# Middle Level Science

Middle Level Student Success in Science

### Top Science Categories

#### Curriculum Titles

DESCRIPTION

In Air and Water, students learn about Earth’s dynamic systems of air and water. Students investigate Earth’s atmosphere, the water cycle, weather forecasting, and how water is cleaned.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

• Name the four parts of the water cycle.
• Name three layers of the atmosphere.
• Explain why the Sun causes weather.
• Explain how weather moves across the United States.

ACTIVITIES

• Draw arcs and label the atmosphere.
• Make clouds using cotton balls.
• Model the hydrologic process.
• Practice forecasting weather.
• Test water and model the amount of each type of water on Earth.
• Learn how sewer systems clean water.

#### 3-week unit

##### OVERVIEW

Introduce students to experimenting with variables and finding velocity with this unit on air-powered rockets. In the first section, students build simple straw rockets and test how different rocket lengths and launch angles affect flight. Students record the resulting data and use it to calculate velocity. In the second part, the class turns to rockets launched by the powerful AP Launcher. These tube rockets are ideal for outdoor or gymnasium launches that help students explore fin placement and design their own rockets. Finally, they build and launch rocket-boosted gliders.

##### SAMPLE ACTIVITY

The Varying Launch Angles activity delves into the effect of launch angles on the flight of straw rockets. After building a basic rocket, students complete two launches at a given launch angle and repeat this process while increasing the angle in increments of 15 degrees. As they work, students measure and record each launch’s flight time and range. After completing the launches, the data collected is evaluated to learn about the connection between launch angle and rocket performance.

##### PRIMARY EQUIPMENT, MATERIALS, AND RESOURCES
• Straw Rocket Launcher
• AP Rocket Launcher
• Tire pump
• Various small supplies such as glue and tape
• Assorted kits and materials
• Straw Rockets Teacher’s Guide
• Basic Rockets Course Guide
• AP Rocket and Glider Video
• Straw Rocket Video
• Air Rockets Scope & Sequence
##### ADDITIONAL ITEMS NEEDED BUT NOT SUPPLIED
• Scissors
• Calculator
• Digital scale
• Stopwatch
• Tape measure
• Safety glasses

\$2,995.00

OVERVIEW
In Alternative Energy, students explore the basic concepts of energy as well as the law of conservation of energy. Information is presented about renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and how these resource types are important for meeting global energy demands. The advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy forms such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower are presented. Hands-on experiences include experiments with a wind turbine, solar cells, and hydrogen fuel cells.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

• Learn the characteristics of renewable and nonrenewable energy resources.
• Gain an understanding of the scientific law of conservation of energy.
• Learn about the use of wind energy and perform an efficiency experiment using a wind turbine.
• Learn the important role the Sun plays in the production of energy on Earth.
• Explore hydropower and geothermal power.
• Complete a fermentation experiment to explore biomass energy.
• Perform an experiment to simulate hydrogen fuel cell technology.
• Evaluate various energy resources and draw conclusions based upon statistical data.
ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Energy – investigate various energy resources and their classifications; 2) Solar Energy – name characteristics of solar energy and explain how a solar cell works; and 3) Fuel Cell Energy – understand and explain how fuel cell technology functions.

DESCRIPTION

In Animal Adaptations, students learn about animals. Students also learn about animals’ unique features and about how these features help them to survive.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

• Name the two main types of adaptations.
• Explain how the functions of lungs and gills are similar.
• Name the structural adaptation that birds have to keep them warm.
• Name two ways that animals use camouflage.

ACTIVITIES

• Learn about the two main kinds of adaptations – behavioral and structural.
• Experiment with camouflage.
• Experiment with ways that animals keep their bodies at the right temperature.
• Look at features that allow animals to live in the water.
• Look at features that allow animals to live on land.
• Make Venn diagrams.

DESCRIPTION

Animal Survival takes students on a journey to show them the amazing animals we have in our world. Students explore ways these animals manage to stay alive as they fight for survival in the wild world.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT

• Name three animals that produce thousands of eggs.
• Give three examples of evolution.
• Name two ways animals adapt to temperatures.
• Name the three classifications given to animals based on what they eat.

ACTIVITIES

• Play a game to learn about evolution.
• Watch a presentation and play a game to learn about ecosystems and animal adaptation.
• Play a game to learn about competition for resources.
• Learn about food chains and food webs.
• Watch a presentation and play a game to learn about natural defenses and endangered species.

OVERVIEW
In Animals, students learn classification systems and the place of animals (including humans) within them. Students explore physical and lifestyle characteristics of invertebrates and vertebrates through hands-on activities. They compare organisms in terms of adaptations such as symmetry, movement, and organ systems. They explore the transition to land and temperature regulation. They are introduced to concepts of evolution and the fossil record.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

• Review the current three-domain, six-kingdom classification system.
• Design and use a dichotomous key to classify organisms.
• Explore the characteristics of eight invertebrate phyla.
• Compare body symmetry, movement, and organ systems in various animals.
• Learn the major characteristics of chordates and vertebrates.
• Compare the characteristics of the five classes of vertebrates.
• Consider some causes and effects of variation in the animal kingdom.
• Relate structural and behavioral adaptations to natural selection and evolution.
• Complete a fossil activity to illustrate the history of animal life on Earth.
ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Classifying Invertebrates – identify invertebrate specimens to phylum and point out characteristics, including symmetry; 2) Vertebrates – list vertebrate adaptations for land, reproduction, and parental care and identify vertebrates by class; and 3) Adaptation and Evolution – explain genetic changes that occur during natural selection, show and explain layering of fossils, distinguish between relative and absolute fossil age, and explain half-life.

OVERVIEW
In Applied Physics, students learn about the wonderful forces of nature that they must control and learn to live with to make their lives more enjoyable. Using an air track, students learn about motion by calculating the velocity and acceleration of air track cars using a photogate timer. Students study data transmission using a laser. Students also learn about radio waves, light, and heat and do experiments using mathematics.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

• Define and calculate velocity and acceleration.
• Explain the relationship between gravity and acceleration.
• Define the relationships among frequency, pitch, amplitude, and loudness.
• Experiment with different sound waves and list the steps necessary to hear sound.
• Define hypothesis and make and test a hypothesis regarding heat transfer.
• List the steps of the scientific method.
• Differentiate between an insulator and a conductor.
• Discover how light waves travel.
• Explore various uses of lasers.

ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Heat Experiment – explain a hypothesis,
list the steps of the scientific method, and set up and complete an experiment; 2) Light Filter
Experiments – set up and conduct light experiments and verbalize how tinted sunglasses filter
light; and 3) Laser Experiments – demonstrate the proper care and use of a laser and utilize one
or more mirrors in the transfer of sound through a laser and photocell.

OVERVIEW
In Aquaculture, students learn fish biology, care, and management by maintaining their own goldfish tank. After an introduction to the history of aquaculture, they conduct chemical tests of tank water, learn fish anatomy and metabolism, calculate fish growth and productivity, and maintain records of their activities. Along the way, they learn the processes involved in a large-scale aquaculture operation and consider environmental impacts of aquaculture.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

• Use a spreadsheet to practice record keeping for an aquaculture operation.
• Conduct tests of tank water and learn appropriate levels for each chemical.
• Identify internal and external structures of fish.
• Understand fish life cycles and measure fish length and weight.
• Analyze fish growth curves and calculate appropriate stocking rates.
• Explore fish metabolic rates and calculate nutritional needs and productivity.
• Explore environmental impacts of aquaculture.
• Graph and analyze data from the classroom aquaculture tank.

ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Water Chemistry – conduct water chemistry tests, define and explain expected values, and understand tank filtration; 2) Fish Biology – identify fish structures and properly manipulate live fish, including taking length and volume measurements; and 3) Fish Productivity – measure gill-opening rates, understand metabolism, and complete productivity calculations.