Thurston Middle School
Wendy Van Dyke, 6th and 7th grade
Students integrate the learning of scientific skills and processes and the principles of earth, life, and physical science. Structured sequences of activities provide students with the necessary support to engage in scientific inquiry and build their understanding of important concepts. Students learn how to formulate questions, design and conduct experiments by controlling variables to ensure a fair test, and learn the importance of carrying out several measurements to minimize sources of error. Because students at this level use a greater range of tools and equipment, they learn safe laboratory practices. By working with materials to solve problems, collect, organize and analyze data, students reach conclusions and cite evidence to support those conclusions. Organization is emphasized by keeping notes and a science journal. Students work cooperatively and independently to make models and prepare oral presentations and written reports of their questions, procedures, and conclusions. Students are guided through field trips to local and regional areas of ecological interest to experience first hand what is learned in the classroom.