7th Grade Course Syllabus

In this inquiry-based course, students will explore life and physical science concepts. There are six major units of study (see below). investigations in class will provide meaningful opportunities for students to make connections to other disciplines including mathematics, engineering, and art. Daily lab experiences will promote the development of technology, literacy, and communication skills. Working as scientists, students in this course will conduct and design experiments, make observations, record and analyze data, and develop scientific explanations.  Through these experiences, students will develop the content knowledge, critical thinking skills, lab protocols, and safety procedures necessary to excel at the high school level.

Materials: Spiral notebook (green, 3-subject is ideal), student planner, writing utensil, iPad

Homework: You and your family can expect that you will have homework Monday through Thursday.  It should take about 10 - 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.

Learning targets: Learning targets are the essential concepts and skills students will master in this course and are closely aligned with Minnesota state standards for science. Each long term-target can be found at  7th Grade Learning Targets. Daily learning targets will be posted in our classroom. Like steps on a staircase, the daily targets will support students in progressing towards mastery of the long-term targets in all 6 of our units:

  1. Natural Systems (Aug - Sept):  In what ways are the organisms in an ecosystem interconnected?
  2. Diversity (Sept - Oct):  How are the characteristics of an organism related to its genes and the environment?
  3. Physical Properties of Matter (Nov - Dec):  How do the properties of materials determine their uses?
  4. Mixtures and Solutions (Jan - Feb): What roles do mixtures and solutions play in our daily lives?
  5. Elements, Compounds, and Chemical Reactions (Feb - Mar):   What types of substances are pure? Which reactions are the most common?
  6. Structure and Function of Living Systems (Apr - Jun):  How do our bodies work?

Re-do’s, retakes, revising policy: Students may revise their work or re-take a learning target assessment in order to demonstrate increased learning. Before re-taking an assessment, students will be asked to demonstrate additional practice on the learning target, and the assessment may occur in a different format than the original assessment.  Sites such as BrainPop or Study Jams are encouraged for the student to use to refresh or enhance their knowledge.  Some specific interactive lessons may be found on FossWeb to help students as well.  The username & password are both 316Earth.

Standards-based grading: The purpose of standards-based grading is to align grading with the mastery of state content standards as measured by consistent student achievement data and common criteria for grading. The primary goal of SBG is to better communicate what each student knows and is able to do, as well as to inform the teacher, student, and parent what may be next steps for areas for growth. At Ramsey Middle School, standards-based learning targets are assessed on a 4-point scale to indicate the proficiency level at which the student has mastered the learning target.






Partially proficient


Not proficient


No errors

Fully developed

Fully supported

Exceeds criteria

Sophisticated understanding

Most effective

On target


Few errors

Meets criteria

Adequately developed

Adequately supported

Mastery level

Satisfactory skills

Almost there

Errors detract from mastery


Meets some criteria

Partially developed

Partially supported

Partial understanding

Not yet mastered

Keep trying!

Not accurate


Does not meet criteria

Minimally developed

Minimally supported

Inadequate or incomplete

Beginning level mastery


Questions? Comments? Email is the best way to contact me in the mean time. Please do not hesitate to send questions or comments!

Sincerely, Alex Fowler (alex.fowler@mpls.k12.mn.us)



Monday Afternoons (3:45 - 4:30)

Thursday Mornings (7:45 - 8:20)

Lunch by appointment