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6-8 Science (Cycle 1)

December 6, 2019 | Sam Choi

Instructor: Mr. Choi

I. Earth, Moon and Sun (Fall Term)

Unit Summary:

In this Unit students will explore the physical properties of the Earth, the Moon and the Sun. They will also learn how these three heavenly bodies interact with each other. Along the way we will debunk common misconceptions using models to aid the students understanding.

Essential Questions:

  • How was the Earth, the Moon and the Sun formed?
  • How big is the Earth, the Moon and the Sun?
  • How far are the Moon and the Sun from the Earth?
  • What are the different layers of the Earth?
  • What are the results of the interaction between the different layers of the Earth?
  • What are the different layers of the Earth’s atmosphere?
  • What is planetary motion?
  • What type of forces affect planetary motion?
  • How did our current understanding of planetary motion develop?
  • What causes day and night?
  • What causes the seasons?
  • How does the moon affect the tides on the Earth?
  • What causes the different phases of the moon?
  • What causes solar and lunar eclipses?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • the Sun is much, much larger than the Earth (about 1.3 million Earths can fit into the Sun)
  • the Sun is the main source of energy on the Earth
  • the Moon influences the tides on the Earth
  • the Earth is made up of different layers
  • the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of different layers
  • convection in the mantle causes the movement of the plate tectonics
  • earthquakes, volcanoes and mountains are results of the way plate tectonics interact with each other
  • gravity, acceleration and kinetic/potential energy are types of forces that act upon planetary motion
  • our current understanding of planetary motion is only possible because of past scientists and their research/experiments
  • the rotation of the Earth is why we have days and nights
  • the axial tilt of the Earth is why days and nights vary greater near the poles and are consistent near the equator
  • the axial tilt of the Earth and not its proximity to the Sun is the reason for the seasons
  • the reflection of the Sun on the Moon results in its different phases
  • a solar eclipse is when the Moon moves in front of the Sun and a lunar eclipse is when the Sun’s reflection on the Moon is blocked by the Earth
  • the difference between a lunar eclipse and a new moon

Skills

Students will be able to…

  • convert between km and miles
  • convert between standard and scientific notations
  • form a hypothesis and create investigations to test out their ideas
  • collaborate with peers in carrying investigations
  • use various computer programs to create a digital presentation
  • use models to develop further understanding
  • use scales and proportions to create accurate models
  • collect, graph and analyze data
  • take clear and concise notes
  • research both printed and digital material on relevant topics

II. Our Solar System and Beyond (Winter Term)

Unit Summary:
In this Unit students will explore our Solar System and the different planetary bodies that are part of it. They will then go beyond our Solar System to investigate our galaxy and galaxies in general and finally the Universe as a whole.

Essential Questions:

  • What units are used to measure vast distances in space?
  • How did our Solar System form?
  • What makes up our Solar System?
  • What is the difference between a star, a planet and a moon?
  • What is the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet? (or why is Pluto no longer a planet?)
  • What is the difference between a meteor, asteroid and comet?
  • What is beyond our Solar System?
  • What are the different types of stars?
  • What is the life cycle of a star?
  • What constitutes a galaxy?
  • What different types of galaxies are out there?
  • What type of galaxy is the Milky Way?
  • How were galaxies formed?
  • Do galaxies change?
  • What is beyond our galaxy?
  • What is the Universe?
  • How did the Universe form?
  • What are the major forces that govern the Universe?
  • What is dark matter?
  • How will the Universe end?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • distances in space are often measured in Astronomical Units (AU) and Light Years (ly).
  • our solar system is made up of the Sun and everything that travels around it.
  • our Solar System consists of more than just the Sun and the planets.
  • stars are categorized by their size and color.
  • all stars go through a very predictable life cycle
  • galaxies are defined by the stars contained within them.
  • galaxies contain hundreds of billions of stars.
  • there are different types of galaxies.
  • galaxies evolve over time.
  • the Universe is made up of hundreds of billions of galaxies.
  • the Big Bang is the leading scientific theory on how the Universe began.
  • the Universe is governed by four major forces.
  • scientists have several theories on how the Universe will eventually come to an end.
  • there are a lot of things that are still a mystery about the Universe.

Skills

Students will be able to…

  • convert the distances within our Solar System to Astronomical Units.
  • convert the distances on the galactic and universal scale to Light Years.
  • form a hypothesis and create investigations to test out their ideas
  • collaborate with peers in carrying out investigations
  • use various computer programs to create a digital presentation
  • collect, graph and analyze data
  • take clear and concise notes
  • research both printed and digital material on relevant topics
  • use models to develop further understanding
  • use scales and proportions to create accurate models

III. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes/Heredity-Inheritance and Variation of Traits (Spring Term)

Unit Summary:

In this Unit students will find out about the cell theory and the role of cells as the building blocks of life in all organisms. They will learn about the compounds that make up cells and how specialized cells differ in structure and function. Students will also discover how cells work to gather, release, store, and use energy to carry out life processes. The will find out about genes, chromosomes, and DNA. They will discover how traits are passed from generation to generation through heredity and how natural selection operates.1 They will also learn about mutations and genetic engineering. Finally students will learn about different systems that make up the human body and the role homeostasis plays in keeping one healthy. 1 DNA: From Genes to Proteins (Delta Science Modules: 3rd Edition)

Essential Questions:

  • What are cells?
  • What is inside a cell?
  • How do cells carry out life processes?
  • How do cells grow and reproduce?
  • How are heredity and genetics related?
  • How are traits inherited?
  • Why do members of the same species look different?
  • What is mutation and how does it occur?
  • What is genetic engineering?
  • What is homeostasis?
  • Why is homeostasis important?
  • What is the difference between anatomy and physiology?
  • What are the major systems of the human body and their functions?
  • What are the major organs of the human body and their functions?
  • How do the major systems of the human body interact with each other?

Desired Understanding

Students will understand…

  • cells are the building blocks of all living organisms.
  • cells themselves are made of four main organic compounds.
  • cells can be organized into different types and structures.
  • certain cells (eukaryotic cells) have different organelles that carry out specific functions.
  • all cells must take in energy, water, and other materials and must eliminate waste.
  • cells must gather energy, store it, and then release that energy again in order to perform tasks.
  • like all living things, cells go through a life cycle that includes growth and reproduction.
  • traits are passed down from one generation to the next.
  • the genetic make up of an organism causes variation in the physical make up of an organisms.
  • mutations can occur naturally and through human intervention.
  • the human body is constantly trying to maintain homeostasis or balance.
  • the human body is a collection of interrelated systems
  • anatomy and physiology are directly related to each other.

Skills
Students will be able to…

  • name the major systems of the human body and their functions
  • identify the major organs of the human body and their functions
  • form a hypothesis and create investigations to test out their ideas
  • collaborate with peers in carrying out investigations
  • use various computer programs to create a digital presentation
  • collect, graph and analyze data
  • take clear and concise notes
  • research both printed and digital material on relevant topics
  • use models to develop further understanding
  • use scales and proportions to create accurate models
  • Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students’ own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

Sam Choi

Teacher, Grade 8; Science, History, and Ethics, Sixth to Eighth Grades

Mr. Choi has been teaching for over twenty years. Prior to Mustard Seed, Mr. Choi taught at a high school and a middle school for students with language based learning differences. He has also taught at an after school tutoring center and a standardized test prep center.

Over his career, Mr. Choi has taught high school Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Computer Programming, Algebra I and II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and US and European History. He has also taught middle school PE, Health, Earth Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, World History and Language Arts, as well as Ethics, Civics, Economics, Christian Studies and Geography.

Mr. Choi enjoys running, watching movies, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs; he has been an avid fan of these teams since 1980.
He is married to Abby Hall Choi and is the father of Noah (MSS Class of 2027) and Jacob (MSS class of 2030).

Mr. Choi was born in Pusan, South Korea, and emigrated to the United States in 1980 with his parents and older brother and sister. He first lived in Kansas City, Kansas and then moved to San Diego, California in 1986. In 2007, Mr. Choi moved to Jersey City, New Jersey. He quickly discovered that living in Southern California does not equip one to survive anywhere outside of Southern California.

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