Lunch by appointment