Middle School Science

It is our goal to support MArCH families by providing a quality science experience all the way through high school. Our objective for middle school science is to provide a positive science experience and to prepare students for the more rigorous MArCH high school science classes. It is challenging for the students and teachers to do this in a ten week enrichment session, as requested by MArCH families, but the reward is worth the effort. All science courses are taught from a Christian Young Earth perspective.

We have included the most frequently anticipated questions and the answers about middle school science courses.

For further information, please feel free to contact the MArCH Science Department Head, Heidi Orton, at Science@marchgroup.org .

How much science does my student need to be successful in high school?

During middle school, grades 5 through 8, students should become familiar with vocabulary, laboratory procedures, and basic processes in the following six topic areas:
life sciences – plants, animals, microbes, ecology
human body
earth science – rocks, minerals, geological processes, weather, oceanography
space/astronomy – space, solar system
For example, in elementary school students may study simple machines using LEGO™ kits. Then in middle school they are introduced to such concepts as mechanical advantage or gear ratio, solve simple problems using formulas, and use the LEGO™ Motorized Simple Machine kit or the Catapult™ kit. Finally, in high school physics or engineering, students will use Algebra to manipulate formulas for solving word and real life problems.

Which middle school courses will MArCH provide?

MArCH Enrichment typically offers 3 courses for middle school students. They are Science Explosion, Life Science, and Space/Earth Science.

Science Explosion is for 6th graders or advanced 5th graders.  This class covers some life science, some physical science, and some space/earth. It is a good introduction to a variety of topics and a good transition from elementary classes to Life Science.

Life Science is for 7th-8th graders and advanced 6th graders. 9th graders who are not ready for high school science may also take the class. This class covers cells, genetics, plants, animals, ecology, and human body. Lab activities include dissections of flowers, frogs, worms, and some organs.

Space/Earth Science is for 8th graders, advanced 7th graders, or 9th graders who are not ready for high school science.

How long does a middle school science course last?

Each academic middle school science course is one year long. Science Explosion meets for 1.5 hours per week while Life Science and Space/Earth Science meet for 2 hours per week for 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring.

An elective middle school science course may be one or two semesters.

What equipment and supplies will students need?

For each academic science course, each student will need the appropriate textbook, possibly a student activity manual or lab manual, 3 ring binder, a folder to turn in homework, along with misc other supplies. Each class has their own supply list.

NOTE: All general supplies, textbooks, and lab manuals must be brought to the first class.

What textbooks will be used?

Bob Jones Science 6 is used for Science Explosion, Bob Jones Life Science for Life Science, and Bob Jones Space/Earth is for Space/Earth Science. There are also activity/lab manuals that are needed. Please check the class’s website to see which edition is being used.

Are there any course prerequisites?

Life Science students need to have taken study skills. Space/Earth students need to have taken Life Science.

Will there be homework? How much homework?

Yes, there will be some homework. However, the focus of these middle school science courses is vocabulary concept development, hands-on labs, and fun games. Also, there will be a range of students from 6th grade to 8th grade. Science Explosion students can expect to schedule 2-3 hours a week while Life Science and Space/Earth students can expect to schedule 3-4 hours a week to read, work on problems/worksheets and vocabulary flashcards, preview laboratories, play internet games, take tests, etc. How much time the student needs will depends on the parents’ requirements, student’s reading and memorization skills, previous exposure to science courses, interest level, etc.

Will there be quizzes and tests? What about semester exams?

Students take tests at home under parent supervision. There are no semester exams.

Does the student have to do the homework? Can we just “audit” the class?

Yes, students need to complete homework assignments in a timely fashion. They will place any assignments in their homework folder which will be turned in each week. All students must do the assignments. A family who is unable to designate the time each week for an academic science course should register for a no homework science elective.

Attendance Questions: We’re going on an extended vacation and would miss X number of weeks.

A 10 week semester is not for every family. Every family misses a day due to illness, emergency, planned vacation, etc. But multiple misses may necessitate removal of the student from the class and into study hall. Planned misses can be prepared for. Families are responsible for identifying which date their student will not be in attendance. Teachers may require work to be turned in prior to that date. Sometimes, the teacher may allow the student one week to catch up. For mild illness, the student will generally have one to two weeks to catch up. Emergencies will be handled on a case by case basis.

How much will the science courses cost?

Middle school credit science courses will cost $50 each year for course lab fees. There is also a fee for the tests ($7 in 2015). Space/Earth Science’s class fee also includes the cost of the lab manual (purchasing them in a group buy typically saves the family $8 or more dollars over purchasing them individually).

The science course fee will cover items such as specimens, chemicals, a portion of kits and equipment, and incidental copies and supplies. Also, a family can save money by buying used textbooks.

What about doing a Science Fair?

MArCH science courses will not require participation in a Science Fair or Olympiad.  Families are welcome to enter a Science Fair on their own.

How will MArCH work with families with learning disabilities?

We will work with the family on a case by case basis. Homework may be dictated to the parent to be typed or audiotaped. Tests can be read to the student by the parent. Parents may assist in the science class to help their student.

We can’t participate in this rigid schedule. Can you help me?

We understand that many students are involved with activities, especially on Friday, that hamper good attendance in academic class schedules, or, their families take a more unschooled approach. We respect all forms of homeschooling. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to help. There are other places that offer science classes during the week when the student might have better attendance.

How will my student be graded?

Parents are responsible for assigning a final grade for their student. Teachers will record the student’s grades in Engrade for class attendance and participation, class work, laboratories, home work, projects, and tests. Engrade calculates a final grade based on the grades entered by the teacher or admin.

If a parent and student are not satisfied with the grade achieved during the semester course, they are welcome to pursue additional work during the summer and then change the grade appropriately. That is one of the wonderful things about home school!