Yokohama International School

General Science
Back to School Night Information 2009

Grade 6 Teacher: Grade 7 Teachers: Grade 8 Teachers:

Mr. Robinson Mr. Lorimer and Mr. Robinson Mr. Lorimer and Mr. Robinson


Course Aims: The middle school General Science courses are designed to encourage students to recognise, describe, use, and apply scientific ideas to explain the physical world. Students experience learning sequences that develop critical thinking and practical skills. These help them to understand the world around them and communicate their ideas thoughtfully. Skills Scientific inquiry has a central place in science because it helps pupils to understand how scientific ideas are developed, and because the skills and processes of scientific inquiry are useful in many everyday situations. In General Science students: • Think critically • Test out ideas experimentally • Develop practical skills • Use collaborative approaches to solving problems • Appreciate the importance of experimental evidence Class materials When attending science class there are a number of materials that students must bring to each lesson: • The text “Spotlight Science” • 2 ring folder with loose sheets of A4 for notes and experiments • Blue or black pen • Pencil • Eraser Homework A small amount of homework will be given for most lessons and will be checked once a week on an assigned day. It is the student’s responsibility to record the homework in their diary and ensure it is completed. Progress reports are sent home for all students who consistently fail to complete homework. Days when homework will be checked are as follows: 6A - Monday 6B - Tuesday 6C - Wednesday 7A - Monday 7B - Monday 7C - Monday 8A - Monday 8B - Monday 8C - Monday Assessment Starting this year there are going to be some changes to the ways that your child is assessed. You will notice these changes when you see the marks they get back for tests, experiments, and projects, and you will notice the changes on their report card. The main change you will notice is that students will no longer receive letter grades (A-F) and will instead get number grades. In General Science they will get scores between 0 and 6, with 0 being the lowest, and 2

6 the highest. Criteria Criteria are used by the teacher and student to decide how well the student has performed on an assessment task. We have used them in the past, but some have changed their name and some have been added. The new criteria are: A) One world. This means how well a student understands the role of science in society. B) Communication in science. This means how well a student is able to communicate scientific information. C) Knowledge and understanding in science. This means how well a student understands the scientific ideas and concepts. D) Scientific inquiry. This means how well a student can design and carry out experiments. E) Processing data. This means how well a student is able to organise and process dataincluding graphs and calculations. F) Attitudes in science. This means how well a student works with others. Are they safe, respectful, and cooperative. Overall grades In the past when students completed an assessment task they received an overall score. From now on they will receive a separate score for each criteria. On their report card they will no longer get an overall grade for the semester. Instead they will get a separate grade for each criteria based on how well they are doing by the end of the semester. This grade is the decision of the teacher and is not an average. Assessment Tasks The assessment tasks this year have not changed. The tasks include: 3 tests (4 tests for grade 6) 1 exam (for grade 7 & 8 only) 3 experiment reports 1 poster project 1 experiment design project 1 essay project Folios In the past students have kept all of their completed assessment tasks in their science folder. From now on they will place them in a folio- called a “student codex”. They will the codex home to show you twice a year, and you can discuss it with them at the student led conferences later in the year. Formative Assessment You may notice that this year students will not receive a grade for every task they do. For some tasks, such as practical activities, they will get feedback on how they did but not a grade. This feedback may come from the teacher, peers, parents, or even themselves in the form of self-assessment Experiments and Practical Learning Experimentation is central to the pursuit of scientific knowledge. It is something scientists do every day, and is a practical way to introduce students to the scientific method. As such, experiments will be conducted on a regular basis throughout this course. Experiments are to be written up on loose sheets of A4 and placed in the back of their folder behind a divider. Students will be shown a specific way to document their experiments, and they will be expected to do so for each experiment that they conduct. These experiments are 3

to be kept together and will be periodically collected and graded. General Science Website ( This year General Science will no longer use the YIS web site, and will instead be using the YIS learning hub. The hub contains important student resources and is where important due dates and reminders are posted. While a hard copy of all documents is given to students, and due dates are written in the student’s diary, you may find the hub a useful place to keep track of what your children should be working on. Course descriptions: In grade 6 students study the following units: 1. Introduction to science 2. Cells 3. Tissues and organs 4. Variation and classification 5. Environments 6. Reproduction 7. Energy 8. Forces 9. Matter and chemical reactions 10. Space and the solar system In grade 7 students study the following units: 1. Digestion and cellular respiration 2. Breathing and circulation 3. Immunity and disease 4. Geology 5. Classifying matter 6. Heat 7. Electricity 8. Light 9. Sound In grade 8 students study the following units: 1. Magnets 2. Forces and Speed 3. Pressure and Leverage 4. Chemicals and Reactions 5. Metals and Reactivity 6. Acids and Bases 7. Inheritance and Selection 8. Ecology and Evolution 9. Plants and the Biosphere