How is all life related? The central question for 7th gr. scientists.
Course Outline: 7th Grade Project-Based Science 2010-11
How is all life related?
Sue Boudreau, Karen Snelson, Orinda Intermediate School 8.20.2010 I. Introduction.
- Mini Poster Project: How will 7th gr. science get you to your future?
- Survey: How will your curiosity, science skills and knowledge change over the year?
II. The “Grow Food” Project.
- Investigation: What is alive in compost? How can we tell? What do living things need?
- Objective, subjective, quantitative and qualitative observations.
- Brainstorm & research: What do plants need? What are problems with growing plants around here? What do we need to find out? What crops will grow in fall round here?
- Investigation: What exactly is ‘dirt’? How does it affect plant growth?
- Outside: How can you amend ordinary dirt to make it grow food?
- Project management for making a meal and growing food.
- Home-Grown Food Project: Grow something to eat! Which farming practice works best?
- Farming practices and gardening skills to maximize plant growth and food production.
- Scientific Survey: Design a taste test of organic, home-grown and regular foods.
III. The needs of life, cells and the start of life
- How do you see cells? How big are they? How different are they?
- Investigations: Find and identify microscopic life in pond scum, dirt and ‘alien slime’.
- Review life’s needs, hallmarks, including energy needs and respiration.
- How do plant and animal cells meet the needs of life?
- Model making: Prokaryote, eukaryote, plant and animal candy cells.
- Simulation game: The lollipop factory ‘cell’.
- How & when did life evolve?
- How is life classified into kingdoms? Where do we fit?
IV. How do microbes affect us? Epidemiology unit.
- Patterns of disease in the past and now.
- Using scientific problem-solving to make life better: The Pellagra Story
- Protists, bacteria and viruses – what are they? How do they affect us?
- Microscope Research: Identify microbes under the microscope.
- How infectious epidemics spread, and how they can be stopped, especially the ‘flu.
- Agar Plate Investigations: Where are the dirtiest places? What are the best ways to clean up pathogens?
- Why don’t we get sick all the time? The ‘flu and your immune system.
- The discovery and use of antibiotics. Evolution of antibiotic resistance.
- How are new drugs developed and tested on people?
- Evaluating health claims and reliable websites.
- Simulations: The placebo effect. Infectious epidemic ‘game’.
- PowerPoint Project: Research and educate others about a disease you choose.
V. The Take Action Project
- How are we connected to nature?
- What world problems do YOU want to fix?
- What could you DO that would work AND be fun?
- Use your project management skills and science knowledge and skills to make the world a better place! We’ll show you, guide you and let you go at it.
VI. How are we related to each other? Genetics, Reproduction and HIV.
- Variation, nature and nurture.
- Sexual and asexual reproduction.
- Project: Trace a trait through your family tree.
- From egg to adult in humans and animal comparisons.
- Sex and Risk – HIV trends, science of HIV. Orinda risk stories, decision-making
- Dissection: Find how plants reproduce sexually with the flower dissection.
- Ethics Debate: The pros and cons of science ethical issues in the news. TBA.
VI. How are we related to all life ecologically? Biodiversity unit.
- Review what affects biodiversity.
- What is a species? What isn’t?
- Learn to use field guides to do a better estimate of local biodiversity.
- Survey local biodiversity at school, home. What affects local biodiversity?
- Class Challenge: Make a local food web from home species observations and research.
- Where does our food come from?
- What species do we eat? Survey the biodiversity of groceries.
- What is happening to biodiversity? Why? How will that affect us? What can we do?
- Photo Assignment: Stalk an animal in it’s natural habitat. Take a beautiful picture. Find out about it and make it part of a local food web of yarn.
- Powerpoint for TAP: Research and present a science related issue you care about. Pick an issue to take informed and effective action on.
VII. How are we related to all life through evolution?
- How are we related to other primates? Compare behavior and skulls to make a cladogram.
- How are we related to other vertebrates?
- Compare embryos and proteins to find more evidence for evolution.
- Observe and infer relationships from fossils.
- Has biodiversity changed over time? Learn about the history of life.
- Who was Charles Darwin and what did he have to say?
- How did life change over time? Natural selection games.
- Simulations: Natural selection games.
- Strip of Time Project: to show the history of life and see how long we’ve been here.
- Dissection: Compare our arm to chicken wings for evidence of relatedness.
- Dog Day: Compare our anatomy to dog anatomy and see where we all fit on a cladogram.
- Photo Assignment: Take a picture of your favorite animal. How close is it related to us?
- TAP Poster: Show you made a difference with a Take Action Project poster for Open House
VIII. The Pathway to Perception – Light and optics unit.
- How does light travel?
- Bending light, how your eyes work.
- Causes, prevention and correction of vision problems.
- Evolution of eyes.
- Is seeing believing? What affects your perception? Optical illusions.
- Light box investigations: The law of reflection, refraction, correcting vision.
- Photo Assignment: Snap an unusual example of reflection, refraction and optical illusions.
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