6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Science

Helpful Links

Be sure to check out our blog to keep updated with Mrs. Nilsen's science classes on a weekly basis.

Recent Science Posts

Check out student's assignments expectations, due dates, and scores on Mrs. Nilsen's online "grade"book. Students and Parents can have their own log-in and password. Contact Mrs. Nilsen if you need a new student access code.
Wondering what else is going on at MRA? Check out our school website.
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit that helps teachers get the resources they need. I got our Wrinkle in Time novel set and our 5 classroom iPods through DonorsChoose and a few generous advocates for education.

Even when I don't have a project up, you can still give to my classroom page. The money given will be applied to the next project I write. Check it out below and thanks for your generous giving!

Interactive Science Notebooks

Table of Contents

6th Grade

Date - Title: Pg #
9/9 - Science Title Page: 1
9/9 - Table of Contents: 2-5
9/10 - Scientific Method Standards: 6
9/10 - Scientific Method Title Pg: 7
9/10 - Pop-Up Intro: 8-9
9/16 - Scientific Method Steps 10
9/16 - Purpose and Research: 11
9/16 - Predictions&Hypotheses: 12-13
9/18 - My Science Classroom: 11 
9/24 - Independent vs. Dependent: 14
9/30 - Procedure and hypothesis: 15
9/26 - Multiple Trials: 16
10/1 - Scientific Method Terms: 17-19
10/2 - Graphs - 3 Kinds: 20-21

10/22 - ODS Standards: 22
10/22 - ODS Title Page: 23
10/22 - ODS FS Journal: 24
10/22 - Forest Field Study: 25
10/30 - Animal Field Study: 26
11/4 - Water Field Study: 27
11/5 - Earth Field Study: 28
11/6 - Final (clear thought) FS: 29
11/8 - Life Cycle of a Salmon: 30-31
11/12 - Ecosystem Standards: 32
11/12 - Ecosystem Title pg: 33
11/12 - Fish Watch #1: 34
11/13 - Eco Concept Web: 36-37

12/3 - Reading NF Standards: 38
12/3 - Reading NF Title pg:39
12/3 - Parts of a NF text: 40-43
12/9 - Website Check: 44

1/7 - Science Fair Logbook: Last 30 pages in Science Notebook (see science fair information for what to include in the Logbook.)

1/22 - Solar System Standards: 46
1/22 - Solar System Title pg: 47
1/22 - Solar System KW: 48
1/27 - Ancient Models of the World: 49
1/27 - My Model of the World: 50
1/29 - Earth and Gravity: 51
2/3 - History Orbiting Theories: 52-53
2/25 - Solar System to Scale: 54
2/26 - Solar System Terms: 55-59
3/3 - Pinto Planets: 60

4/7 - Planet Earth Standards/TP: 62-63
4/8 - PE Essential Questions: 64
4/8 - Planet Earth KW: 65
4/9 - Covection Currents: 66-67
4/11 - Planet Earth Terms: 68-71
4/14 - Convection in Air: 72
4/14 - Drawing Convection: 73-75
4/22 - Models of Earth's Crust: 76
4/23 - Field Work in Cali: 77
4/28 - Plotting Earthquakes: 78
4/29 - Layers of Earth: 79
4/29 - Investigating Viscosity: 80
5/6 - Field Work in Hawaii: 81
5/8 - Field work in Japan: 82
5/12 - Strato vs. Shield: 83
5/13 - Field Work in Nepal: 84
5/16 - Field Work in Iceland: 85
5/20 - F.W. Reviews: 86-90
5/20 - Theory Choices: 91

5/29 - ED Standards & TP: 92-93
5/29 - Egg Drop Plan: 94-95

(ODS = Outdoor School; FS = Field Study; Eco = Ecosystem; SS = Solar System; PE = Planet Earth; ED = Engineering and Design) 

7th Grade

Date - Title: Pg #
9/9 - Science Title Page: 1
9/9 - Table of Contents: 2-5
9/9 - Safety Rules: 6
9/9 - My Science Classroom: 7
9/9 - Scientific Method Standards: 8
9/9 - Scientific Method Title pg: 9
9/11 - Scientific Method Steps: 10
9/11 - Purpose and Research: 11
9/12 - Predictions&Hypotheses: 12-13
9/16 - Independent vs. Dependent: 14
9/17 - Multiple Trials: 15
9/18 - Graphs - 3 Kinds: 16-17

9/25 - P.o.M. Standards: 18
9/25 - P.o.M. Title Pg: 19
9/25 - P.o.M KW: 21
9/26 - History of Skateboarding: 22
9/26 - Concept Web: 23
9/27 - SBS Student Guide: 20
9/30 - Cooperative Group Rubric: 24
9/30 - Energy Reading: 25
9/30 - First Chute Instructions: 26
9/30 - Mechanics Log (ML): 27
10/2 - Potential & Kinetic Energy: 28
10/2 - How to measure Height 29
10/2 - Investigation #1 + ML: 30-31
10/3 - Force and Gravity: 32
10/3 - Improved Chute Plans: 33-35
10/3 - Investigation #2 + ML: 36-37
10/7 - What is friction?: 42
10/7 - How to measure height 43
10/7 - Quarter/Half pipe plans 44-45
10/7 - Investigation #3 + ML: 46-47
10/8 - P.o.M. Term pages 38-41
10/9 - Intertia, Newton, and Street Spines: 50
10/9 - Gluing: 51
10/9 - Street spine/catcher: 52 - 53
10/9 - Investigation #4: 54
11/4 - Plan for Skate park: 55-57

10/21 - ODS Standards: 58
10/21 - ODS Title Page: 59
10/21 - ODS FS Journal: 60
10/21 - Forest Field Study: 61
10/22 - Animals Field Study: 62
10/23 - Earth Field Study: 63
10/24 - Water Field Study: 64
10/28 - Final Field Study: 65
11/4 - Life Cycle of Salmon: 66
11/4 - Trout observation #1: 67
11/12 - Trout observation #2: 69
11/6 - pH or D.O. testing: 68

12/2 - Non-fiction title pg: 70
12/2 - NF standards: 71
12/2 - NF/research KW: 72
12/3 - Parts of a NF text: 73-75
12/5 - Graphic Organizer practice: 76
12/9 - Web Check: 77

12/12 - Science Fair Logbook: Last 30 pages in Science Notebook (see science fair information for what to include in the Logbook.)

1/21 - Cells and Genetics Title pg: 78
1/21 - C&G Standards: 79
1/21 - Biotic vs. Abiotic factors: 80
1/22 - Cells - a short history: 81
1/23 - Plant vs. Animal Cell: 82-83
1/27 - Parts of a Cell (in detail): 84-85
1/30 - Chromo, DNA, Genes: 86-87
2/5 - C&G Terms: 88-91
2/12 - Diluting my DNA: 92-93
2/20 - Sexual vs. Asexual: 94-95


4/7 - Planet Earth Standards/TP: 96-97
4/8 - PE Essential Questions: 98
4/8 - Planet Earth KW: 99
4/9 - Covection Currents: 100-101
4/11 - Planet Earth Terms: 102-105
4/14 - Convection in Air: 106
4/14 - Drawing Convection: 107-109
4/22 - Models of Earth's Crust: 110
4/23 - Field Work in Cali: 111
4/28 - Plotting Earthquakes: 112
4/29 - Layers of Earth: 113
4/29 - Investigating Viscosity: 114
5/6 - Field Work in Hawaii: 115
5/8 - Field work in Japan: 116
5/12 - Strato vs. Shield: 117
5/13 - Field Work in Nepal: 118
5/16 - Field Work in Iceland: 119
5/20 - F.W. Reviews: 120-124
5/20 - Theory Choices: 125

5/29 - ED Standards & TP: 126-127
5/29 - Egg Drop Plan: 128-129

(P.o.M = Physics of Motion; SBS = Skateboard Science ; ML = Mechanics Log; ODS = Outdoor School; FS = Field Study; NF = Non-fiction; C&G = Cells and Genetics; PE = Planet Earth; ED = Engineering and Design) 

8th Grade

Date - Title: Pg #
9/9 - Science Title Page: 1
9/9 - Table of Contents: 2-5
9/9 - Safety Rules: 6
9/9 - My Science Classroom: 7
9/9 - Scientific Method Standards: 8
9/9 - Scientific Method Title pg: 9  
9/11 - Scientific Method Steps: 10
9/11 - Purpose and Research: 11
9/12 - Predictions&Hypotheses: 12-13
9/16 - Independent vs. Dependent: 14
9/17 - Multiple Trials: 15
9/18 - Graphs - 3 Kinds: 16-17

9/25 - Atoms & PT Standards: 18
9/25 - Atoms & PT Title pg: 19
9/25 - Atoms and PT KW 20
9/26 - Interactive Notes - Atoms: 21-23
9/30 - Clay (Playdoh) Atoms: 24
10/1 - Atom Reading: 25
10/1 - Concept Web 26-27
10/3 - Models of the Atom: 28
10/4 - Terms for Atoms & PT: 29-31
10/7 - Periodic Pencil Reflection: 32
10/8 - Dot Diagraming: 33-34
10/28 - Compounds, Chemical equations and bonds: 35
11/4 - Salmon Life Cycle: 36-38
11/5 - Balancing Chemical Equs: 39-40

11/18 - Solar System Standards: 42
11/18 - Solar System Title pg: 43
11/18 - Solar System KW: 44-45
11/20 - Solar System Terms: 46-49
11/21 - Solar System to scale: 50
11/22 - Orbiting Theories: 51-52
12/2 - Comets/Asteroids: 53
12/4 - Pinto Planets: 54

12/9 - Science Fair Logbook: Last 30 pages in Science Notebook (see science fair information for what to include in the Logbook.)
1/21 - Evolution Standards: 56
1/21 - Evolution Title pg: 57
1/21 - Measuring Geologic Time: 58
1/22 - Word Adaptations: 59
1/23 - Notes on Ev & NS: 60-61
1/27 - NS Example: 62
1/28 - "Tweet" Journal Entry: 63
1/29 - NS vs. Artificial Selection: 64-65
2/3 - Earth Clock: 66-67
2/5 - Evolution Terms: 68-71
2/12 - Pasta Cladogram: 72
2/20 - Taxonomy: 73
2/25 - Darwin Notes: 74-75
3/4 - Darwin Reading: 75

4/7 - Planet Earth Standards/TP: 78-79
4/8 - PE Essential Questions: 80
4/8 - Planet Earth KW: 81
4/9 - Covection Currents: 82-83
4/11 - Planet Earth Terms: 84-87
4/14 - Convection in Air: 88
4/14 - Drawing Convection: 89-91
4/22 - Models of Earth's Crust: 92
4/23 - Field Work in Cali: 93
4/28 - Plotting Earthquakes: 94
4/29 - Layers of Earth: 95
4/29 - Investigating Viscosity: 96
5/6 - Field Work in Hawaii: 97
5/8 - Field work in Japan: 98
5/12 - Strato vs. Shield: 99
5/13 - Field Work in Nepal: 100
5/16 - Field Work in Iceland: 101
5/20 - F.W. Reviews: 102-106
5/20 - Theory Choices: 107

5/28 - ED Standards & TP: 108-109
5/28 - Egg Drop Plan: 110-111

(PT = Periodic Table; EV = Evolution; NS = Natural Selection; PE = Planet Earth; ED = Engineering and Design) 

Scientist Spotlight

Check this section to learn about a cool Scientist every month!

June: Galileo Galilei

"Galileo Galilei began his life in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. Born into a family with noble roots, Galileo's father believed that medicine would be the best profession for his son. Galileo's genius was not to be subdued, though. Soon after enrolling into the University of Pisa to study medicine, Galileo dropped out to pursue his interests in mathematics and mechanics. In 1588, he wrote a treatise on the center of gravity for solids and obtained a lecture-ship at the University of Pisa. By 1592, Galileo was offered a chair in mathematics at the University of Padua, where he stayed for eighteen years.

Galileo is best remembered as an astronomer. He had improved on the first versions of the telescope and was the first to observe the seas of the moon and the satellites of Jupiter. Galileo saw Jupiter as a miniature solar system and it convinced him that the Copernican view of the universe was correct. Copernicus theorized that the earth was not the center of the universe, but was just one of many planets that orbited the sun. Prior to his observations, Galileo was already convinced that the old Ptolemaic (earth-centered) view of the universe was wrong. In a letter that he wrote to Kepler in 1597, Galileo confessed that he had refrained from becoming a public advocate of the Copernican view for fear of ridicule. The new discoveries Galileo had made with his telescope was enough for him to discard his reservations, and his battles with the church over the subject became legendary in the scientific community.

However, Galileo's true legacy lives on in physics. Galileo made truly remarkable discoveries in mechanics and is considered to be the first modern scientist. In his time, the ``proper'' way of studying mechanics was through the intense study of the teachings of past scientists. Galileo broke from tradition and went straight to nature. He was one of the first scientists to use experimentation as a powerful tool of investigation. He found that the physics of his time were seriously erred, and set out to correct them. In fact, Galileo is considered to be the father of modern physics. His findings are still alive today, proof of which can be found in any modern physics book." [1]

Take a look around to see what we do in Science class. From the pictures, stories, and videos you'll find here, it's easy to see that our students love Science!

Current Units

For the last two weeks of schoo, all three classes will be working on the same Engineering and Design Challenge instead of their own seperate curriculums.  See my blog post Term 3 Science Overview for more information.

6th, 7th, and 8th Grade - Engineering and Design Challenge

This year, students are being asked to design and build a device to protect and accurately deliver a dropped egg. The device and its contents represent a care package that must be safely delivered to people in a disaster area with no road access. In a similar fashion to a team of design engineers, students design devices using a number of design constraints including limited supplies. The activity emphasizes the change from potential energy to kinetic energy of the device and its contents and the energy transfer that occurs on impact. 
For archived records of our learning with more indepth stories and pictures of these and past units you can head to the Weekly News blog. Use the "tags" or the folder labeled "Science Updates" to narrow your searches.

2014 MRA Science Fair!

Wow. 

WOW.

That's really about all I can say even weeks after our 3rd MRA Science Fair.  I'm so impressed with our students and our school community - from the time and effort that went into the projects to the support and interests younger students and parents took in the Senior projects.  The Science Fair yesterday was absolutely the best one yet!  I'm speechless!

A big thank you to all the students and parents that made it a success.  I know that Chris Dublin took some pictures and will be sending them my way.  If any other parents took any, please shoot me an email or drop off a flash drive/CD so that I can get some up on the blog.  I'm still looking for pictures from the OMSI field trip as well.

Thanks again to our wonderful community.  I'm so lucky to have all of you in my life.  The fair was one of those days where my teaching heart just expanded at least 4 times it's size.  I'm so proud of our students and their incredible work.  Congratulations on the best Science Fair I've ever seen.

If you've missed any of the updates lately about this year's Science Fair, here they are all in one place:

ALL blog posts tagged as Science Fair - Science Fair Blog Posts

12.6.13 March Madness...and not the basketball kind!
1.12.14 Everything you need to know about the 2014 Science Fair 
2.10.14 Science Fair February Update
2.14.14 Senior OMSI Trip - March 6th
2.14.14 Drafts might be rough, but man are we working!
2.26.14 Last day for 6s SF papers
2.26.14 Overview of the next 3 weeks in Science
3.18.14 One more sleep until the Science Fair
3.20.14 Science Fair Success and a huge THANK YOU!

Outdoor School - Fall 2013

If you've missed any of the updates lately about ODS, here they are all in one place:

ALL blog posts tagged as ODS - Outdoor School Blog Posts

10.22.13 6s ad 7s Outdoor School Fall 2013 - the full post from the week with lots of pictures!
10.19.13 Full ODS post coming soon
10.17.13 "Hail, hail the gangs all here...Welcome to Outdoor School!"
10.14.13  ODS Countdown - 1 day!
10.13.13 ODS Countdown - 2 days
10.12.13 ODS Countdown - 3 days
10.11.13 ODS Countdown - 4 days
10.10.13 ODS Countdown - 5 days
10.9.13   ODS Countdown - 6 days
10.8.13 ODS - One week and counting!
9.19.13 Outdoor School Forms and Parent Information
8.21.13 Outdoor School Fall 2013
Outdoor School is an overnight camping experience where students get to explore Science in a real and natural setting.  With a completely trained and qualified staff, ODS offers an unforgettable experience and classes that align with Oregon standards and curriculum.  Let me put it this way:  It’s school, but it’s camp!  What could be better in life?!

Notebooking!

I began a new and exciting way of teaching in Science last year called Interactive Notebooking! We will be using them again this year in all 6-8th grade Science classes. The purpose of the interactive notebook is to:
  • Involve students in "making sense" of their notes visually
  • Develop student nonfiction reading and note-taking skills
  • Teach students "approaches to learning" that will prepare them for success in school.
  • Organize their Science learning and supplies in one place
Each Science class studies their own content, but all use the Notebooks for a common way to store information, make connections, and represent their work in words, illustrations, graphs, and lots of different note taking styles. Each is unique, yet full of information! This year, I've added a running list of the items that should be in student notebooks over on the left hand column of this page.  I will add to it periodically to keep it up to date.  

Check out a few of the examples below to get a feel of our notebooks.

Engrade Blog Series

I've started series of blog posts to help with Engrade tech support. Check out them out if you need any help or a refresher. Head to our Weekly News blog or click on any of the links below to find out more:
Engrade Tech Support
- What is Engrade and how will it help students be successful this year?
- How do I sign up? Is it for Parents or Students?
- Ok, I have an account, but only one of my classes show up. How do I add other classes to my account?

Reading Mrs. Nilsen's Engrade
- How do I read the "code" of scores on Mrs. Nilsen's Engrade?
- What's the deal with the "Homework Club" assignments?
- How do I see the comments Mrs. Nilsen left on my student's assignments?

and Engrade Help #3
- I see the list of assignments, but I don't know what you are asking my student to do for the assignment. How can I see the assignment instructions and details?
- My student lost his/her paper? How can I print another copy of it off Engrade?
- If I write you a message, Mrs. Nilsen, that message is private, right?
I hope all of this information is helpful in using Engrade. I'm always willing to help parents and students with technology issues before or after school, by appointment. Please let me know if I can assist you in any way. As Engrade is free, you can access it on any public or private computer, and it is my hope that it will increase communication and accountability within our students about their school work. Good luck!
Work Cited
[1] Lau, Vincent W. "A Particle in Motion...Galileo's Life." Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). Berkley, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2014. <http://math.berkeley.edu/~robin/Galileo/life.html>.
Author: Emily Nilsen
Molalla River Academy 6/7/8 Teacher
Page Updated: June 2, 2014