main content starts here

Science

The Shaker Middle School science program is dedicated to preparing all students for commencement level science courses in the high school. Our programs foster imaginative problem solving, effective collaboration, and responsible and appropriate communication skills in a safe, positive, and supportive environment. Students will meaningfully engage with science tools, techniques, skills, and concepts to raise their capacity as curious and critical thinkers.

New York State is undergoing a full overhaul to our science standards and the 2021-2022 school year will represent year three of a five-year, kindergarten through 12th grade transition for our district. View more information about the new standards in science, called the New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards (NYSp-12SLS).

Please see the information below for the full transition plan at the middle school. The shaded boxes represent courses operating under the new standards.

Three-year New Standards Transition at the Middle School

2019-20

6th Grade

Physical Science (first year under new standards)

7th Grade

Life Science

8th Grade

Physical Science/Earth Science (acceleration)

2020-21

6th Grade

Physical Science

7th Grade

Life Science (first year under new standards)

8th Grade

Physical Science/Earth Science (acceleration)

2021-22

6th Grade

Physical Science

7th Grade

Life Science

8th Grade

MS Earth and Space Science* (first year under new standards)/HS and MS Earth and Space Science (acceleration)

Note: 2021-2022 is the first year that ALL courses at the middle school will operate under the new standards. For 8th grade during the 2021-2022 school year, all students will take Earth and Space Science. Students who qualify for acceleration in science, may take a combination course, which will include middle school (MS) and high school (HS) Earth and Space standards, completion of 1200 minutes of laboratory, and the NYS Regents exam in Earth and Space Science.

Course Descriptions

Life Science- 7th Grade

This course is based on middle school topics in Life Science and follows the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards. Topics include: Structure and Function of Organisms, Information Processing, Growth and Development, Inheritance/Variation of Traits, Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms/Ecosystems, Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and Biodiversity. Since this course is aligned with new, NYSp12SLS standards, students will also engage in the Science and Engineering Practices and the Cross Cutting Concepts in Science. Please see the “Additional Information Regarding the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards” section, below, for more details regarding the Science and Engineering Practices and the Cross Cutting Concepts in science

Special Class Science 7

A self-contained alternate curriculum class that focuses on functional life and physical science concepts and the application of technology. The focus includes but is not limited to such topics as the Earth, Solar System, Living Systems (food chain), basic scientific principles of discovery, the use of technology in applying science to students’ daily lives and current events.

Middle School Earth and Space Science – 8th Grade

This course is based on middle school topics in Earth and Space Science and follows the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards. Topics include: Space Systems, History of Earth, Earth’s Systems (material cycles, energy flow, Earth resources), Weather and Climate, and Human Impacts. Since this course is aligned with new, NYSp-12SLS standards, students will also engage in the Science and Engineering Practices and the Cross Cutting Concepts in Science. Please see the “Additional Information Regarding the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards” section, below, for more details regarding the Science and Engineering Practices and the Cross Cutting Concepts in science.

Accelerated Earth and Space Science- 8th Grade

This course is based on BOTH middle school standards in Earth and Space Science AND high school standards in Earth and Space Science and follows the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards at BOTH levels. Topics include: Space Systems, History of Earth, Earth’s Systems (material cycles, energy flow, Earth resources), Weather and Climate, Human Impacts, and Human Sustainability.

Because this program consists of standards from BOTH middle school and high school Earth and Space courses, students/families should be exceptionally thoughtful as they consider this placement. Students must exhibit outstanding work ethic, be independently responsible for their work/effort, and exhibit a high level of aptitude in both science and mathematics.

In addition to the above, students enrolled in this program will  complete the NYS minimum laboratory requirement of 1200 minutes hands-on lab time, a mid-year test, and the NYS Earth Science Regents examination in June. In order to accommodate BOTH middle school AND high school standards, Students enrolled in Accelerated Earth and Space Science must also attend an additional laboratory assignment. The extra laboratory assignment may interfere with a student’s ability to take certain elective courses such as music (multiple performing groups), Studio Art, or DDE.

A student must meet the following criteria to be placed in this advanced class:

  1. Achieved an A average in Life Science 7.
  2. No individual effort and conduct grade may be less than G throughout Life Science 7.
  3. Recommended by his/her Life Science 7 instructor for placement.

Success in advanced sciences such as Chemistry and Physics at Shaker High School is strongly correlated to success in mathematics. Specifically, students having completed Geometry before entering Chemistry, and Algebra 2 before entering Physics, are most successful. Therefore, students qualifying and electing to accelerate in science by taking Accelerated Earth and Space Science in 8th grade, should most often select and be capable of successful acceleration in mathematics as well. In rare instances, exceptions to this may exist. Please seek the advice of your student’s science teacher and/or counselor if you qualify for and are considering acceleration in science without acceleration in mathematics.

Additional Information Regarding the new, New York State p-12 Science Learning Standards

The new, NYSp-12SLS standards are not only content standards, but they also emphasize particular practices as well as common themes found in all sciences. These practices and themes are found in all courses from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and differ only in complexity based on a particular age/grade. Therefore, in addition to the topics listed in the course descriptions above, students will also engage with the Science and Engineering Practices (practices) and the Cross Cutting Concepts (themes). The table below lists each:

Science and Engineering Practices | Cross Cutting Concepts

  1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems | Cause and Effect
  2. Developing and Using Models | Structure and Function
  3. Planning and Carrying Out Investigations | Systems and System Models
  4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data | Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
  5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking | Stability and Change
  6. Construction Explanations and Designing Solutions | Energy and Matter
  7. Engaging in Argument From Evidence | Patterns
  8. Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Special Class Science 8

A self-contained alternate curriculum class that focuses on functional life and physical science concepts and the application of technology. The focus includes but is not limited to such topics as the Earth, Solar System, Living Systems (food chain), basic scientific principles of discovery, the use of technology in applying science to students’ daily lives and current events.