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In this course, students will study the many impacts that humans have on the environment through the exploration of existing ecosystems. In unit two, students will experiment with pure substances and mixtures and will come to recognize that most matter is either a solution or a mechanical mixture. Heat energy will be explored and students will examine the critical role heat plays in natural processes and human life. By working to understand the nature of heat, students will gain new insights into the ways that heat affects our world, the causes and effects of heat, its properties, and heat transfer. Finally, students will consider the functions that structures must perform and the impact of these structures on the environment.
Course Code: SCI7
Curriculum Policy Document: Science & Technology, Grades 1 – 8, 2006 Revised
Course Developer: Virtual Elementary School
Development Date: 2012 (Revised in 2019)
The study of ecosystems is an introduction to the study of ecology and involves investigation of the complex interactions between all types of organisms and their environment. Students will learn that ecosystems consist of communities of plants and animals that are dependent on each other as well as on the non-living parts of the environment. They will also learn that groups of ecosystems make up biomes, which, in turn, are components of the biosphere. In investigating ecosystems, students will examine the effects of natural factors, such as climate changes, as well as the impact of technological changes on the environment.
By exploring the distinction between pure substances and mechanical mixtures and solutions, students will come to recognize that most matter is either a solution or a mechanical mixture-including most foods and drinks, many medicines, cosmetics, building materials, cleaning agents and so on. Introduction of a scientific model (the particle theory) used to describe the particular nature of matter will provide a conceptual basis for students’ learning in this area.
Students will learn about the causes and effects of heat. They will investigate its properties and how these are related to measurement of temperature. Students will also be introduced to the particle theory, which can help them to explain their observations and to understand both the relationship between heat and temperature and the concept of heat capacity. Society’s need to maintain its ability to produce heat is another focus of study. Students will consider ideas about recycling excess or waste heat and about how to make better use of alternative, renewable heat sources to replace non-renewable resources that are being depleted.
Students will learn more about the effects of forces that act on and within different structural forms. Using increasingly sophisticated techniques, students will continue to investigate how different structural forms support or withstand loads by designing, building, and testing solid (or mass structures), shell structures, and frame structures.
Student evaluation in this course is based on the student's achievement of curriculum expectations. The final letter grade represents the quality of the student's overall fulfillment of the expectations for the course and reflects the corresponding level of achievement as described in the achievement chart for the discipline. The final grade reflects the student’s most consistent level of achievement across all units in the course, although special consideration is given to more recent evidence of achievement. There is no final assessment, such as an exam, in this course.