WMS has adopted the FOSS Science program, which is based on the scientific thinking process, developmentally sequenced in the following cognitive stages:
using the senses to get information
talking, drawing, acting
pairing, one-to-one correspondence
grouping, serializing, sequencing
cause and effect, classification
superordinate/subordinate classification, if/then reasoning, developing scientific laws
developing strategic plans, inventing
The scientific thinking processes guide the selection of content for FOSS. Although students possess the capacity to use all the scientific thinking processes to some degree throughout their lives, some processes are more powerful at certain ages.
- FOSS modules begin with hands-on investigations, then move students toward abstract ideas related to those investigations using simulations, models and readings.
- a child's ability to reason changes over time. FOSS designs investigations to enhance their reasoning abilities.
- fewer topics experienced in depth enhance learning better than many topics briefly visited. FOSS provides long-term (8-10 weeks) topical modules for each grade level, and the modules build upon each other within and across each strand, progressively moving students toward the grand ideas of science.
Practical experience in classrooms demonstrates that students learn best by doing. When involved in learning something of interest, students come to understand concepts more fully, remember them longer after the experience, and develop confidence in their ability to find things out and to understand science.
6th Grade Physical Science
The 6th grade science curriculum at Washington Middle School consists of three courses.
The first course is Science Process Skills in which we learn the steps in conducting a scientific investigation.
The second course is a FOSS kit called Earth History. We will examine the earth’s processes and systems that have operated over geological time. We will also use evidence found in rocks to come up with explanations of past environments. The Grand Canyon will be our focus of study.
The third course is a FOSS kit called Diversity of Life. This course introduces students to the big picture of life on Earth. We are living on a small, crowded planet among millions of other kinds of organisms. The diversity is awesome. We will study the structures and functions of these living organisms.
7th Grade Physical Science
Welcome to 7th grade science!
This year is exciting as students will be immersed in the study of Chemical Interactions, Energy, and Catastrophic Events. This year’s students will be the first to work with the new district science curriculum. Students will be studying these topics by designing and conducting scientific investigations; using tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data; developing descriptions, explanations, predictions and models using evidence; thinking critically and logically to make connections between evidence and explanations; and, communicating scientific procedures and explanations.
8th Grade Physical Science
Populations & Ecosystems
This course will include the components of an ecosystem, population dynamics, food webs, types of populations, natural selection and genetics.
This course provides students with the first steps along the path of ecological understanding, with the hope that their future steps will be considered and measured, serving the interests of all life.
Force & Motion
What we take for granted is often worthy of contemplation, in part because it is so commonplace. Familiarity can breed a sense of innate understanding where none really exists. We rarely question what makes things move, often resorting to the popular nonexplanation, “That’s the way the world works.”
This course will cover an object’s position, speed/velocity, and acceleration. We will also cover the forces that govern that motion including Newton’s laws, gravity and friction.
Astronomy is the study of everything we can observe and imagine beyond Earth—the Moon, the Sun, the Solar System with all the planets and lesser objects in it, the Milky Way, and the vastness of the cosmos. Astronomers investigate the kinds and numbers of objects in the cosmos, the composition of the objects, and the motions and interactions of the objects with one another. Because Earth is part of this large system, the science of astronomy includes the study of our own planet.