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Discover Science: Hands on Middle School Comprehensive Science S1 (Self Paced)

Mrs. Dawn Huffman, Certified Teacher M.S.Ed
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This is the 1st semester of middle school comprehensive science and is designed to encourage young scientists to discover the world around them. (Semester courses can be taken in any order.)

Class experience

US Grade 5 - 8
28 lessons//14 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
Unveiling Science: The Adventure Begins!
Embark on a thrilling journey to uncover the secrets of science and understand its power. Unveil the traits that make science captivating – it's like solving puzzles, making predictions, and testing theories!
Lesson 2
The Art of Scientific Design
In our second meeting, "Unleashing Science: The Art of Scientific Design," students delve into experimental design and variables. They learn to formulate hypotheses, identify variables, and understand the significance of precise experimental planning. This session aims to deepen their grasp of scientific inquiry and the essential role of meticulous experimental design in obtaining reliable results.
 Week 2
Lesson 3
Repetition/Replication; Branches of Science; Twirly-Bird Lab
In Meeting 3, we explore the concepts of repetition and replication in experiments, understand different branches of science, and engage in the Twirly-Bird Lab. Students learn how repeating experiments ensures reliability, discover various branches like biology and physics, and apply these principles in a fun lab activity where they design and test twirly-bird toys to understand aerodynamics.
Lesson 4
Review Scientific Method & Variables and Drops on a Penny Lab
We revisit the Scientific Method and delve deeper into variables. We also conduct the Drops on a Penny Lab, where students investigate surface tension by experimenting with water droplets on a penny. This hands-on activity reinforces their understanding of experimental design and variables while exploring scientific concepts in a fun and engaging way.
 Week 3
Lesson 5
Forms of Energy, Transformation of Energy & Law of Conservation of Energy
In this session, we explore the diverse forms of energy, from kinetic to potential and beyond. We delve into how energy transforms from one form to another, unraveling the fascinating processes of energy conversion. Lastly, we introduce the Law of Conservation of Energy, highlighting how energy is neither created nor destroyed but merely changes its form, fostering a deeper appreciation for the interconnectedness of energy in our world.
Lesson 6
States of Matter & Thermal Energy
We will delve into the properties and behaviors of different states of matter, from solids to liquids and gases. We also explore the concept of thermal energy and its relationship to temperature, discussing how thermal energy affects the states of matter and their transitions. Through engaging discussions and activities, students gain a comprehensive understanding of states of matter and the role of thermal energy in our everyday lives.
 Week 4
Lesson 7
Mechanical Waves
We will be captivated by the world of mechanical waves. We explore how these waves propagate through mediums like air, water, and solids, discussing their characteristics such as amplitude, frequency, and wavelength. Through interactive demonstrations and discussions, students uncover the principles behind wave behavior, including reflection, refraction, and interference. This hands-on exploration fosters a deeper understanding of how mechanical waves work.
Lesson 8
Electromagnetic Spectrum & Behavior of Light
In this lesson, we unravel the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays, exploring their uses and properties. We also investigate the behavior of light, including reflection, refraction, and absorption, uncovering how these phenomena shape our understanding of optics and the world around us.
 Week 5
Lesson 9
Heredity/Asexual & Sexual Reproduction
We delve into the fascinating world of genetics, exploring how traits are passed down through generations. Students compare asexual and sexual reproduction, understanding how genes contribute to diversity and inheritance in living organisms.
Lesson 10
DNA & Traits Lab
In the DNA lesson & Traits Lab, students compare phenotypes to understand human diversity and the range of observable traits we exhibit. This experience bridges the gap between genetic information (DNA) and its expression in physical traits (phenotypes), providing a comprehensive understanding of our genetic makeup and diversity.
 Week 6
Lesson 11
Genotypes, Phenotypes & Punnett Squares
In this session, we explore genotypes and phenotypes, unraveling how genes (genotypes) determine observable traits (phenotypes). Through Punnett squares and interactive activities, students decipher genetic inheritance patterns, gaining insights into the complexities of genetics and trait expression.
Lesson 12
Minerals, Rocks & Rock Cycle
In this lesson, we delve into geology, exploring minerals, rocks, and the rock cycle. Students uncover how minerals form, combine to create rocks, and undergo continuous transformation through the rock cycle. Through hands-on activities and discussions, they gain a deeper understanding of Earth's dynamic processes and the interconnectedness of geological phenomena.
 Week 7
Lesson 13
Layers of the Earth & Rock Cycle Lab
Students explore the Earth's layers, investigating their composition and properties. Following this, they participate in a Rock Cycle Lab, simulating rock formation, weathering, erosion, and metamorphism to understand Earth's dynamic geological processes.
Lesson 14
Tectonic Plates & Continental Drift Theory
We dive into the theory of continental drift, exploring how tectonic plates move and shape Earth's surface. Through interactive discussions and map activities, students unravel the evidence supporting plate tectonics and its impact on geological features and natural phenomena.
 Week 8
Lesson 15
Tectonic Plates Lab & Plate Boundary Events
In the Tectonic Plates Lab, students investigate plate boundaries and their associated geological events. Through hands-on simulations, they explore the types of plate boundaries (convergent, divergent, and transform) and learn about earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and mountain formation at these boundaries. This interactive experience deepens their understanding of plate tectonics and Earth's dynamic processes.
Lesson 16
Producers & Consumers/Energy Transfer Food Chain & Webs
Let's dive into the dynamic world of ecosystems. We'll uncover the roles of producers and consumers, tracing energy transfers through food chains and webs. This exploration will reveal how energy flows from plants to herbivores and carnivores, illuminating the intricate relationships within ecological communities.
 Week 9
Lesson 17
Exploring Energy Pyramids
In our lesson on energy pyramids, we unravel how energy flows through ecosystems from producers to consumers. Using graphical representations, we explore trophic levels, energy transfer efficiency, and the pyramid shape reflecting energy loss. Through activities and examples, students grasp the vital role of energy flow in maintaining ecosystem balance and sustainability.
Lesson 18
Limiting Factors & Human Impacts on the Environment
Exploring limiting factors in ecosystems and examine how human activities impact the environment. Students explore factors such as resources, competition, and carrying capacity, analyzing how human actions like deforestation and pollution disrupt natural balances.
 Week 10
Lesson 19
Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration
Learn about the interconnected processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Students explore how plants convert sunlight into energy (photosynthesis) and how organisms, including humans, use that energy through cellular respiration. Through interactive activities and discussions, students gain a comprehensive understanding of these essential processes in sustaining life on Earth
Lesson 20
Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration Review & Lab
In this review and lab session, we revisit photosynthesis and cellular respiration, the fundamental processes driving life on Earth. Through hands-on experiments and data analysis, students deepen their understanding of how plants convert sunlight into energy and how cells utilize this energy. The lab provides a tangible exploration of these vital processes, reinforcing key concepts and their interconnectedness in the web of life.
 Week 11
Lesson 21
Exploring Atoms
Embark on a journey to explore the building blocks of matter: atoms. Students delve into atomic structure, learning about protons, neutrons, and electrons. Through interactive activities and models, they uncover how atoms combine to form molecules and compounds, laying the foundation for understanding chemistry and the natural world.
Lesson 22
Matter, Physical & Chemical Properties
Students explore how physical properties describe the appearance and state of matter, while chemical properties involve its ability to undergo chemical reactions. Through experiments and demonstrations, they gain hands-on experience in identifying and categorizing different properties, setting the stage for deeper explorations in chemistry.
 Week 12
Lesson 23
Changes in Matter Lab & Introduce Final Projects
Students engage in a hands-on lab to observe and categorize these changes, gaining a deeper understanding of how matter transforms. Additionally, we introduce final projects, encouraging students to apply their knowledge creatively and showcase their understanding of key concepts learned throughout the course.
Lesson 24
Structure & Size of the Universe
Dive into the vastness of the universe, exploring its structure and size. Students learn about galaxies, stars, and other celestial bodies. Through visual aids and discussions, we unravel the mysteries of the universe's immense size and the structures that make up our cosmic home.
 Week 13
Lesson 25
Gravity and the Solar System/Stars
In this lesson, we unravel the force that governs our cosmos: gravity. Students explore how gravity shapes the structure and behavior of our solar system, from the orbits of planets to the formation of stars.
Lesson 26
Stars & Our Sun
Through interactive discussions and visual aids, they uncover the unique characteristics of our Sun and how it sustains life on Earth. This exploration fosters a deeper appreciation for the role of stars in shaping our universe and our place within it.
 Week 14
Lesson 27
Planets - Terrestrial & Gas Giants
Students distinguish between terrestrial planets like Earth and gas giants like Jupiter, analyzing their unique characteristics and compositions. Through interactive activities and discussions, they unravel the mysteries of planetary formation, atmospheres, and surface features.
Lesson 28
Phases of the Moon & Oreo Cookie Lab
We will uncover the captivating dance of the Moon's phases. Students delve into lunar cycles, understanding how the Moon transitions from new moon to full moon and back again and we will reinforce the moon's phases using Oreo cookies!
  • Students will improve their understanding of middle school science and how the different fields of science are intertwined with each other.
I've been teaching middle school comprehensive science since 2014 and I taught 5th-grade science prior to moving to middle school.  I currently help design activities that support the 7th & 8th-grade curriculum for all of the science teachers.  I will be incorporating reading and writing in this science course as well.  I have a master's degree in reading and writing, and I am a firm believer of reading and writing in the content area.  
Homework Offered
1 - 2 hours per week outside of class
Assessments Offered
Grades Offered
Here is the link for the course lab/activity materials:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fAqqpf3cUuXD2BnMnk6cuBjYYPZ7ScIq40WPMpihW94/edit?usp=sharing 

In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Week 9 will cover cellular reproduction, which will include asexual reproduction & sexual reproduction  
Joined November, 2017
Teacher expertise and credentials
Florida Teaching Certificate - Elementary Education
“If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
– Ignacio Estrada

I am a certified teacher and a math and science instructional coach. My teaching career began in 2007 as a 5th-grade teacher in Illinois. Now,... 
Self-Paced Class


weekly or $299 for all content
28 pre-recorded lessons
14 weeks of teacher support
Choose your start date
1 year of access to the content

Completed by 392 learners
Ages: 11-15

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