For students: The Important Files (documents and power points) are located at the bottom of the page.
Overview of 7th Grade Life Science
GOAL: The major goals of Life Science are: 1. to develop scientific inquiry skills by applying them to content learned in the form of labs, 2. to define what a living thing is and how to classify these organisms, 3. to learn the parts of a cell and then apply this knowledge to learning cell processes that occur in the body, 4. to study genes and heredity, 4. to learn how the various body systems work and the role of cells in each one, and 5. to define an ecosystem and learn how living things interact within it and how we as humans can keep the ecosystems healthy.
SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY AND LABS: In the beginning of the year, 7th grade reviews the process of scientific inquiry-- asking scientific questions, forming a hypothesis, identifying variables, making observations and collecting data, analyzing data, and making inferences while drawing conclusions about their data. They then apply these skills in labs that are performed throughout the year. In labs, a question is posed about content we are covering in Life Science. PREPARATION is big emphasis, for the students must read and summarize the experimental procedures the day before the lab. Students must also complete the pre-lab or they will not be allowed to participate in the lab. Mature conduct is expected during labs. Lab reports are due the next class after a lab. Students may discuss their answers in their groups but they may never copy word for word another student's answer. Lab reports are a large grade, slightly smaller than a test grade. During last trimester, students pose a scientific question regarding one topic we leanred in class so far this year, and perform an experiment on their own, collect data, draw conclusions, and present their findings to the class as an end-of-the-year project.
LIVING THINGS: We define what makes an object living and investigate the characteristics and needs of a living thing. We study the binomial nomenclature system which is used to classify organisms. We analyze why organisms are classified into one of the three major domains and investigate some of the organisms within various kindgoms of Eukarya.
CELLS AND CELL PROCESSES: As cells are introduced we define what they are, learn the historical background of how they were discovered with the technological advancement of the microscope, and compare the functions of the various intriguing organelles within each cell. To help the students memorize the functions of each organelle, the seventh grade builds a 3-D cell model themselves! After mastering the parts of the cell, we move onto the fascinating and complex processes that occur within cells-- and therefore in our bodies-- everyday. We delve into the proccesses of diffusion, active transport, osmosis, photosynthesis, respiration, and the cell cycle. We study each of these processes in depth and begin to introduce the idea of chemical reactions.
GENES AND HEREDITY: While studying cell processes, we begin learning about chromosomes and DNA. In our heredity unit, we explore the function and processes of DNA. We learn how this is the "blueprint" that determines our traits. The math concept of probability is tied into science as we study Punnett Squares. Students will also explore how it is very easy for our genes or chromosomes to get damaged and therefore create genetic disorders. Students will write a researh paper about a chosen genetic disorder and then the class will go to a local school to work and play with children diagnosed with disorders. Finally, we will study modern advances of genetics-- such as cloning, inbreeding, genetic engineering, DNA fingerprinting-- and students will grapple with the question of morality regarding these issues.
EVOLUTION: We will touch on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. We will discuss the history of the theory, the observations Darwin made that led to his hypothesis, and the reasonsing WHY this theory makes sense-- the idea of natural selection. Analysis of the evidence collected to support his theory will be performed. Lastly, we will investigate the Catholic Church's standpoint on this theory.
BODY SYSTEMS: While studying the various organ systems that make up the body, students are split into groups. Each one is assigned to a body system. Each group studies their assigned system in-depth and then teaches the class about the parts of the system, how the system functions, and why this system is important. The students include an interactive activity and a professional power point presentation. Student will not only learn about the internal workings of their bodies but will learn how to work in a group, present material in a professional manner, and incorporate well-prepared activities and technological features. A dissection will be completed at the end of the units to see the boyd systems integrated together in an actual organism. Saftety and respect will be discussed beforehand.
ECOSYSTEMS: At the end of the year we will discuss what an ecosystem is and the key terms that are involved. We will study the organization and components of an ecosystem and how energy flows within it represented by a food web. Also, we will investigate the characteristics of the binomes of Earth. Throughout the unit we will analyze data in graphs and make our own graphs from collected data. We will also discuss how ecosystems are affected by various factors such pollution of air, land, and water. To put this all together, we will go on a field trip to a local river or creek to learn more about this topic and do hands-on experiments using scientific inquiry skills regarding these topics. We will also do an afternoon of service at a local outdoor site.
SETUP OF CLASS: We take many notes in a variety of forms. Sometimes they may be from a power point, sometimes they may be from an overhead, sometimes students will fill out a graphic organizer as they read or listen to a lecture. There is typically a quiz after every section within a chapter. There are usually several short answer questions in which you must explain a process or importance or a process. The class will typically perform a lab every unit. Also, there are frequent activities throught the units. There is a major test at the end of a chapter or half way through a chapter. Videos from youtube.com or elsewhere are shown frequently to better visualize processes. Students are expected to keep a binder and maintain a vocabulary section. There are several projects throughout the year--some individual and some group.
6.1 Introduction to Evolution Power Point 5.1-Intro-to-Theory-of-Evolution.ppt
6.2 Evolution Evidence5.2-Evidence-of-Evolution.ppt
Extra Credit Questions for Watching "Becoming Human" Becoming-Human-DVD-Questions.doc