Blog #2

Blog Post #2: Research the GLE’s (Grade Level Expectations) and Alaska State Student Standards for content and performance for your discipline. What are you teaching at the moment that might be considered a big idea? Why is it a big idea? Anything that might be considered “worth being familiar with” or “ Important to know and do?”

SB Students develop an understanding of the concepts, models, theories, universal principles, and facts that explain the physical world.
SB1  Students develop an understanding of the characteristic properties of matter and the relationship of these properties to their structure and behavior.
SB2  Students develop an understanding that energy appears in different forms, can be transformed from one form to another, can be transferred or moved from one place or system to another, may be unavailable for use, and is ultimately conserved.
SB3  Students develop an understanding of the interactions between matter and energy, including physical, chemical, and nuclear changes, and the effects of these interactions on physical systems.
SB4  Students develop an understanding of motions, forces, their characteristics and relationships, and natural forces and their effects.

These are the Science 6th-8th grade concepts of physical science.  At Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School we are separated into houses.  There is one 6th grade house and two 7th&8th grade house.  I teach in Stikine House which is only 7th and 8th grade students.  Because there are two different grades, when it comes to science they alternate every year with life science and physical science.  This year we are doing physical science.  The current unit I am teaching is chemistry, which the kids have been really excited about.  We first started with the periodic table and now getting into chemical reactions and labs.  SB1 and SB3 are best aligned with the chemistry unit I have been teaching.  When we first started the unit, the focus was more on atoms and matter and what makes up an atom.  Now we are transitioning into chemical reactions and the effects of these reactions and how we can tell something has occurred.  A big idea in this chemistry unit is that students observe how elements are arranged on the periodic table by how they bond with other atoms to make molecules.  Another big idea has been on the structure of an atom and every element is unique based on certain characteristics.  It’s important that the students see the periodic table as something that is well thought out and organized and every element is in its placed based on specific characteristic(s).  In order for them to understand this big idea, they would have to know how an atom is structured.  This is something they all know well now–protons, neutrons, and electrons.  They have to take those numbers and structure into consideration in order to understand the periodic table.  The students have spent time taking notes, working in small labs, reflecting in their journals, discussing with classmates and working on projects in order to show they are really grasping these big ideas in chemistry.  It has been a trip for me as well since I always struggled with chemistry and had to be reminded what “basic chemistry” looks like.  All-in-all, everyone seems to be enjoying and learning lots with the chemistry unit.

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