Science Department

Welcome to Vale Middle School Science!

The Vale Science Department is dedicated to providing engaging Science curriculum for all Vale students. Our curriculum covers a wide variety of Science disciplines including Chemistry, Physics, Earth and Space Science, and Biology. We will provide lessons and activities that motivate students to become problem solvers and investigators, good communicators, and accountable team members. The Science Department will implement best practices in lab safety, research, and instruction.  Student learning and content will be based on the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and the NISD Curriculum Framework.


Vale Science by Grade level

6th Grade Science will focus on matter and energy, Earth and space processes, and the environment. This curriculum serves as the foundation for middle school Science and is most directly connected to 8th grade concepts. 6th graders will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on and collaborative activities that help build their learning capacity and in-class social skills.


6th Grade Units

  • Properties of Matter
  • Energy and Resources
  • Force and Motion
  • Earth Processes
  • Organisms and Environment
  • Space

7th Grade Science will focus on Biology concepts, Earth’s surface, living systems, and space exploration. Students will gain an understanding of the human body and its systems, and how our role as organisms shape the environments around us. Additionally, 7th graders will have the unique opportunity to design lab experiments, complete hands-on dissections, and research varying topics. Advanced classes (Pre-AP) are offered 7th Grade Science to prepare students for Advanced 8th grade coursework.

  7th Grade Units

  • Cells
  • Human Body Systems
  • Reproduction and Heredity
  • Diversity of Living Things
  • Living Systems
  • Earth’s Changing Surface
  • Living in Space

8th Grade will focus on foundational skills in Chemistry, the study of forces on Earth, and the cyclical processes of Earth and Space. Participating in science investigations is an integral part of instruction in the 8th grade classroom.  Students will collaborate in their lab groups to get hands on experience to ensure their academic success and enjoy the experience of learning!  Another focus of 8th grade science is to prepare for the STAAR test, and to ensure students have mastered the fundamentals of Biology.

8th graders take a cumulative Science STAAR Exam that covers materials from all middle school grade levels.  Advanced classes (Pre-AP) are offered to 8th grade Science students to prepare them for Pre-Advanced and Advanced Placement high school courses.

 8th Grade Units

  • Ecosystems
  • Weather
  • Force and Motion
  • Geology
  • Chemistry
  • Astronomy


Please follow us on Twitter @NISDMSScience to see all the amazing things happening in science in middle school!


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:

20% Formative

40% Summative

40% Labs


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. 

Safety Contract English and Spanish


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.

Science 6 Consumable
Science 6 Consumable
Science 7 Consumable
Science 7 Consumable
Science 8 Consumable
Science 8 Consumable

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.


Think Central logo

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 to view and print released STAAR tests as well as login to access the online practice tests.

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