Course Overview

The 8th grade physical science program will introduce students to selected concepts in chemistry and physics.  In both the chemistry and physics units students will be presented with ancient attempts to explain the nature of matter and its interactions.  Instead of simply being presented with modern scientific models with little or no explanation of their historical development, students will be presented with the overarching questions posed by ancient philosophers, and will attempt to answer those questions by repeating some of the first experiments using measurement and the scientific method that led to significantly more useful models such as the law of conservation of mass and energy, the nature of energy transfer and Newton’s three laws of motion.

Early on, students will be made to see that qualitative explanations of the nature of chemical and physical interactions are insufficient to accurately explain the world around us. It will be made clear that the modern scientific method incorporates precise measurement and the application of mathematical analysis to those measurements to make predictions that are validated through further experimentation.

At the 8th grade level, virtually all evaluations of quantitative observations will incorporate proportional reasoning.  Since proportional reasoning is a large part of the 8th grade math curriculum, its application in science class will reinforce and expand students’ understanding of the all aspects of proportional relationships.  This includes solving and graphing linear equations, understanding constants of proportion, finding the slope of a line and understanding its significance, understanding how units are manipulated when performing math operations on ratios and proportions.

Students will also be introduced to the process of error analysis of measurement and calculations.  Emphasis will be placed on the distinction between precision and accuracy when determining the validity of quantitative lab results.


Scope and Sequence 

Unit 1 – Matter and its Interactions

1a How the periodic table of the elements was developed

1b (math) How proportional reasoning is used to predict chemical formulae form the combination of elements.

Unit 2 – The Electrical Nature of Matter

2a How the models for the atom, subatomic particles, and their arrangement in the atom were created.

2b (math) How energy resulting from chemical reactions is measured.  (Introduction to the concept of the Joule as a fundamental unit of energy.).

Unit 3 – Chemical Reactions in Aqueous Solutions

3a Identify types of chemical bonds, and balance chemical equations. (Includes reactions in solutions)

3b (math) Using proportional reasoning, calculate the mass of the product in a chemical reaction, given the masses of reactants and a balanced equation for the reaction. .

Unit 4 – Waves

4a The nature of wave and their interactions. (Mechanical vs. Electromagnetic waves)

4b (math) How waves are measured.  How the energy in electromagnetic waves helped to create the model of electron configuration in wave.

Unit 5 – Electric Circuits

5a The nature of electric circuits

5b (math) How to measure and calculate current through series and parallel circuits (Ohm’s Law)  How to calculate the transfer or conversion of electrical potential energy to heat energy in resistors in an electric circuit. (Watts)

Unit 6 – Force and Motion

6a  The study of motion. What is motion, and what causes motion to change?

6b (math)  How is motion measured?  How is force measured? How does the application of a constant force on a given mass affect its state of motion?