6th grade Physical Science      
Alan Husby
alan.husby@mpls.k12.mn.us
 
Curriculum overview:
    In 6th grade science, students focus on the physical world (energy, forces and motion), the practice of engineering, and an introduction to living systems.   Students practice investigation skills (measuring, observing, analyzing data, conducting and evaluating experiments).  Students also practice critical reading skills, clearly communicating their own thinking, and working cooperatively to achieve goals.
                                      
                                                               Essential Questions:                                  Units/Focus                 
Qtr 1    
Scientific Process and Engineering;        - What do scientists do, and why?               - Science Tools and Skills
Intro to gravity +                                  - What do engineers do, and why?              - Engineering Design Cycle
                a little chemistry                   - How do I conduct an investigation?           - Controlled Experiments
 
Qtr 2    
Forces,Motion, and Energy                     - What are forces and how do they              - "Models and Designs"   
Engineering                                                        affect an object's motion?              - Bridges
                                                            - How do engineers design and                    - "Energy, Machines, and Motion"
                                                                          improve machines?                       - Bicycles   (and flight, if time allows)
                                                            - What are trade-offs?
 
Qtr 3    
Energy                                                  - What are the main forms of energy?          - Sound
                                                             - How is energy transformed into                 - "Energy from the Sun"
                                                                     other forms?                                       - Electricity
                                                             - What is electricity?
 
Qtr 4    
Diversity of Life                                    - What do all living things have in common? - "Diversity of Life"
                                                           - What are cells?                                          - Microscopes
                                                           - How are living things organized?
                                                           - How do living things reproduce?
 
Expectations:
    Science can be a lot of fun.  In order for that to happen, I expect students to:
        1.  be prepared and on time for class every day;
        2.  enter class with a willingness to think and work and explore;
        3.  treat materials gently and respectfully;
        4.  treat each other with kindness and respect.


    Students may expect the same from me. 
 
Homework:
    1. Weekly science homework is assigned every Monday and is due every Thursday.
        Effort counts.    It will usually take 15-60 minutes.
    2. Occasional daily homework may include reviewing class notes, writing a summary, or preparing a diagram.  
        It will usually take about 10 minutes.
    3.  Homework is always related to class activities.  
 
Required Materials:
    Spiral notebook (single subject -- for this class alone)
    Pencil
    Pocket folder
    Colored pencils
    Pencil sharpener

    + Students are expected to bring their Student Planner to class every day.


Grading:
I use a mostly "standards-based" grading system: 
    My current plan:
        90%    Demonstrate understanding of science concepts and skills
        10%    Demonstrate active effort in learning activities and positive contributions in class

Students will have multiple opportunities to show that they understand a concept.   Our goal is for all students
to eventually show a deep understanding of all the 6th grade learning goals.

A        4       Student shows complex, sophisticated understanding of concept, and can apply it to new situations.
B-C     3       Student shows clear understanding of concept.
C-D     2       Student shows a partial understanding of concept.
D-F     1       Student is struggling to show understanding of concept. 
 

I don’t offer  “extra credit.”  But I will gladly offer students multiple opportunities to practice, to learn, and to demonstrate their understanding.

Late work:
It is important for students to learn the habit of meeting deadlines.  But I will accept most late assignments until the end of the unit.

I am often available for help during advisory, lunch/recess or after school.


My approach:
    I try to establish an atmosphere of fun, curiosity, and discovery.  Science classrooms are great places to have fun while learning.
    At the same time, I expect students to work hard and behave appropriately.  This includes active listening, calm classroom and hall behavior, directions followed the first time, and always, kindness and respect.
    Success in school depends on motivation, effort, attitude, strategies, and habits.   Part of my job is to help each student find his or her unique keys to success.   
 
Communication:
Email is the easiest way to contact me.  I try to respond within a day. (I am not very good about checking voice mail.)
 
Most class assignments and homework assignments are posted on this web site, as are many class notes.
 
The 6th grade team sends out a weekly e-newsletter with information about what's going on in each class.