stratagy for teaching in new school : LUSENET : Middle School Science : One Thread

We are opening a new middle school with a new staff in the fall. Our staff is in the process of choosing which path of study to take. Does anyone have any opinion or experiences about general science for 6,7,8 grade vs. physical, life, and earth science taught at seperate grade levels? We are not real pleased with the choices of text for general science because they "breeze" through material, but we feel we will not meet the Tennessee standards with disipline-based science at each grade level. Opinions would be greatly appreciated.

-- Donny Anderson (, April 04, 2001


Hi Donny:

We are struggling with similar issues in New York. I am not familiar with Tennessee's standards, but I assume thay are modeled after NSES or Project 2061 and therefore similar to ours. We also have a state exam for 8th graders that covers all the standards for grades 5-8. It would seem that a "spiral" or "scaffold" approach (covering life, physical, and earth in each of the grades, touching more complex aspects of each discipline at successive grade levels) is necessitated, but there will likely be resistance from teachers who are specialists in one or the other fields. I would also urge you to look at some of the inquiry-based kits/programs for middle schools such as STC/MS or FOSS or Events-based science, etc. You can check the EDC (Educational Development Center) website here for a list of inquiry-based programs that they have reviewed. Let me know if you need more info. Lastly, If your state standards are like ours, we are ALL going to have a hard time meeting the sheer volume of content objectives and at the same time addressing process skills/inquiry standards-- you may have to make some hard choices about which objectives you will focus on and which will by necessity be "de-emphasized."

Michael Gatton NYC

-- Michael Gatton (, April 04, 2001.

Also check out, if you haven't already, this guide to designing curriculum programs:

Designing Mathematics or Science Curriculum Programs A Guide for Using Mathematics and Science Education Standards National Research Council: Committee on Science Education K-12 and the Mathematical Sciences Education Board

"This book was developed to help state- and district-level education leaders create coherent, multi-year curriculum programs that provide students with opportunities to learn both mathematics and science in a connected and cumulative way throughout their schooling. Anyone responsible for designing or influencing mathematics or science curriculum programs will find this guide valuable."

(grades k-12, 1999, 70 pp.) #OP692X

You can order from the NSTA for about 15 bucks. I found it very helpful.

M. Gatton

-- Michael Gatton (, April 05, 2001.

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