The Nature of Science

Download 80.69 Kb.
Size80.69 Kb.

Grade 8
The Nature of Science

Students gain scientific knowledge by observing the natural and constructed world, performing and evaluating investigations and communicating their findings. The following principles should guide student work and be integrated into the curriculum along with the content standards on a daily basis.

Standard 1: Physical Science

Core Standard: Describe how atomic structures determine chemical properties and how atoms and molecules interact.





Explain that all matter is composed of particular arrangements of atoms and that there are approximately one hundred types of atoms (i.e., elements).

Use the lab so students can each research a particular element. Students research the atomic structure of their elements, and its properties.
Study periodic table, recognizing its different sections (i.e. representative elements, transition elements, etc.)

Presentations of the elements allow students to see the differences in the arrangements of atoms.



Understand that elements are organized on the periodic table based on atomic number.

Build a Periodic Table based on common objects or people, being sure to organize the objects or people in periods and families. Table must show periodicity, and families must have characteristics in common.

Presentation of Periodic Tables


Explain how the arrangement of atoms and molecules determines chemical properties of substances.

Make a drawing showing the phases of matter and how atoms and molecules behave.

Lab activity where students observe the differences between metals and non-metals.

Orally describe the movement of atoms through phases of matter.

Lab Write-Up


Describe the structure of atoms and relate the arrangement of electrons to how atoms interact with other atoms.

Build a 3-D model of an atom described by a particular scientist. Show how each scientist differed in the arrangement of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

Draw diagrams of ionic and covalent bonded elements. Describe how the arrangement of valence electrons determines ionic and covalent bonding.

Presentation of model


Explain that atoms join together to form molecules and compounds and illustrate with diagrams the relationship between atoms and compounds and between atoms and molecules.

Mini-Lab building a paper model of a methane molecule. Look at how come together to become stable in a molecule.
Discuss why an ionic compound such as Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) is a good choice for a building material. The arrangement of the ions in the crystal structure makes it strong.

Mini-Lab Analysis

Class Discussion


Explain that elementary and compounds have characteristic properties such as density, boiling points and melting points that remain unchanged regardless of sample size.

Lab Activity exploring the melting and boiling points of different elements and compounds. Change the sample size of each substance to recognize that each of the properties do not change due to the sample size.

Lab Write-Up


Explain that chemical changes occur when substances react and form one or more different products, whose physical and chemical properties are different from those of the reactants.

Labs-Slime Lab

-Flame Test

-Rusted Penny

-Vinegar/Baking Soda

-Sugar/Hydrochloric Acid

Given a list of reactions, students should determine which are chemical changes and which are physical changes.

Lab Write-Up



Demonstrate that in a chemical change the total numbers of each kind of atom in the product are the same as in the reactants and that the total mass of the reacting system is conserved.

Use math skills to balance chemical equations. Recognize that however many of each element you start with, that is how many you should end with.


Standard 2: Earth and Space Systems

Core Standard: Explain how the sun’s energy heats the air, land and water and drives the processes that result in wind, ocean currents and the water cycle. (8.2.1, 8.2.2, 8.2.3, 8.2.4, 8.2.5)
Core Standard: Describe dhow human activities have changes the land, water, and atmosphere. (8.2.6, 8.2.7)





Recognize and demonstrate how the sun’s energy drives convection in the atmosphere and in bodies of water, which results in ocean currents and weather patterns.

Students create a Cause-and-Effect Chart that demonstrates the cycle of convection. The chart shows how fluid and air are heated and cooled through natural convection.

Cause-and-Effect chart is checked for accuracy and detail.


Describe and model how water moves through the earth’s crust, atmosphere and oceans in a cyclic way as a liquid vapor and solid.

Lab activity-The Water Cycle… Students observe and examine the different phases of the water cycle.
Discuss the water cycle

Lab Write-Up

Students draw a model of the water cycle


Describe the characteristics of ocean currents and identify their effects on weather patterns.

Students research articles online or in magazines from meteorologists that describe the effect of ocean currents on weather.

Summary write-up on article


Describe the physical and chemical composition of the atmosphere at different elevations.

Discuss that Nitrogen makes a bulk of the Earth’s atmosphere, while Oxygen makes up most of the rest.
Describe the differences between the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere.



Describe the conditions that cause Indiana weather and weather-related events such as tornadoes, lake effect snow, blizzards, thunderstorms and flooding.

Groups build dioramas/models of various weather-related events (i.e. tornado, tsunami, etc.)

Discuss how the Great Lakes cause snow in the Indiana region.

Group presentation of dioramas/models and essay on how the weather causes the event.

Worksheet on lake effect snow


Identify, explain and discuss some effects human activities (e.g., air, soil, light, noise and water pollution) have on the biosphere.

Lab activity-Use oil spills to discuss the negative effects of pollution on wildlife.
Test the pH levels of water to check for the presence of acid as a result from acid rain.
Discuss light pollution as it affects the view of the sky.
Discuss how noise levels can adversely affect people, domesticated animals, and wildlife.

Lab write-up


Have students star gaze to see if they can see this affect

Class discussion on how the pros and cons of various noises related activities.


Recognize that some of Earth’s resources are finite and describe how recycling, reducing consumption and the development of alternatives can reduce the rate of their depletion.

Brainstorm and research ideas of biodegradable items they could invent (i.e. golf tee)
Students collect and evaluate litter, making collages

Make list of items needed to create product, and make detailed design of the product. Create a campaign to sell the product.
Identify in writing ways that litter can harm wildlife, and ways people can lessen this effect.


Explain that human activities, beginning with the earliest herding and agricultural activities, have drastically changed the environment and have affected the capacity of the environment to support native species. Explain current efforts to reduce and eliminate these impacts and encourage sustainability.

“Changing the Land” (pg. 345 Project Wild)…Students use worksheet maps to study fragmentation and use aerial photographs to examine changes in land use and how those changes affect ecosystems.

Students compare the past and present aerial photographs to identify evidence of fragmentation. Students also research changes in the wildlife in those areas.

Standard 3: Life Science

Core Standard: Understand the predictability of characteristics being passed from parents to offspring. (8.3.1, 8.3.2, 8.3.3, 8.3.4, 8.3.5, 8.3.6, 8.3.7)

Core Standard: Explain how a particular environment selects for traits that increase the likelihood of survival and reproduction by individuals bearing those traits. (8.3.8, 8.3.9, 8.3.10)





Explain that reproduction is essential for the continuation of every species and is the mechanism by which all organisms transmit genetic information.

Discuss how reproduction allows species to adapt to their environment over time.
Discuss traits students share with their parents, and why.

List why and how a farmer could use genetic information to help improve his/her crop.


Compare and contrast the transmission of genetic information in sexual and asexual reproduction.

Compare/Contrast the characteristics transmitted through Sexual/Asexual reproduction.

Class debate on whether or not cloning is good for the human race.


Explain that genetic information is transmitted from parents to offspring mostly by chromosomes.

Describe how in human there are 23 pairs of chromosomes, and how each parent gives one chromosome from each pair to their offspring.

Use a Punnett Square to follow traits in a family.


Understand the relationship between deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), genes and chromosomes.

Lab activity separating the DNA from Onion cells.
Discuss the definitions and relationships of each.

Lab Write-Up



Identify and describe the difference between inherited traits and the physical and behavioral traits that are acquired or learned.

List your abilities/skills/characteristics according to their origin.

Discuss and determine why students are proficient at various things.

Students compile a list of factors needed for success in their favorite sport. (Determine if factors are hereditary or environmental in nature.)


Observe anatomical structures of a variety of organisms and describe their similarities and differences. Use the data collected to organize the organisms into groups and predict their relatedness.

Students create Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences of a variety of organisms.

Class discussion on the relationship between the organisms that share similar traits.


Recognize and explain that small genetic differences between parents and offspring can accumulate in successive generations so that descendants may be different from their ancestors.

Lab activity using random drawing to make five generations of offspring from an initial mother and father. Find similarities and differences between the first generation and last generation.
Discuss the gene pool in an extended family.
Discuss why Americans are so different.

Lab Write-Up
Use a pedigree to follow your family traits.


Examine traits of individuals within a population of organisms that may give them an advantage in survival and reproduction in given environments or when the environments change.

“Surprise Terrarium” (pg. 120 Project Wild) …Students identify camouflage as an adaptation and describe the importance of adaptations to animals.

Essay describing the importance of certain traits held by a particular organism in its environment.


Describe the effect of environmental changes on populations of organisms when their adaptive characteristics put them at a disadvantage for survival. Describe how extinction of a species can ultimately result from a disadvantage.

Demonstrate “Survival of the Fittest”

Compare characteristics of successful animals and plants.

Show how Natural Selection helps some animals have advantages.
Demonstrate how food supply influences populations.


Recognize and describe how new varieties of organisms have come about from selective breeding.

Describe how to “pick” a future Kentucky Derby or 4-H winner.

Class discussion on how farmer’s use hybrid corn.

Standard 4: Technology and Engineering

Core Standard: Identify the appropriate materials to be used to solve a problem bases on their specific properties and characteristics.





Understand how the strength of attractive forces among particles in a material helps to explain many physical properties of the material, such as why different materials exist as gases, liquids or solids at a given temperature.

Lab activity-The Water Cycle…Students observe and examine the different phases of the water cycle.
Discuss how pressure can cause a change in the state of matter, and how pressure affects the behavior of liquids and gases.

Lab Write-Up



Rank the strength of attractions among the particles of room-temperature materials.

Discuss various objects that are at room temperature, and why those objects are solids, liquids, or gases at that temperature.



Investigate the properties (i.e., mechanical, chemical, electrical, thermal, magnetic and optical) of natural and engineered materials.

Lab activity-Students design and engineer a device that converts various forms of energy to perform a task.

Lab Write-Up

Download 80.69 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page