In the 8th grade science, students focus on the physical sciences. Topics covered include
- structure of matter
- chemical reactions and bonding
- chemistry of living systems
- motion and forces
- social living
Students also experience science in the Edible Schoolyard kitchen and garden program, with a culminating celebration at the end of the year.
Eighth grade science is a very hands-on program, with students participating in lab and other group activities. Students also utilize the core science text as they improve their skills in understanding nonfiction text. Multimedia is also is also an essential part of the program as teachers utilize video- and computer-based learning to enhance student understanding.
Students start learning about the structure ofmMatter and review skills necessary to being a scientist, starting with measure and calculating density. They then move onto the properties of the states of matter, focusing on the particulate nature of matter. From there, students learn about atomic structure, the periodic table, and how the periodic table helps organize all the elements in the universe. This leads to how the elements bond and react depending on their electron configuration. At the end of the fall semester, the students spend a brief time learning about the chemistry of living system, focusing on the carbon atom and its importance to all living things.
Students start learning about astronomy, focusing first on the “big bang “and how our solar system was formed. They study the characteristics of planets and try to get a grasp on the immensity of space. From there, students travel further out in space, focusing on galaxies and the evolution, life cycle, and classification of stars. The next unit is motion and forces, where students explore distance, time, speed, gravit,y and Newton’s Laws. Project may include paper tube roller coasters, water bottle rockets, and propeller cars to apply what they’ve learned in this unit. Finishing up the year is the social living unit, which explores issues facing adolescents today including drug/alcohol prevention, sexuality, building healthy relationships, birth control, and STD/STI prevention.
In early July, students go to the Exploratorium in San Francisco, where they see many of the physical science concepts in action.