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7th Grade Science

Project-Based Science 2017-18

How does the Earth Work?

Investigate the physics, chemistry and biology of our planet with Chrome Books, FOSS, activities and projects in the lab and outside


1. Introductions:  How we’ll work together. What you already know and want to know about how the Earth works, and what exactly IS science? Consider threats to the Earth and look for signs of credible hope - a year-long investigation. Participate in the Socrates Café, online research, video clips and team building challenges. [PBL, creativity, collaborative norms for creative groups]


2. Help Plan an Ideal School:  This year only! Give your considered input to the OUSD Facilities Master Plan on Wed. Sept.13th 2.30-3.30. You’ll tour the school, look at what has been done elsewhere and get a sense of what is realistic based on our constraints. And then you get to give your input as members of the community in a students-only input day.


3. Solar Ovens:  Make a solar oven to cook a mini marshmallow into a mini s’mores.  Investigate heat transfer and optics. Learn about greenhouse effect, climate change and the role of solar ovens in developing countries. Posters to raise money for real NGO’s promoting solar ovens. [Thermodynamics, engineering, scientific surveying, energy transformation, climate change.]


4. Timeline of Life and Earth:  Learn about it then develop a scale that kids will instantly understand, to show the main events in the evolution of life on Earth. Maybe a tetherball string, a day or the length of the Glorietta playground. These will be displayed at the Jan. Open House.  [Earth history, scale, cognitive psychology, math, art, teaching skills]


5. Survive the Next Big One:  Why are we at risk from earthquakes? How big is the risk and what can we do to stay safe? Learn all about plate tectonics and earthquake engineering with labs and challenges, culminating in an ad safety campaign for our community.  National Shake-Out Day is October 20th! [Plate tectonics, seismic engineering]


6. The History and Hazards of the Hills:  How did the hills behind the school form? Investigate the uplift and erosional forces, dig a hole and learn about how the soil formed. Model the forces with sand and sandwich models, hoses and mud. Tell the story as a children’s story e book or a video clip that our elementary schools could use. Find out how the Earth’s resources are used to make your favorite stuff. [Geomorphology, tectonics, erosion, deposition, soil science, surveying]


7. All About Ecosystems:  Get set for taking environmental action for your next project. Includes eco games, the state of life on Earth and true stories of hope.


8. The Take Action Project:  All year, you will be collecting ideas for problems to effective and informed action on: What are YOU inspired to do? Make a small change in your own life that will help the world, then scale it up – what if everyone made that same change? What could the effect on the whole world be? Make an ad for others to take effective action to make the world a better place. Your ad will be played at the TAP Film Festival. [Sustainability, ecology and the cascade effect, climate change, resource shortages, plastics problems]


9. Genetics:  Investigate the nature and nurture that led to you being you by interviewing your family, looking through photographs and putting together a family trees. Trace a trait to evaluate if it’s dominant or recessive.  Make a poster for display. [Genetics, developmental psychology]


10. Sex Ed:  Learn the science behind sexual reproduction in plants, animals and us. [Sex education, reproductive system, letter-writing genre]


Take-a-Break Days:

Cool News in Science!: You’ll get regular opportunities to keep up with ANY area of science through TED talks and the very latest magazine articles.


Creative Collaboration Games: To hone our ability to work, learn and innovate together.


Picture It!: Take beautiful and informative pictures to illustrate concepts we are studying from the real world. Add to our classroom art/science gallery. You’ll do at least one per unit.


Signs of Credible Hope: Look for scientifically valid ideas that are helping to solve a threat to our future.