Middle School Science

Department:  Middle School

The Waterford Science Program develops in each student: A foundation in current human understanding of the fundamental physical and natural sciences underpinned by knowledge of the historical context of scientific advancement. A capacity to evaluate arguments based on evidence, reach appropriate conclusions and pose scientific questions. The skills of a scientist: to make observations, to draw on established knowledge, to organize effort in a logical manner, to collect and process data, to choose and safely use appropriate scientific tools, and to communicate within the global community of scientists. The ability, and sense of responsibility, to apply science knowledge, skills, and thinking in the service of expanding human knowledge and maintaining the health of our planet. An appreciation of the beauty of our universe and the uniquely human endeavor of science.

Science VI: Biology
Biology VI serves as an introduction to biology concepts and skills. The course emphasis is on developing a working knowledge of some of the main themes of biology. Themes for investigation include: the relationship between structure and function, how living things attain energy, and the scientific method. We also learn about the geographic setting of Utah and Waterford and how it defines our surrounding biological diversity. The term-long investigation of plant growth requires students to apply the scientific method with a rigor they have not previously experienced.

Science VI: Chemistry
Students are introduced to the idea of thinking as a scientist. Included in this study are units on chemical reactions, phases of matter, molecular theory, mixtures, acids and bases, and biochemistry. Special emphasis in the laboratory is placed on developing students' ability to make careful observations, to follow instructions, to work productively with a partner, to draw inferences, and to conduct experiments in a safe manner.

Science VI: Earth Science
Students learn and investigate the materials that compose the earth and understand the processes responsible for the formation of rocks, minerals and other geological structures. Geology presents an interesting twist in the scientific method: in geology one looks at the results of long processes and tries to account for the scenario that made them. Included in the course is an emphasis on the geological history of Utah and the Wasatch Front region in particular.

Science VII: Integrated Physical Science
This is a three-semester sequence whose purpose is to give the students a beginning knowledge of physical science and to explore the means by which scientific knowledge is acquired. The theme of the course is the development of evidence for an atomic model of matter. Students use experimentation and guided reasoning based upon the results of student experiments in that pursuit. Each student maintains a lab notebook and learns how to collect and analyze data.

Science VIII: Genetics
The course is an introduction to the modern understanding of, and application of, the genetic basis of life. Students learn how meiosis accounts for diversity in species populations. Mendel's discoveries of the mechanisms involved in inheritance follow and then the students learn of non-Mendelian genetics. Students also learn how genes translate into proteins and gain an overview of the critical role of proteins in biological organisms.

Science VIII: Physics
Class VIII Physics is a term long course, in which most of the course concentrates on classical mechanics, including motion, Newton's laws, energy, and momentum.  This course is the first time middle school students are asked to apply their algebra skills to science problems. While challenging, it is important for students to see the disciplines merge. Concepts are illuminated through various projects and design challenges. The term concludes with the ever-popular "Egg Drop Contest."

Science VIII: Zoology
This course takes an evolutionary approach to the vast diversity of animals on this planet. How do different animals get oxygen to their cells? Nutrients? How do they excrete poisons? Who are their close relatives? How do we know? How many kinds of eyes have evolved? Why? What is the advantage/disadvantage of sexual reproduction? Why do insects dominate this planet?