The goal of the junior high science program is to develop a foundational understanding of science that emphasizes the use of hands-on, inquiry-based activities as well as the development of proper scientific inquiry skills. Inquiry- based activities are designed to encourage students to observe, question, theorize, make models, and gather data. In addition, the science program integrates the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills that will enhance the success of our students now and in the future.
Sixth grade science focuses on Earth and space science. Students enjoy learning and investigating about our home planet as well as our place in the solar system and universe. Seventh grade science focuses on the life sciences. Students will develop a greater understanding about cells, DNA, the kingdoms of life, and the human body. Students will also learn about different diseases and different forms of disease prevention and risk factors. In eighth grade we focus on the physical sciences of physics and chemistry. Students perform physics investigations to learn about topics such as Newton’s Laws of Motion, Bernoulli’s Principal, and Archimedes Principle. They will also develop a basic understanding of an atom and the periodic table.
Each level of junior high science integrates technology into our learning through the use of the SMART board, Chromebooks and 3D printers. Students will learn how to design 3D models and components using an online CAD program. These 3D objects will then be printed out to help model concepts we are currently studying or will be used as components in lab activities for further exploration and investigation.
In addition to the above core science curriculum, this year the seventh graders are also participating in a trimester long robotics class where they will be introduced to the world of robotics through block programming and basic programming languages. This year we are using Robotic Arm Edge, BoeBots, Sphero robots, and Parrot Mambo Drones during our robotics class. Our seventh graders are also participating in the Growing Beyond Earth program which is funded through a partnership between the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and NASA. Our students will be actively testing edible plant cultivars to assist scientists at NASA. Our data will help determine which plants will be considered for growth in future space missions. You can follow our project on Twitter @SjaSpaceFarmers.
This year all sixth grade students will participate in a trimester long coding class. Our coding class will be using the Code.org Computer Science Discoveries curriculum. Students will have an opportunity to learn HTML and JAVA script while creating their own website and app.
The junior high science department is continually looking for ways to bring real world science into the classroom through programs sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol, NASA, SCARCE, and other organizations. One example of this is the ISS Above device that has been installed in our science classroom that allows us to track the International Space Station and allows students to see live images from cameras mounted on the ISS.