6th Grade Science                                                 Mrs. Halbach, room 213, Justice Page Middle School                                    


Course description: In this inquiry-based course, students will explore physical science and life science concepts. There are four major units of study. These investigations will provide meaningful opportunities for students to make connections to other disciplines including mathematics, engineering, and art.



Essential Questions

Aug - Sept

Practice of Science and Engineering

What do scientists/engineers do and how do these practices affect my life?

Oct - Jan

Motion and Energy

What affects how things move?

Feb – April

Sound and Light Wave Energy

What are the properties and characteristics of waves?


Structure and Function of Living Systems

What does it mean to be living?


Materials: Binder with notebooks and loose-leaf paper, student planner, pencils

Homework: Students can expect a range of one to three homework assignments per week. Many times, this will be finishing work started in class. Any homework will be posted daily on the front board in class.

Late Work: Late work is only accepted if there has been an absence or if a student discusses and arranges an extension with the teacher for circumstances in which more work time is needed.

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. There are 3-6 Learning Targets in each Unit. 5-8 of those learning targets will be assessed each semester (i.e. test or project). Daily learning targets will be posted in our classroom with the objective for the day. These daily targets will support students in progressing towards mastery of the long-term targets.

Unit 1 Learning Targets

Apply engineer design process to solve a problem

Plan and conduct a controlled experiment

Explain gravitational force and the factors that affect it


Unit 2 Learning Targets

Explain how force affects motion

Analyze energy transfer

Identify and describe parts of a system

Measure, calculate, and graph the motion of objects.

Demonstrate and provide evidence that forces can be balanced or unbalanced.

Demonstrate energy transformation between potential and kinetic energy


Unit 3 Learning Targets

Describe properties of waves

Explain energy transfer in sound

Explain reflection, refraction, and the electromagnetic spectrum


Unit 4 Learning Targets

Compare life functions between kingdoms

Distinguish between plant and animal cells

Explain specialized cells and organization of living things

Explain why cells divide

Contrast sexual and asexual reproduction


Retakes and revising policy: Students may revise their work or re-take a learning target assessment in order to demonstrate increased learning on assessments (long-term learning targets). Before re-taking an assessment, students must discuss with the teacher and will be asked to demonstrate additional practice on the learning target before re-assessing. The re-assessment may occur in a different format than the original assessment. All retakes, and revisions are due by two weeks within the end of the unit.

Standards-based grading:  Assignment grades will be based on the JPS 4-point Standards-Based Grading Scale The Student/Parent Portal then translates those grades into overall letter grades. Please see the separate handout about SBG and letter grades for details.

My goal is to help all students reach proficiency level (3), meaning they are demonstrating appropriate sixth grade science skills aligned with the above learning targets.

My expectation for student work in sixth grade is high, and I want all students to be able to celebrate their successes, wherever they may be.






Partially proficient


Not proficient


No errors

Fully developed

Fully supported

Exceeds criteria

Sophisticated understanding

Most effective

On target


Few errors

Meets criteria

Adequately developed

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

Accessing work from home: Assignments can be found on either our class GoogleClassroom page using MPS student username and password for technology-based assignments and/or as an attached document on parent portal (for hard copy assignments)

Parent Volunteers: Anyone working in a science or engineering field is welcome to come in and speak at our scientists and engineer career day in Oct/Nov. E-mail notification will be sent closer to the actual date.

Questions? Comments? I am very excited for the year ahead! Email is the best way to contact me ( Please do not hesitate to send questions or comments!