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Middle School Expansion – Teachers

Middle School Expansion – Teachers 2021-09-14T16:58:25-06:00

This page contains information for middle school teachers participating in the New Mexico OpenSciEd Middle School Expansion initiative.

OpenSciEd Unit Implementation Schedule:

TENTATIVE IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE
Grade LevelYear 1Year 2Year 3
Semester 1Semester 2Semester 1Semester 2Semester 1Semester 2
Grade 66.16.36.26.46.56.6
Grade 77.17.37.27.67.47.5
Grade 88.18.38.28.58.48.6

KEY:

Currently Implementing
Upcoming Unit

To access the OpenSciEd materials, utilize this link: https://www.openscied.org/about-instructional-materials/. All the OpenSciEd materials (student-facing and teacher-facing) are freely available for download from their site. You will need to create a free account on the site. This scope and sequence is also available which shows the standards addressed in each unit, aligned to the Recommended Integrated Middle School Course Map.

Next semester, your facilitators will train you to implement Unit 6.3. As you complete implementation of Unit 6.1 and plan a unit of study before Unit 6.3, we recommend bridging the units by supporting students learning the following:

  • Gases and liquids are made of molecules or inert atoms that are moving about relative to each other. In a liquid, the molecules are constantly in contact with others; in a gas, they are widely spaced except when they happen to collide. In a solid, atoms are closely spaced and may vibrate in position but do not change relative locations.
  • The temperature of a sample of matter is proportional to the average internal kinetic energy per molecule in that sample.
  • When the kinetic energy of a particle object changes, there is inevitably some other change in energy at the same time; kinetic energy can be transferred from one particle to another through particle collision. This form of energy transfer (conduction) can occur between solid, liquids and gases when they make contact with each other.
  • When light shines on an object, it is reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through the object, depending on the object’s material and the color of the light. Energy from the light that is absorbed by a sample of matter is converted to increased particle motion energy in that sample of matter.
  • The total kinetic energy of particles in a sample of matter is also referred to as the thermal energy of that matter.
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables and controlling for other variables, can help you conduct fair tests, which is a necessary condition for producing data that can serve as the basis for evidence in supporting or refuting a potential cause and effect relationship in a system.

Here is a preview of Unit 6.3:

6.3 Unit: Why does a lot of hail, rain, or snow fall at some times and not others?

Unit Overview:

In this first half of the unit, students investigate weather data specific to these events and the temperature profile of the atmosphere above the Earth’s surface. They conduct investigations into how sunlight affects the temperature of different surfaces and the air above them, and how this contributes to cloud formation and growth. They work with manipulatives, simulations, and labs to figure out how molecules in different phases change states under different conditions and they conduct investigations into why air moves the way it does as it is heated and cooled.

The second half of the unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later. In the second half of the unit, students also investigate changes in weather conditions over the entire country over multiple days, as well as forecasts of three other storms that are forecasted to affect other parts of the country. They explore how the interactions of air masses, prevailing winds, proximity to the ocean, ocean currents, and surface elevation profiles work together to influence how much precipitation different regions receive. At the end of the second half of the unit, they apply their understandings to develop an explanation for why South America has a tropical rainforest in one part of the continent and temperate rainforest in another part of the continent, despite having some of the driest places on Earth relatively close by both.

The prerequisite math concepts for this unit are:

  • MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.5: Understand that positive and negative numbers are used together to describe quantities having opposite directions or values (e.g., temperature above/below zero, elevation above/below sea level, credits/debits, positive/negative electric charge); use positive and negative numbers to represent quantities in real-world contexts, explaining the meaning of 0 in each situation.
  • MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.8: Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane. Include use of coordinates and absolute value to find distances between points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate.
  • MATH.CONTENT.6.RP.A.2: Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship.
  • MATH.CONTENT.6.RP.A.3: Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.

Additionally, when students generate and interpret the tables of data in Lessons 2, 4, and 11, they will draw on what they have learned across the Represent and Interpret Data standards for grades 1-5, within the domain of Measurement and Data in the Common Core Mathematics Standards.

Next semester, your facilitators will train you to implement Unit 7.3. As you complete implementation of Unit 7.1 and plan a unit of study before Unit 7.3, we recommend bridging the units by supporting students learning the following:

  • The foundations for chemical reactions in PEs MS-PS1-1 Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures and MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred. Unit 7.3 is designed to come directly after two units involved in the foundations of chemical reactions and explicitly builds on those understandings. It is critical to note that students need the idea of chemical reactions and the idea that matter can be rearranged through these reactions yielding resultant materials with different properties to develop the explanations in this unit.
  • The makeup and function of cells in PEs MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells; either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells and MS-LS1-2 Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways the parts of cells contribute to the function. This unit does not introduce cells to students. It uses that prerequisite knowledge to build understanding that the organization of the body goes from cells, to tissues, to organs, to subsystems to multiple subsystems working together in one body system.
  • The nature of matter, so that students see matter as made of particles. MS-PS1-4: Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.

Here is a preview of Unit 7.3:

Unit 7.3 How do things inside our bodies work together to make us feel the way we do?

Unit overview:

This unit on metabolic reactions in the human body starts out with students exploring a real case study of a middle-school girl named M’Kenna, who reported some alarming symptoms to her doctor. Her symptoms included an inability to concentrate, headaches, stomach issues when she eats, and a lack of energy for everyday activities and sports that she used to play regularly. She also reported noticeable weight loss over the past few months, despite consuming what appeared to be a healthy diet. Her case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out which pathways and processes in M’Kenna’s body might be functioning differently than a healthy system and why.

Students investigate data specific to M’Kenna’s case in the form of doctor’s notes, endoscopy images and reports, growth charts, and micrographs. They also draw from their results from laboratory experiments on the chemical changes involving the processing of food and from digital interactives to explore how food is transported, transformed, stored, and used across different body systems in all people. Through this work of figuring out what is causing M’Kenna’s symptoms, the class discovers what happens to the food we eat after it enters our bodies and how M’Kenna’s different symptoms are connected.

Through these investigations, students:

  • Develop and use a model to explain how food is rearranged through chemical reactions, forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through the human body.
  • Develop and use a model to explain how different subsystems of the body work together to provide cells what they need to function.
  • Construct and defend a scientific explanation of how M’Kenna’s condition (celiac disease) leads to weight loss and lack of energy.
  • Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental factors, such as food intake, influence the growth of animals.

The prerequisite math concepts for this unit are:

  • MATH.CONTENT.6.NS.C.8: Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane.
  • MATH.CONTENT.6.RP.A.2: Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ≠ 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship.
  • MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.C.6: Approximate the probability of a chance event by collecting data on the chance process that produces it and observing its long-run relative frequency, and predict the approximate relative frequency given the probability.
  • MATH.CONTENT.7.SP.C.8.C: Design and use a simulation to generate frequencies for compound events.
  • MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.5.C: Giving quantitative measures of center (median and/or mean) and variability (interquartile range and/or mean absolute deviation), as well as describing any overall pattern and any striking deviations from the overall pattern with reference to the context in which the data were gathered.

In addition, within the domain of Measurement and Data in the Common Core Mathematics Standards, students will be drawing on what they have learned across a number of standards under the category of Represent and Interpret data for Grades 1-5 when they are generating and interpreting the tables and graphs of their data collected from the simulation and during analysis of several food molecule graphs in many lessons across the unit.

Next semester, your facilitators will train you to implement Unit 8.3. As you complete implementation of Unit 8.1 and plan a unit of study before Unit 8.3, we recommend bridging the units by supporting students in learning the following:

  • Since Unit 8.3 will be taught next, teach students what a sound is and how sound travels is be required, with an emphasis on how movement back and forth creates the physical pushes necessary to move air so that sound waves can transfer energy. These ideas are fundamental to students’ understanding of the anchoring phenomenon in this unit.
  • Unit 8.3 uses and builds upon Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) and other science ideas that students should have previously developed in OpenSciEd Units 8.1 (Broken Things) and 2 (Sound):
    • A sound wave needs a medium through which it is transmitted. (MS-PS4.A)
    • A sound wave transfers energy through air. (MS-PS4-1)
    • The change in motion of an object is determined by net force on the object. If total (net) force is not zero, motion will change. Greater mass means more force needed to change motion. More net force means more change in motion. (MS-PS2.A)
    • When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other that can cause energy to be transferred to or from the object. (MS-PS3.C)
    • Forces on an object can also change its shape. All solid objects deform elastically (up to a point) when forces are applied to them. (not a DCI element, but important for modeling the phenomenon in Unit 8.3)
    • For any pair of interacting objects, the force exerted by the first object on the second object is equal in strength to the force that the second object exerts on the first, but in the opposite direction (MS-PS2.A)

 

Here is a preview of Unit 8.3:

Unit 8.3 How can a magnet move another object without touching it?

Unit overview:

Students are presented with an anchoring phenomenon focusing on the vibration of a speaker and asked to think about what causes this vibration. The vibration of a speaker connects to a model of sound students have developed previously, but this new unit opens the door for students to investigate the cause of a speaker’s vibration as opposed to the effect. Students dissect speakers to explore the inner workings, and they build homemade cup speakers to manipulate the parts of the speaker. They identify that speakers of all kinds have some of the same parts–a magnet, a coil of wire, and a membrane. Students investigate each of these parts to figure out how they work together in the speaker system. Along the way, students manipulate the parts (e.g., changing the strength of the magnet, number of coils, current direction) to see how this technology could be modified to apply to systems in very different contexts, like MagLev trains, junkyard magnets, and electric motors.

Through a series of hands-on investigations, students

  • develop and refine a model about forces (pushes and pulls) that includes magnetic forces interacting at a distance via fields that extend through space,
  • revise a model for explaining magnetic forces to include electromagnets that act as permanent magnets in many ways but can be manipulated by changing the electric current,
  • consider the transfer of energy in their model, and the connections between forces, energy and magnetic fields,
  • plan and carry out a series of investigations to test how changes in one part of a magnetic system (e.g., number of coils, diameter of coils, strength of magnet) affect the magnetic forces in the system, and
  • construct an explanation based on evidence to explain that magnetic fields extend through space and predict the strength and direction of magnetic forces.

The prerequisite math concepts for Unit 8.3 are:

  • Math.Content.7.PR.1. Compute unit rates associated with ratios of fractions, including ratios of lengths, areas, and other quantities measured in like or different units.
  • Math.Content.6.NS.C.8. Solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane. Include use of coordinates and absolute value to find distances between points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate.

 

Page last updated September 14, 2021