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Science Middle School Programs - Sixth Grade

Grade 6 science is interdisciplinary in nature; however, much of the content focus is on physical
science. National standards in science are organized as multi-grade blocks such as Grades 5-8
rather than individual grade levels. In order to follow the grade level format used in Texas, the
various national standards are found among Grades 6, 7, and 8. Recurring themes are pervasive
in sciences, mathematics, and technology. These ideas transcend disciplinary boundaries and
include change and constancy, patterns, cycles, systems, models, and scale.

The strands for Grade 6 include:
  • Scientific Investigations and Reasoning
    • To develop a rich knowledge of science and the natural world, students must become
      familiar with different modes of scientific inquiry, rules of evidence, ways of formulating
      questions, ways of proposing explanations, and the diverse ways scientists study the
      natural world and propose explanations based on evidence derived from their work.
    • Scientific investigations are conducted for different reasons. All investigations require
      a research question, careful observations, data gathering, and analysis of the data to
      identify the patterns that will explain the findings. Descriptive investigations are used to
      explore new phenomena such as conducting surveys of organisms or measuring the
      abiotic components in a given habitat. Descriptive statistics include frequency, range,
      mean, median, and mode. A hypothesis is not required in a descriptive investigation. On
      the other hand, when conditions can be controlled in order to focus on a single variable,
      experimental research design is used to determine causation. Students should experience
      both types of investigations and understand that different scientific research questions
      require different research designs.
    • Scientific investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should
      understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and the
      methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new
      observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the
      natural world and can show how systems work. Models have limitations and based on
      new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.
  • Matter and Energy
    • Matter can be classified as elements, compounds, or mixtures. Students have already
      had experience with mixtures in Grade 5, so Grade 6 will concentrate on developing an
      understanding of elements and compounds. It is important that students learn the
      differences between elements and compounds based on observations, description of
      physical properties, and chemical reactions. Elements are represented by chemical
      symbols, while compounds are represented by chemical formulas. Subsequent grades
      will learn about the differences at the molecular and atomic level.
    • Elements are classified as metals, nonmetals, and metalloids based on their physical
      properties. The elements are divided into three groups on the Periodic Table. Each
      different substance usually has a different density, so density can be used as an
      identifying property. Therefore, calculating density aids classification of substances.
    • Energy resources are available on a renewable, nonrenewable, or indefinite basis.
      Understanding the origins and uses of these resources enables informed decision
      making. Students should consider the ethical/social issues surrounding Earth's
      natural energy resources, while looking at the advantages and disadvantages of
      their long-term uses.
  • Force, motion, and energy. Energy occurs in two types, potential and kinetic, and
    can take several forms. Thermal energy can be transferred by conduction, convection,
    or radiation. It can also be changed from one form to another. Students will investigate
    the relationship between force and motion using a variety of means, including
    calculations and measurements.
  • Earth and space. The focus of this strand is on introducing Earth's processes.
    Students should develop an understanding of Earth as part of our solar system. The
    topics include organization of our solar system, the role of gravity, and space exploration.
  • Organisms and environments. Students will gain an understanding of the broadest
    taxonomic classifications of organisms and how characteristics determine their
    classification. The other major topics developed in this strand include the
    interdependence between organisms and their environments and the levels of
    organization within an ecosystem.

Taken from Chapter 112. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science
Subchapter B. Middle School
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