DOE A to Z: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

Model Curriculum » Home

Science » Science Home

Grade Eight Model Curriculum Overview

View unit yearlong overview here

Unit 1: Evidence of a Common Ancestry

Instructional Days: 15

In this unit of study, students analyze graphical displays and gather evidence from multiple sources in order to develop an understanding of how fossil records and anatomical similarities of the relationships among organisms and species describe biological evolution. Students search for patterns in the evidence to support their understanding of the fossil record and how those patterns show relationships between modern organisms and their common ancestors. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, patterns, and structure and function are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students use the practices of analyzing graphical displays and gathering, reading, and communicating information. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-LS4-1, MS-LS4-2, and MS-LS4-3.

Unit 2: Selection and Adaptation

Instructional Days: 20

Students construct explanations based on evidence to support fundamental understandings of natural selection and evolution. They will use ideas of genetic variation in a population to make sense of how organisms survive and reproduce, thus passing on the traits of the species. The crosscutting concepts of patterns and structure and function are called out as organizing concepts that students use to describe biological evolution.  Students use the practices of constructing explanations, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information, and using mathematical and computational thinking. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-LS4-4, MS-LS4-5, and MS-LS4-6.

Unit 3: Stability and Change on Earth

Instructional Days: 30

Students construct an understanding of the ways that human activities affect Earth's systems. Students use practices to understand the significant and complex issues surrounding human uses of land, energy, mineral, and water resources and the resulting impacts on the development of these resources. Students also understand that the distribution of these resources is uneven due to past and current geosciences processes or removal by humans. The crosscutting concepts of patterns, cause and effect, and stability and change are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. In this unit of study students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data, constructing explanations, and designing solutions. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2, MS-ESS3-4, and MS-ESS3-5.

Unit 4: Human Impacts

Instructional Days: 25

In this unit of study, students analyze and interpret data and design solutions to build on their understanding of the ways that human activities affect Earth's systems. The emphasis of this unit is the significant and complex issues surrounding human uses of land, energy, mineral, and water resources and the resulting impacts of these uses. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect and the influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.
Building on Unit 3, students define a problem by precisely specifying criteria and constraints for solutions as well as potential impacts on society and the natural environment; systematically evaluate alternative solutions; analyze data from tests of different solutions; combining the best ideas into an improved solution; and develop and iteratively test and improve their model to reach an optimal solution. In this unit of study students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in analyzing and interpreting data and designing solutions. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-ESS3-3, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, and MS-ETS1-3.

Unit 5: Relationships among Forms of Energy

Instructional Days: 20

In this unit, students use the practices of analyzing and interpreting data, developing and using models, and engaging in argument from evidence to make sense of relationship between energy and forces. Students develop their understanding of important qualitative ideas about the conservation of energy. Students understand that objects that are moving have kinetic energy and that objects may also contain stored (potential) energy, depending on their relative positions. Students also understand the difference between energy and temperature, and the relationship between forces and energy. The crosscutting concepts of scale, proportion, and quantity, systems and system models, and energy and matter are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students use the practices of analyzing and interpreting data, developing and using models, and engaging in argument from evidence. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-2, and MS-PS3-5.

Unit 6: Thermal Energy

Instructional Days: 30

In this unit, students ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, engage in argument from evidence, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations, define problems and design solutions as they make sense of the difference between energy and temperature. They use the practices to make sense of how the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. The crosscutting concepts of energy and matter, scale, proportion, and quantity, and influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world are the organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students ask questions, plan and carry out investigations, engage in argument from evidence, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations, define problems and design solutions.  Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-PS3-3, MS-PS3-4, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, and MS-ETS1-4.

Unit 7: The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Instructional Days: 20

In this unit of study, students develop and use models, use mathematical thinking, and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information in order to describe and predict characteristic properties and behaviors of waves. Students also apply their understanding of waves as a means of sending digital information. The crosscutting concepts of patterns and structure and function are used as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas. Students develop and use models, use mathematical thinking, and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-PS4-1, MS-PS4-2, and MS-PS4-3.

Note: The number of instructional days is an estimate based on the information available at this time. 1 day equals approximately 42 minutes of seat time. Teachers are strongly encouraged to review the entire unit of study carefully and collaboratively to determine whether adjustments to this estimate need to be made.