Grade 6

Grade 6 is a transitional year for most of our students as they move from their JrK-5 buildings into their new Upper Schools. The 6th grade curriculum reflects this transition and is the first year of the Upper School curriculum: "Making Global Citizens." Sixth grade is seen as a year of building blocks and the content addressed reflects that.  

During the 2012-2013 school year the following curriculum was implemented. In 2013-2014 changes will follow in the seventh grade and in 2014-2015 a new 8th grade curriculum will be introduced.

In Grade 6, instructional time should focus on three critical areas:

  • Using and analyzing models to explain scientific ideas;
  • Using evidence in written and oral scientific discourse to demonstrate understanding; and
  • Reading and following a multi-step procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, and performing technical tasks.
Unit Understandings Essential Questions
Astronomy Students will understand that...
  • Scale and proportion relationships exist between solar system, galaxy, and universe.
  • Humans use models to build an understanding of observable patterns and phenomena.
  • As technology improves, models become more accurate and our understandings about the nature of the universe change.
  • Workings of our solar system, such as rotation, and revolution create repeating predictable patterns that affect our daily lives - including day/night and eclipses.
  • When an observer sees an object in a different position from where it was previously either that object has moved or the observer has moved in the opposite direction.
  • Light allows us to gather data about the universe.
  • Light travels in a predictable way based on the medium (material) it encounters.
  • A wave model of light is useful for explaining brightness, color, and the frequency dependent bending of light at a surface between media.
  • Waves are repeating patterns that travel over distance.
  • A wave model of sound is useful for explaining volume and pitch.
  • What counts as scientific evidence?
  • What is light? What is dark?
  • Where are we in the universe?
  • How can models help us explain how the universe works?
Geology Students will understand that...
  • A large and diverse body of evidence is necessary to construct a model of Earth and Earth’s history.
  • Fossil record can be used to explain many things about Earth’s past.
  • Mapping of data can be used to identify patterns that can help explain past events and predict future events.
  • The Earth is very old and is constantly changing. Both slow and fast changes have shaped the earth over time.
  • Earth’s history includes changes on the surface of the earth and life on earth
  • The uneven distribution and finite supply of resources (water, fossil fuels, minerals, metals,) is a result of the earth processes that has formed them.
  • How much evidence is enough evidence?
  • How does the Earth change over time and how do we know?
  • How does studying the past help us predict the future?
Students will understand that...
  • Conditions for life and characteristics of life are parallel at macroscopic and microscopic levels.
  • An ecosystem is a collection of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) things that are interdependent through a range of complex relationships.
  • Organisms in an ecosystem have adaptations that help them meet their needs and compete for the available resources in that ecosystem.
  • Photosynthetic organisms (plants and algae) make their own food from sunlight and animals obtain their food by eating plants and/or other animals.
  • Populations of organisms are dynamic and change over time based on changes in the ecosystem.
  • Biodiversity is a reflection of the diverse conditions on Earth over time.
  • How do scientists use evidence to support claims?
  • How are we interdependent with Earth's ecosystems?
  • What does it mean to be alive?