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6th Grade Science Teachers
  Laura Foxworthy (925) 258-6282 Science
  Debra Jockisch (925) 258-6276 6th grade Science

6th Grade Science

Science class emphasizes hands-on experiences. Activities are geared specifically for the 6th grade. 

6th Grade Yearly Plan and Overview of Curriculum

Diversity of Life Unit

Investigation 1: What is Life?
Students begin their investigation of life by thinking about the characteristics and requirements that all life has. They start developing a definition of life that will guide them throughout the course.

Investigation 2: The Microscope
Students learn to use a tool, the compound microscope that opens up the world of microorganisms and cells. They use the diameter of the field of view to begin estimating the size of organism that are invisible to the naked eye.

Investigation 3: The Cell
Students discover cells and think about what it means to be a single celled or multicellular organism. They add “made of cells” to their definition of life. They learn that cells are made of structures that enable the functions of life.

Investigation 4: The Domains
Students learn about the levels of complexity from atom to cell in a card sort and begin to apply their burgeoning understanding of life to unfamiliar organisms such as protists, fungi, bacteria and archaea. They apply their “life” criteria to determine if these specimens are actually living. Students are introduced to the domain system of classification.

Investigation 5: Plant’s Vascular System
Students conduct an investigation to understand how the vascular system transports water throughout a vascular plant. They are introduced to photosynthesis and aerobic cellular respiration, two important life processes. Students extend the levels of complexity to include multicellular organism, moving from cells to tissues, to organs, to organ systems, and finally to multicellular organisms.

Investigation 6: Plant Reproduction and Growth
Students dissect a seed and then plant various grains to investigate how the environmental factor of salinity affects their germination and growth. They enter into the world of flowering plant reproduction and discover the relationship between flowers and pollinators.

Investigation 7: Variation of Traits
Students compare the process of a sexual reproduction of protists to sexual reproduction in flowering plants and most animals. Students use a model to determine how characteristics are inherited and learn the language of genetics.

Investigation 8: Insects
Students encounter the Madagascar hissing cock roach, which extends the world of multicellular organisms. They compare the vascular system of vascular plants to the transport systems of insects and humans.

Investigation 9: Diversity of Life
Students conduct a bio blitz to learn about the biodiversity that exists in their area. They conclude their study of life by considering the question of viruses.

Weather and Water Unit

Investigation 1: What is Weather?
Students are introduced to the concept of weather and the tools that meteorologists use to measure and study weather factors.

Investigation 2: Where’s the Air?
Students learn that weather occurs in the atmosphere and that the atmosphere is composed of air, which has mass and can be compressed.

Investigation 3: Air Pressure and Wind
Students investigate the relationship between changing air pressure and wind. They develop a particle model for air pressure, then make inferences about wind movement on a large scale.

Investigation 4: Convection
Students develop the concept of density on their way to understanding convection as a process of mass movement of fluids and a mechanism for energy transfer.

Investigation 5: Heat Transfer
Students differentiate between weather and climate. They compare cities at different latitudes to discover climate differences, then learn that climate is related to the amount of solar energy transferred to Earth and the materials on the surface of the Earth.

Investigation 6: Air Flow
Students explore conduction to round out their understanding of heat transfers, then deepen their understanding of the causes of wind. They consider local wind factors and global wind patterns, including the Coriolis Effect.

Investigation 7: Water in the Air
Students focus on the wet part of weather by investigating humidity to understand some of the variables that influence its transition from liquid to gas, from gas to liquid, and from liquid to solid, including cloud formation and precipitation.

Investigation 8: Meteorology
Students pull together all the physical science concepts they’ve learned in the course to explain weather. They interpret radiosonde data from weather balloons and use a weather map to write and deliver a TV style weather report.

Investigation 9: The Water Planet
Students learn that the water cycle is complex and involves water everywhere in the global environment. They explore what causes ocean currents, and how proximity to the ocean can affect climate.

Investigation 10: Climate Over Time
Students refine the distinction between weather and climate and are introduced to the concept of climate change. They explore greenhouse gases and global average temperature, and consider implications of climate change. Student consider human involvement in increasing greenhouse gases, including actions that may mitigate climate change.