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Grade 8

The Grade 8 curriculum focuses on three domains of science: life, physical, and earth science.

In Grade 8, instructional time should focus on three critical areas:

  1. Using cause and effect relationships to explain observations, events and phenomena in the natural world;
  2. Designing, implementing, and communicating the results of a scientific investigation; and
  3. Reading and comprehending grade level science texts independently and proficiently.
Unit Understandings
(Students will understand that...)
Essential Questions
Forces at a Distance
  • Electric, magnetic, and gravitational forces act at a distance and are essential forces in our everyday lives.
  • Electric, magnetic, and gravitational fields can store and transfer energy.
  • Electricity and Magnetism are interrelated.
  • Celestial objects orbit and tides occur because of gravity. 
  • Why are things the way they are? (year-long)
  • How do invisible forces change the world around us?
  • How do forces shape the universe?
  • Why do things fall when nothing is touching them?
Forces in Earth Systems
  • Energy from the sun and gravity together affect conditions on Earth through the processes of radiation, differential heating, and convection.
  • Conditions on Earth are dynamic and can change randomly and rapidly (weather) but also in predictable patterns (seasons and climate).
  • Humans use models to build an understanding of observable patterns and phenomena.
  • Why are things the way they are? (year-long)
  • How does heat cause change on earth?
  • Why do some things change quickly while others change slowly?
  • How can models help us explain how the universe works?
Evolution as a Force of Change
  • Structures and behaviors of individual organisms influence their rate of successful reproduction in a particular environment.
  • Inheritance, mutation, variation, shifts in the abiotic and biotic factors, and competition for resources leads to changes in traits (adaptations) of populations (group of same species) over time.
  • The physical characteristics, behaviors, and species of organisms that exist today are a result of current conditions as well as their ancestry.
  • Variation is probabilistic and patterns of inheritance are predictable.
  • Although each organism's genetic makeup is unique, only some differences cause changes in a trait in the organism, which could be beneficial, harmful, or neutral, minor or significant.
  • Our understanding of genetics and evolution has changed over time as types of evidence and tools available has expanded.
  • Why are things the way they are? (year-long)
  • Why are we similar and why are we different?
  • Are we all really as different as we seem?
  • How do models promote or hinder our understanding of the world around us?