• Science Foundations

    Subject: Science
    Grade: 9
    Timeline: 18 weeks
    Title: Science Foundations

    Science Foundations Overview: The main purpose of this course is to remediate students in the nature of science skills.  These skills are the base for all laboratory activities in high school science.  They include: observing, classifying, measuring and communicating scientific data and information.  Laboratory safety and measurement skills are reviewed and practiced.  Other topics include working appropriately with laboratory equipment, planning and carrying out experiments, identifying variables, and analyzing and drawing conclusions.
    Unit Objectives: The objectives of this unit are to apply the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) Crosscutting Concepts that bridge disciplinary boundaries, uniting core ideas throughout the fields of science and engineering. The following Crosscutting Concepts are covered in this unit:

    1.  Patterns.  Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about  relationships and the factors that influence them.
    2.  Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation.  Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. A major activity of science is investigating and  explaining causal relationships and the mechanisms by which they are mediated. Such mechanisms can then be tested across given contexts and used to predict and explain events in new contexts.
    4. Systems and system models.  Defining the system under study—specifying its boundaries and making explicit a model of that system—provides tools for understanding and testing ideas that are applicable throughout science and engineering.
    6. Structure and function.The way in which an object or living thing is shaped and its substructure determine many of its properties and functions.

    Focus Standards:
    PSSA Eligible Content
    S8.A.1.1.1: Distinguish between a scientific theory and an opinion, explaining how a theory is supported with evidence, or how new data/information may change existing theories and practices.
    S8.A.1.1.2: Explain how certain questions can be answered through scientific inquiry and/or technological design.
    S8.A.1.1.3: Use evidence, such as observations or experimental results, to support inferences about a relationship.
    S8.A.3.1.1: Describe a system (e.g., watershed, circulatory system, heating system, agricultural system) as a group of related parts with specific roles that work together to achieve an observed result. 
    S8.A.2.2.1: Describe the appropriate use of instruments and scales to accurately and safely measure time, mass, distance, volume, or temperature under a variety of conditions.
    S8.A.2.2.2: Apply appropriate measurement systems (e.g., time, mass, distance, volume, temperature) to record and interpret observations under varying conditions.
    S8.A.2.2.3: Describe ways technology (e.g., microscope, telescope, micrometer, hydraulics, barometer) extends and enhances human abilities for specific purposes.
    S8.A.2.1.1: Use evidence, observations, or a variety of scales (e.g., mass, distance, volume, temperature) to describe relationships.
    S8.A.2.1.2: Use space/time relationships, define concepts operationally, raise testable questions, or formulate hypotheses.
    S8.A.2.1.3: Design a controlled experiment by specifying how the independent variables will be manipulated, how the dependent variable will be measured, and which variables will be held constant.
    S8.A.2.1.4: Interpret data/observations; develop relationships among variables based on data/observations to design models as solutions
    S8.A.2.1.5: Use evidence from investigations to clearly communicate and support conclusions.
    S8.A.2.1.6: Identify a design flaw in a simple technological system and devise possible working solutions
    Biology Keystone Eligible Content
    BIO.B.3.3.1 - Distinguish between the scientific terms: hypothesis, inference, law, theory, principle, fact, and observation.
    Chemistry Keystone Eligible Content
    CHEM.A.1.1.2 - Classify observations as qualitative and/or quantitative.
    CHEM.A.1.1.3 - Utilize significant figures to communicate the uncertainty in a quantitative observation.
    Eligible Content may be assessed using knowledge and/or skills associated with the Nature of Science
    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas  
    PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
    Each atom has a charged substructure consisting of a nucleus, which is made of protons and neutrons, surrounded by electrons.  The periodic table orders elements horizontally by the number of protons in the atom's nucleus and places those with similar chemical properties in columns.  the repeating patterns of this table reflect patterns of outer electron states.
    Concepts - Students will know:
    • the processes, procedures, and tools that scientists use in their work.
    • how to utilize processes and tools of scientists.
    • the components needed to be able to plan and carry out scientific investigations
    • that patterns and changes occur in natural cycles within systems.
    • the patterns of the elements in the periodic table. 
    Competencies -Students will be able to:
    • utilize observation, classification, communication, and measurement as part of scientific investigations.
    • utilize proper laboratory safety.
    • utilize appropriate technology and tools.
    • explain the difference between a scientific theory and a scientific hypothesis.
    • formulate reasonable hypotheses based on research, prior knowledge, and observation.
    • use scientific ideas, prior knowledge, and data to explain observations and make predictions.
    • develop predictions, interpretations, inferences, and hypotheses as part of scientific explanations.
    • use metric units in measuring, converting, calculating, and reporting results.
    • use data to make inferences and predictions, or to draw conclusions, demonstrating understanding of experimental limits.
    • create data tables and graphs.
    • identify and control independent and dependent variables.
    • explain why a controlled experiment can be valid and why experiments should have comparable results.
    • measure variables using appropriate units and tools, and write a description of observations.
    • design a scientific investigation to test a hypothesis using a written scientific plan.
    • evaluate an experimental plan for a scientific investigation.
    • analyze data gathered during experimentation and apply statistical and mathematical concepts.
    • identify how the sources of error or uncertainty affect the results of an investigation.
    • understand the water cycle and explore freshwater on Earth.
    • identify and explain the cause and effect relationships within various systems.
    • analyze and predict the effect of making a change in one part of a system on the system as a whole.
    • discover periodicity by observing patterns in chemical reactions

    • formative assessments   
    • journals and/or science notebooks 
    • lab reports  
    • research reports
    • oral report   
    • teacher observation
    • performance assessments
    • summative assessments  

    Elements of Instruction:
    The NGSS  identifies eight Science and Engineering Practices that all students in all grades must participate in to effectively investigate the natural world through the practices of science inquiry, or solve meaningful problems through the practices of engineering design.
    Science and Engineering Practices
    Practice 1 Asking Questions and Defining Problems
    Students should be able to ask questions of each other about the texts they read, the features of the phenomena they observe, and the conclusions they draw from their models or scientific investigations. For engineering, they should ask questions to define the problem to be solved and to elicit ideas that lead to the constraints and specifications for its solution.
    Practice 2 Developing and Using Models
    Modeling can begin with students’ models progressing from concrete “pictures” and/or physical scale models  to more abstract representations of relevant relationships in later grades, such as a diagram representing forces on a particular object in a system.
    Practice 3 Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
    Students should have opportunities to plan and carry out several different kinds of investigations. They should engage in investigations that range from those structured  by the teacher—in order to expose  an issue or question that they
    would be unlikely to explore on their own—to those that emerge from students’ own questions.
    Practice 4 Analyzing and Interpreting Data
    Once collected, data must be presented in a form that can reveal any patterns and relationships and that allows results to be communicated to others. Because raw data as such have little meaning, a major practice of scientists is to organize and interpret data through tabulating, graphing, or statistical analysis. Such analysis can bring out the meaning of data—and their relevance—so that they may be used as evidence.
    Practice 5 Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
    Although there are differences in how mathematics and computational thinking are applied in science and in engineering, mathematics often brings these two fields together by enabling engineers to apply the mathematical form of scientific theories and by enabling scientists to use powerful information technologies designed by engineers. Both can thereby accomplish investigations and analyses and build complex models, which might otherwise be out of the question. Students will practice these computations.
    Practice 6 Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
    The goal of science is to construct explanations for the causes of phenomena. Students are expected to construct their
    own explanations, as well as apply standard explanations they learn about from their teachers or reading.
    Practice 7 Engaging in Argument from Evidence
    The study of science and engineering should produce a sense of the process of argument necessary for advancing and defending a new idea or an explanation of a phenomenon and the norms for conducting such arguments. In that spirit, students should argue for the explanations they construct, defend their interpretations of the associated data, and advocate
    for the designs they propose.
    Practice 8 Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    Any education in science and engineering needs to develop students’ ability to read and produce domain-specific text. As such, every science or engineering lesson is in part a language lesson, particularly reading and producing the genres of texts that are intrinsic to science and engineering.

    Remediation could include: using word walls, using flip charts or foldables, structured notebooks, peer teaching, teaming with the math department for graphing.
    Extensions could include: independent research, inquiry based experiments, exploration of topics online.

      Interdisciplinary Connections:
      •  Writing in the Sciences is connected to Literacy Common Core Shifts.  Students could use note-booking or journaling, reading informational text and answering text-dependent questions, writing laboratory experiment plans and lab reports, academic and content specific vocabulary. 
      • Problem Solving in the Sciences is connected with Mathematics Common Core Shifts.  Measurement, graphing data, and calculations.

      Additional Resources :