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Long Term Plan

6th Grade Science 


Miller, D. 

Overview of Course
This science course is based on the 6th grade science TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and MAP standards. Both of these sets of standards are interdisciplinary, although 6th grade standards have a focus on physical science. Given these standards, the course is a survey covering five main fields: matter, energy, earth and space, and life. Each unit is named with academic vocabulary(e.g., "Geology" rather than "Earth Science.") In the course, students are consistently required to learn and apply skills in order to process content in a manner authentic to scientific study.

Year at a Glance
Unit Name
Number of Days
Unit 1: Scientific Method
Unit 2: Chemistry
Unit 3: Physics (Transformation of Energy) - Pre-Test and Intervention Only
Unit 4: Physics II (Force and Motion)
Unit 4.5: Simple Machines
Unit 5:  Geology
Unit 6: Astronomy
Unit 7: Biology I (Classification)
Unit 8: Biology II (Ecosystems)
Flex Days 

   154 Instructional Days + 15 Flex days  = 169 Total Days 

(170 instructional days minus days for field trips, testing, school-wide events)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Unit 1 Overview

Unit Name: Scientific Method

Number of Days: 21
Unit Description:

The first unit of the course takes KIPPsters through the scientific method in order to introduce them to the important science skills they will need throughout their time in 6th grade. Although partly a review of 5th grade and summer school, the unit also sets up for success in the course with appropriately rigorous skill-based objectives in questioning, inferring, experimental design, interpreting data, and measuring sense.
Unit Standards

1)  Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts laboratory and field investigations following safety procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices. The student is expected to:
(A)  demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations as outlined in the Texas Safety Standards; and
(B)  practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials.
(2)  Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific inquiry methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
(A)  plan and implement comparative and descriptive investigations by making observations, asking well-defined questions, and using appropriate equipment and technology;
(B)  design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well-defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology;
(C)  collect and record data using the International System of Units (SI) and qualitative means such as labeled drawings, writing, and graphic organizers;
(D)  construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and
(E)  analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends.
(3)  Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions and knows the contributions of relevant scientists. The student is expected to:
(A)  in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student;
(B)  use models to represent aspects of the natural world such as a model of Earth's layers;
(C)  identify advantages and limitations of models such as size, scale, properties, and materials; and
(D)  relate the impact of research on scientific thought and society, including the history of science and contributions of scientists as related to the content.
(4)  Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows how to use a variety of tools and safety equipment to conduct science inquiry. The student is expected to:
(A)  use appropriate tools to collect, record, and analyze information, including journals/notebooks, beakers, Petri dishes, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, hot plates, test tubes, triple beam balances, microscopes, thermometers, calculators, computers, timing devices, and other equipment as needed to teach the curriculum; and
(B)  use preventative safety equipment, including chemical splash goggles, aprons, and gloves, and be prepared to use emergency safety equipment, including an eye/face wash, a fire blanket, and a fire extinguisher.

Unit 2 Overview

Unit Name: Chemistry

Number of Days: 19
Unit Description:

The chemistry unit encompasses not only the basics of matter (elements, compounds, mixtures, physical and chemical changes, etc.) but is also the main unit for teaching quantitative measurement of matter. KIPPsters learn about mass, volume and density in a chemistry context. Most lessons in this unit include a hands-on activity or lab. KIPPsters will additionally spend time with the periodic table and learn about matter's physical properties throughout the unit rather than in a single lesson.
Unit Standards

(6.5)  Matter and energy. The student knows the differences between elements and compounds. The student is expected to:
*(6.5A)  know that an element is a pure substance represented by chemical symbols;
*(6.5B)  recognize that a limited number of the many known elements comprise the largest portion of solid Earth, living matter, oceans, and the atmosphere;
*(6.5C-SS)  differentiate between elements and compounds on the most basic level; and
*(6.5D)  identify the formation of a new substance by using the evidence of a possible chemical change such as production of a gas, change in temperature, production of a precipitate, or color change.
*(6.6A-SS)  compare metals, nonmetals, and metalloids using physical properties such as luster, conductivity, or malleability;
*(6.6B-SS)  calculate density to identify an unknown substance; and

Unit 3 Overview

Unit Name: Physics I (Transformation of Energy)

Number of Days: 3
Unit Description: This Unit will be Pre-Tested followed by Intervention as needed. 
The first unit on physical science has a focus on forms of energy and energy changing from one form to another. The study of energy traditionally begins with understanding two basic forms of energy: potential and kinetic. As KIPPsters begin diagramming energy transformations in greater detail, they should also begin to gain an understanding of the conservation of energy and continue to inquire about it through the unit. In addition, thermal energy and light are analyzed. Like in the chemistry unit, most lessons are inquiry based and almost all of them have a hands-on component.

Unit Standards

*(6.9A)  investigate methods of thermal energy transfer, including conduction, convection, and radiation;
*(6.9B)  verify through investigations that thermal energy moves in a predictable pattern from warmer to cooler until all the substances attain the same temperature such as an ice cube melting; and
(6.9C-SS) demonstrate energy transformations such as energy in a flashlight battery changes from chemical energy to electrical energy to light energy.
*(6.7A)  research and debate the advantages and disadvantages of using coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, biomass, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and solar resources; and
*(6.7B) design a logical plan to manage energy resources in the home, school, or community.
*(6.8A-SS)  compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy

Unit 4 Overview

Unit Name: Physics II (Force and Motion)

Number of Days: 20
Unit Description:

The second physical science unit focuses on force and motion. KIPPsters begin by investigating gravity, friction, and air resistance, after which the focus switches to Newton's laws of motion. Although Newton's Laws are not mentioned in the 6th grade science TEKS, the majority of this unit is taught in the context of these laws while still staying true to the state standards. For the conceptualization and visualization of force and motion, much of the unit is focused on graphing and diagramming.
Unit Standards

*(6.8A-SS)  compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy;
*(6.8B)  identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces;
*(6.8C-SS)  calculate average speed using distance and time measurements;
*(6.8D-SS)  measure and graph changes in motion; and
*6.8E)  investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

Unit 4.5 Overview

Unit Name: Simple Machines

Number of Days: 13
Unit Description:
Due to the length of the Physics II unit, the topics of simple machines is separated into a 13-day mini-unit focused on conducting labs with the different machines. The main goal of the unit is for KIPPsters to understand the use of each simple machine and internalize the principles behind how they work. Each lab begins with a short explanation of the simple machine and either gives instructions on how to test them or asks KIPPsters to construct their own using simple materials.

Unit Standards

6.8e Investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

Unit 5 Overview

Unit Name: Geology

Number of Days: 24
Unit Description:
Geology is a 5-week unit covering processes that shape the earth. KIPPsters will learn to become geologists with a focus on learning the skill of modeling and continuing to practice the skill of inferring. For example, KIPPsters will model the rock cycle with crayons and create models of the layers of the earth. Also, they will practice their skills of inference in rock stations or outside the school in a field study. In addition, the unit covers important knowledge of concepts such as weathering and erosion, plate tectonics, and natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes.

Unit Standards

*(6.6C) test the physical properties of minerals, including hardness, color, luster, and streak.
*(6.10A)  build a model to illustrate the structural layers of Earth, including the inner core, outer core, mantle, crust, asthenosphere, and lithosphere;
*(6.10B)  classify rocks as metamorphic, igneous, or sedimentary by the processes of their formation;
*(6.10C)  identify the major tectonic plates, including Eurasian, African, Indo-Australian, Pacific, North American, and South American; and
*(6.10D) describe how plate tectonics causes major geological events such as ocean basins, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain building.

Unit 6 Overview

Unit Name: Astronomy

Number of Days: 18
Unit Description:

The unit on astronomy follows the geology unit and “zooms out” past the scope of the surface of the earth. KIPPsters will use concepts already learned in geology about cycles and the predictability of the natural world, as well as contrast what they have learned about the earth’s surface to the surface of other planets in our solar system. Beginning with the movement of the earth, KIPPsters will then zoom out to the moon, the entire solar system, and finally to stars. KIPPsters complete several small projects along the way, such as a scaled map of the solar system and a timeline of the history of space travel.

Unit Standards

*(6.11A)  describe the physical properties, locations, and movements of the Sun, planets, Galilean moons, meteors, asteroids, and comets;
*(6.11B-SS)  understand that gravity is the force that governs the motion of our solar system; and
*(6.11C)  describe the history and future of space exploration, including the types of equipment and transportation needed for space travel.

Unit 7 Overview

Unit Name: Biology I (Classification)

Number of Days: 21
Unit Description:

The first unit on biology focuses on knowledge and skills related to the increasing complexity of organisms and how biologists classify organisms. KIPPSters begin by learning the nature of cells and end by learning about human body systems. In addition, they become experts at classifying organisms based on their characteristics, whether that be prokaryotic/eukaryotic, unicellular/multicellular, autotrophic/heterotrophic, or a variety of other anatomical, physiological, or behavioral characteristics.
Unit Standards

 *(6.12A)  understand that all organisms are composed of one or more cells;
*(6.12B)  recognize that the presence of a nucleus determines whether a cell is prokaryotic or eukaryotic;
*(6.12C)  recognize that the broadest taxonomic classification of living organisms is divided into currently recognized Domains;
*(6.12D-SS)  identify the basic characteristics of organisms, including prokaryotic or eukaryotic, unicellular or multicellular, autotrophic or heterotrophic, and mode of reproduction, that further classify them in the currently recognized Kingdoms;

Unit 8 Overview

Unit Name: Biology II (Ecology)

Number of Days: 15
Unit Description:

While the first biology unit zooms in on specific organisms, down to cells, the next biology unit zooms out to investigate how organisms interact with each other. KIPPsters begin the unit by breaking down ecosystems into their levels of organization, then continue to become experts on organism's interactions with each other. At the end of the unit, they learn how organisms are adapted to survive in their complex and often harsh environments.
Unit Standards

(6.12E)  describe biotic and abiotic parts of an ecosystem in which organisms interact; and
*(6.12F) diagram the levels of organization within an ecosystem, including organism, population, community, and ecosystem.

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