Teachers in the STEM program work together to integrate subject area standards around a set of real world topics. In our program, the topics emanate from the science curriculum. Math and science studies reinforce each other. History and Language Arts studies further broaden the students’ understanding of the selected topics into a social context.
In science, Engineering Design drives the learning process as students iterate solutions to problems. Students use science and mathematical reasoning to deepen their understanding of the content.
We do what Project- Based Inquiry ScienceTM describes as empowering students to “practice science in the classroom the way that scientists and engineers do. They work in collaborative groups to iteratively solve problems and explore challenges. Science and engineering practices are not just found in isolated inquiry activities, but permeate the entire curriculum.”
All science units meet the middle school engineering design standards as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Engineering design is central to each topic, as students will be defining problems, developing possible solutions and improving designs throughout each project as indicated in the storylines below.
The following tables represent our working plans for the first trimester curriculum.
The Automobile – Science Standards and Supporting Connections
The Driving Question-8th grade –1st trimester
Science - How can you design a vehicle that can go straight, far, fast and carry a load?
Language Arts Standards Connections
NGSS Performance Expectations
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World-
The issues of technologies and any limitations on their use are driven by individual or societal needs, desires, and values; by the findings of scientific research; and by differences in such factors as climate, natural resources, and economic conditions.
Students understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significant to the development of American constitutional democracy.
8.2 Students analyze the political principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government
Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the South from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text.
Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values; use positive and negative numbers to…