Science Student Profile

Eighth Grade

During the spring semester, students will a take a state assessment examination called the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) Test, which provides a snapshot of students’ understanding of Science TEKS from Grades 6, 7 and 8. It is a fifty-question test comprised of the major strands of life, physical, and earth/space sciences.

In Grade 8, students design and test models to show how technology and science are connected. They study systems and feedback mechanisms that maintain equilibrium of systems. Force and motion including wave dynamics are demonstrated and illustrated. The students identify parts of atoms, their structure, mass and electrical charge. Chemical and physical properties of substances include the importance of formulas, and equations to express chemical reactions. Students analyze and predict the sequence of events in lunar and rock cycles, the role of oceans in climatic changes, and the results of modifying Earth cycles including the nitrogen, water, and carbon cycles. Measurement in light years is applied to astronomical studies. Students predict land features resulting from gradual changes such as mountain building, beach erosion, land subsidence, and continental drift. Students analyze how natural or human events may have contributed to the extinction of some species and also how human activities have modified soil, water, and air quality.

8th Grade Students:

· Collect, record, and analyze information using tools including beakers, petri dishes, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, weather instruments, hot plates, dissecting equipment, test tubes, safety goggles, spring scales, balances, microscopes, telescopes, thermometers, calculators, field equipment, computers, computer probes, timing devices, and water test kits.

· Extrapolate from collected information to make predictions.

· Evaluate models and make recommendations for improving the model.

· Demonstrate how unbalanced forces cause changes in the speed or direction of an object’s motion.

· Identify the origin of waves and investigate their ability to travel through different media.

· Describe characteristics of stars and galaxies, identify light years as a way to describe distance, and learn about scientific theories of the origin of the universe.

· Learn about lunar cycles and the rock cycle.

· Identify the roles of both human activities and natural events in altering Earth systems.

· Predict the results of modifying Earth’s nitrogen, water, and carbon-oxygen cycles.

· Explore interactions in matter and energy for solar, weather, and ocean systems (ex. specific heat). Relate the role of the oceans to climatic changes.

· Examine information on the periodic table to recognize that elements are grouped into families.

· Identify that physical and chemical properties influence the development and application of everyday materials such as cooking surfaces, insulation, adhesives, and plastics.

· Identify and demonstrate the loss or gain of heat energy during exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions.

· Describe interactions and identify feedback mechanisms among systems that maintain equilibrium such as body temperature, turgor pressure, and chemical reactions.

· Identify that change in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individuals and of species.

· Distinguish between inherited traits and other characteristics that result from interactions with the environment.

· Identify and make predictions about possible outcomes of various genetic combinations of inherited characteristics.

· Connect Grade 8 science concepts with the history of science and contributions of scientists.

Scientific Processes:

The first three TEKS of grade 8 are processes essential for scientific investigation: safety in the classroom, field and laboratory experiences, scientific methods, and critical thinking. The fourth and fifth TEKS specifically lists the tools necessary for such investigations, in addition to connections with technology.

Scientific Concepts:

The remaining nine TEKS are comprised of scientific concepts from three major strands that vertically align and build the basis for science literacy. The major strands include life, physical, and earth/space sciences.