Middle School Science


Middle School Science in CREC Magnet Schools is based on the Connecticut’s Science Standards which are the Next Generation Science Standards . Over the course of middle school science, students develop their science and engineering skills to figure out scientific concepts and solve problems for engineering. All middle school science courses use phenomena, or anchoring events or problems, to set the stage for learning about science content. These phenomena provide a context for understanding content. For example, instead of just learning the different body systems, students learn about the body systems in the context of understanding how a disease affects the different body systems. Students conduct investigations and research to figure out these complex phenomena throughout the course of their units of study. 


Key Concepts Addressed

Grade 6

In middle school science, students continue to develop their science skills to understand content. Students practice and use skills such as developing models (physical or drawn representations of scientific phenomena); conducting investigations, including data analysis; and communicating like a scientist through argumentation and explanation.

Additionally, students work to make deeper connections through understanding ideas that cross all science content areas, like how structure is related to function, how systems work, patterns, cause and effect relationships, and how energy and matter flow through our universe.

In all three grades, content and skills build off one another, weaving together life, earth, and physical sciences into all grades. Students also use their science and engineering skills to solve problems through engineering tasks.

  • Human body systems, from cells to the whole body

  • Understanding patterns of inheritance of traits in organisms

  • Energy (heat) transfer in systems

  • Patterns in weather and climate

Grade 7

  • Changes in matter: what causes chemical and physical changes of materials?

  • Ecosystem dynamics: matter and energy flowing through living and nonliving things

  • Earth systems: understanding stability and change

Grade 8

  • Investigate forces and motion

  • Patterns in waves and using waves to communicate and store information

  • Understanding how organisms have changed over time to be so different

  • Patterns of change in Earth’s history

The goal of science instruction in CREC middle schools is to engage students in understanding fundamental questions about the world through investigation. Science courses in middle school build towards a goal of students have gained enough knowledge of scientific practices, skills, and core ideas of content to engage in public discussions on science-related issues. Science instruction provides opportunities for students to become critical consumers of scientific information as it relates to their everyday lives. Finally, instruction in science seeks to create a desire to continue to learn about the beauty and wonder of science throughout their lives. 

To meet this end, CREC science teachers commit themselves to engaging students in real-world problems and phenomena. Students are being asked to figure out what something is, or why something is, through investigation and research. Teachers are telling students less, and asking them to figure out more as deep and critical thinkers, working with their peers to solve problems. 

Throughout each unit, students will:

  • Collaborate with their peers and conduct investigations to understand scientific concepts and to solve real-world problems. 

  • Communicate scientifically, through formal writing, such as lab reports or technical reports, as well as through more informal explanations and arguments. 

  • Practice and utilize scientific skills for investigation and design. 

  • Use productive discourse to deepen understanding through small group and whole class discussion. 

Classroom Materials:   

Schools identify and use a variety of classroom materials including:

  • Science notebooks

  • CREC curriculum resources including common activities and assessments

  • Various investigative or design lab materials and resources

What You Can to Do at Home

  • Ask your child questions about what they are doing in science, or what problems they are trying to figure out in class. Encourage and promote curiosity. When your child asks how something works or why something is, don’t tell them. Ask them to try to figure it out, and listen to their reasoning to keep them curious. If possible, have them fidget with items to see their inner workings. 

  • Help your child develop a routine for doing homework, studying, eating, and sleeping that will establish a lifelong pattern for healthy habits. Continue to reinforce that your child maintain a daily routine for doing homework, studying, eating, and sleeping. 

  • Watch special science-related TV and video programs together (e.g. Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, The Weather Channel, NASA TV). Watch the news on TV together, and discuss articles about natural disasters, advances in medicine, and disease transmission.

  • Share newspaper or magazine articles and informational books about topics your child is interested in and/or are studying in school.

  • Observe Science. Visit local nature centers, museums, planetarium, and science centers. Visit local reservoirs and waterways (e.g. Connecticut River, Long Island Sound, ponds or streams in your neighborhood) and observe what the water does to the land. Take a family hike in a local state park during all times of the year to observe the habitats of the local plants and animals.

  • Encourage your students to tinker, engineer and conduct science investigations at home. You can, provide opportunities to use various tools when you are putting something together or building or fixing things around the home. Plan and grow a vegetable or flower garden or potted plants at your home. Provide homes for birds. Start composting and ask your child to explain how composting relates to energy passage.

  • Encourage your child’s interest in music, either singing and/or playing an instrument.

  • Read about science. Encourage friends and family to give books or magazine subscriptions to your child as gifts. Share newspaper or magazine articles and informational books about topics your child is interested in and/or are studying in school.

  • Share and discuss how you solve problems and use measurement in your everyday life, such as while cooking, building, gardening, or caring for a family pet.



Contact Information: Julie Christianson, Supervisor for Science, [email protected]
For access to the full version of the CREC Grades 6-8 Curriculum Guide, click here.

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