Science Elementary Programs - Eighth 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 8 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. Students recognize that matter is composed of atoms. Students
      examine information on the Periodic Table to recognize that elements are grouped into
      families. In addition, students understand the basic concept of conservation of mass. Lab
      activities will allow students to demonstrate evidence of chemical reactions. They will use
      chemical formulas and balanced equations to show chemical reactions and the formation
      of new substances.
    • Force, motion, and energy. Students experiment with the relationship between forces
      and motion through the study of Newton's three laws. Students learn how these forces
      relate to geologic processes and astronomical phenomena. In addition, students recognize
      that these laws are evident in everyday objects and activities. Mathematics is used to
      calculate speed using distance and time measurements.
    • Earth and space. Students identify the role of natural events in altering Earth systems.
      Cycles within Sun, Earth, and Moon systems are studied as students learn about seasons,
      tides, and lunar phases. Students learn that stars and galaxies are part of the universe and
      that distances in space are measured by using light waves. In addition, students use data
      to research scientific theories of the origin of the universe. Students will illustrate how Earth
      features change over time by plate tectonics. They will interpret land and erosional features
      on topographic maps. Students learn how interactions in solar, weather, and ocean systems
      create changes in weather patterns and climate.
    • Organisms and environments. In studies of living systems, students explore the
      interdependence between these systems. Interactions between organisms in ecosystems,
      including producer/consumer, predator/prey, and parasite/host relationships, are
      investigated in aquatic and terrestrial systems. Students describe how biotic and abiotic
      factors affect the number of organisms and populations present in an ecosystem. In addition,
      students explore how organisms and their populations respond to short- and long-term
      environmental changes, including those caused by human activities.

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