Syllabus Earth Science 8

Syllabus: MYP Earth Science 8

Contact Info:
Science Teacher: Dale Dickhausen, Room #1320
Phone: (651) 293-8950  ext.1699
Parent Portal: 

I    Course Description
Earth Science 8 is a year-long course that weaves together both science skills and science content knowledge so that students understand how scientists go about doing their work and acquiring new knowledge as well as how science connects to everyday life. Specific content includes the practice of science and engineering (design cycle); interactions among science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and society; knowledge of Earth’s structure processes and systems; knowledge of the Earth’s place in the universe and human interactions with the environment.

Our study of science will be:   
    -HOLISTIC… We will use other disciplines to help us understand the earth and earth systems.
    -INTERCULTURAL… We will examine a variety of viewpoints and consider alternative perspectives that frame scientific topic from an international perspective.
    -COMMUNICATION… We will expand our communication competencies in critical reading, speaking, and writing. As the final step in the scientific method, communication skills are necessary to be able to share all ideas that have been studied.

This course helps students prepare for success in the IB Middle Years Program (MYP) by cultivating inquiring minds, by developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills necessary to work with fragmentary evidence, by examining local and global points of view on science, and by building systems that observe, classify, explain, and relate information from a variety of sources.

The study of science is a natural laboratory for developing in students habits of mind that support the IB LEARNER PROFILE. Throughout the year we learn using real world problems, inquiry lab experiments, and analysis of scientific data. Scientific notebooks will be used as a record of learning as students become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open minded, caring, risk takers, balanced, and reflective.

II     Units of Study

1)  Me and Einstein- How do I as a scientist discover new things and share what I find? (Environment).
Topics covered: Nature of Science

2)  You Are What You See- How do my own everyday activities affect the environment? (Community and Service).
Topics covered: The Natural Environment

3)  Weather or Not- Why does weather change around me? (Health & Social Education).
Topics covered: Meteorology

4)  Bust a Move- How have scientific discoveries about motion affected my life? (Human Ingenuity).
Topics covered: Forces and Motion

5)  As a Matter of Fact- How important is chemistry in my life? (Environment).
Topics covered: Chemistry

6)  Minnesota Really Rocks- How do geological processes change the landscape of Minnesota? (Community and Service).
Topics covered: Rocks, Minerals, Rock Cycle, Relative dating, Weathering & Erosion, and Plate Tectonics.

7)  The Milky Way is More Than a Candy Bar- What is beyond my atmosphere? (Human Ingenuity).
Topics covered: Astronomy

III    Areas of Interaction
Each science unit will be approached using a particular focus or Area of Interaction: Environment, Health & Social Education, Human Ingenuity, Community & Service, and Approaches to Learning.

IV    Texts
Primary text… Prentice Hall, Earth Science
Supplemental texts… Prentice Hall, Science Explore Series:
    Electricity & Magnetism (N)
    Sound & Light (O)
    Forces & Energy (M)
**An online version of the textbook is available at:
Student username:  earthsciencehp     Student password: highlandpark

V    Methodology
In the MYP science instruction a variety of media will be used to access information with a focus on inquiry methods and collaborative group work. This will allow students to utilize the Approaches to Learning in science. MYP Approaches to Learning include: organizational skills, collaborative skills, communication, information literacy, reflection, problem solving and thinking skills, science-specific and interdisciplinary understanding.

VI    Methods of Assessment
Student grades are based on:
60% = Summative Assessments (projects & presentations, tests, quizzes, and labs).
40% = Formative Assessments (daily homework, science notebooks, labs, other class work and participation).

In 8th grade Earth Science, a heavier emphasis is placed upon Summative Assessments such as projects, tests, quizzes, and lab investigations resulting in 60% of the finale grade. Summative assessments will be based upon MN state science standard and the MYP (Middle Years Program) aims and objectives. The remaining 40% of a student’s grade is from Formative Assessments including homework assignments, classroom participation, science notebooks, lab activities, etc. Formative Assessments are used to help students and teachers gauge where students are in the learning process as they prepare to apply their learning on the Summative Assessments.

VII    Grading and Reporting
The school year at Highland Park Junior High is divided into three grading periods or trimesters with a mid-term progress report and a final grade for each trimester. Student achievement on Summative Assessments will be based on the following MYP criteria:

MYP Objectives & Criteria:

One World- Students will understand the interdependence between science and the local an global society.
Communication in Science- Students will develop their communication skills using a variety of formats.
Knowledge and Understanding of Science- Students will understand the main ideas and concepts in Earth Science and how to use them to solve problems.
Scientific Inquiry- Students will develop skills to design and carry out scientific investigations.
Processing Data- Students will record, organize, and process data.
Attitudes in Science- Students will be encouraged in their development as caring and responsible members of society.

A minimum of two specific tasks (assignments) will be assessed for each criterion each trimester. The student’s final grade will be determined by the results of their

Formative (40%) and Summative (60%) Assessments.

State and District Science Standards

The Nature of Science & Engineering Standards
The Practice of Science:
( The student will understand that science is a way of knowing about the natural world and is characterized by empirical data, logical argument, and skeptical review.
( The student will understand that scientific inquiry uses multiple interrelated processes to investigate questions and propose explanations about the natural world.

Interaction among Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Society:
( The student will understand that men and women throughout the history of all cultures, including Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities, have been involved in engineering design and scientific inquiry.
( The student will understand that science and engineering operate in the context of society and both influence and are influenced by this context.
( The student will understand that current and emerging technologies have enabled humans to develop and use models to understand and communicate how natural and designed systems work and interact.

Physical Science Standards
( The student will understand that pure substances can be identified by properties which are independent of the sample of the substance and the properties can be explained by a model of matter that is composed of small particles.
( The student will understand that substances can undergo physical and/or chemical changes which may change the properties of the substance but do not change the total mass in a closed system.
( The student will understand that waves involve the transfer of energy without the transfer of matter.

Earth and Space Science Standards
Earth Structure and Processes:
( The student will understand that the movement of tectonic plates results from interaction among the lithosphere, mantle, and core.
( The student will understand that landforms are the result of the combination of constructive and destructive processes.
( The student will understand that rocks and rock formations indicate evidence of the materials and conditions that produced ther ocks.
Interdependence within the Earth System:
( The student will understand that the sun is the principal external energy source for the Earth.
( The student will understand that patterns of atmospheric movement influence global climate and local weather.
( The student will understand that water, which covers the majority of the Earth’s surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known a the water cycle.
The Universe:
( The student will understand that the Earth is the third planet form the sun in a system that includes the moon, the sun, seven other planets and their moons, and other smaller objects.
Human Interaction with Earth Systems:
( The student will understand that in order to maintain and improve their existence, humans interact with and influence Earth systems.


MYP (Middle Years Program) Aims & Objectives

Develop inquiring minds and curiosity about science and the natural world.

Acquire knowledge, conceptual understanding, and skills to solve problems and make informed decisions in scientific and other contexts.

Develop skills of scientific inquiry to design and carry out scientific investigations and evaluate scientific evidence to draw conclusions.

Communicate scientific ideas, arguments, and practical experiences accurately in a variety of ways.

Think analytically, critically, and creatively to solve problems, judge arguments, and make decisions in scientific and other contexts.

Appreciate the benefits and limitations of science and its application in technological developments.

Understand the international nature of science and the interdependence of science, technology, and society, including the benefits, limitations, and implications imposed by social, economic, political, environmental, cultural, and ethical factors.

Demonstrate attitudes and develop values of honesty and respect for themselves, others, and their shared environment.

** We will address MYP Science Objectives through each state content standard: One World, Communication in Science, Knowledge and Understanding of Science, Scientific Inquiry, Processing Data, and Attitudes in Science. For a description of these objectives, see section VII of this syllabus (Grading and Reporting).


Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625 | 360 Colborne Street, Saint Paul, MN, 55102|651-767-8100| | NON-DISCRIMINATION NOTICE