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Academic Science Grades 6 - 8
Grades 6, 7 and 8 science are all interdisciplinary in nature. However, each grade does have a specific content focus with 6th grade focusing on physical science, 7th grade focusing on organisms and environment and 8th grade focusing on earth and space.
In all science classes, students use models and events as tools for understanding how the natural world works. Students learn that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and the methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made.
Advanced Science Grades 7 and 8
Advanced science classes do cover the same content as the academic science courses and participate in the same practices for understanding the natural world. However, students should expect a more rigorous class with more in-depth classroom discussions using the Argument Driven Inquiry (ADI) model and an increased amount of reading and writing assignments known as Free Response Questions (FRQ) as they prepare for future Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams.
Please Note: Students do not earn high school credit in the advanced science courses.
Middle School Science District Calendar
The suggested pacing for all grades can be found on the: All level MS Science Pacing Calendar
This All Level MS Science Pacing Calendar outlines the suggested pacing for the units in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science by the approximate number of weeks.
All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade middle school science students also participate in two science Curriculum Diagnostic Benchmarks (CDB) each year. Please contact your child’s science teacher for information as to when those exams will be administered.
Middle School Science District Grading Policy
The state requires that at least 40% of instructional time be spent conducting laboratory and field investigations. The district grading policy for middle school science is as follows:
Safety and Equipment in the Science Lab
All students have the opportunity to work with a variety of equipment during their three years in middle school, including but not limited to data collecting devices, motion detectors, and temperature probes, compound and digital microscopes, spring scales, triple beam balances, graduated cylinders, dissecting equipment and models.
Teachers receive annual science safety training in operating and maintaining a safe learning environment for their students. Students are expected to sign a district science safety contract each year and review safety expectations before participating in any lab experience.
Science Fusion Textbook
Middle school science students use the Science Fusion textbook published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH). This textbook is a consumable resource, meaning it is replaced every year. Therefore, students are encouraged to write in it as well as tear out the pages to use the diagrams in their science notebooks. Images of the textbooks for each grade level are shown.
Students are also able to access an online version of the textbook, which includes options to have the book read aloud to the student. The online platform, known as ThinkCentral, also has digital lessons and interactive virtual labs and can be accessed through the student’s NISD portal. Look for the following icon.
Grade 8 Science STAAR
Middle school students participate in a cumulative Science STAAR test at the end of their 8th grade year. Students prepare all three years for this test focusing on the mastery of TEKS considered to be foundational as well as TEKS directly assessed on STAAR. The Quick Reference Guide identifies those standards directly assessed on the 8th grade STAAR test. The STAAR Grade 8 Science Reference Materials is provided by the Texas Education Agency, TEA, and can be used on the 8th grade STAAR test.
Parents and students can access the Texas Assessment Family Portal at texasassessment.gov to view and print released STAAR tests as well as login to access the online practice tests.