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Grade Six Model Curriculum Overview

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Unit 1: Growth, Development, and Reproduction of Organisms

Instructional Days: 25

Students use data and conceptual models to understand how the environment and genetic factors determine the growth of an individual organism. They connect this idea to the role of animal behaviors in animal reproduction and to the dependence of some plants on animal behaviors for their reproduction. Students provide evidence to support their understanding of the structures and behaviors that increase the likelihood of successful reproduction by organisms. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect and structure and function provide a framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas. Students demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in analyzing and interpreting data, using models, conducting investigations, and communicating information. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-LS1-4 and MS-LS1-5.


Unit 2: Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems

Instructional Days: 25

Students analyze and interpret data, develop models, construct arguments, and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the cycling of matter, the flow of energy, and resources in ecosystems. They are able to study patterns of interactions among organisms within an ecosystem. They consider biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem and the effects these factors have on populations. They also understand that the limits of resources influence the growth of organisms and populations, which may result in competition for those limited resources. The crosscutting concepts of matter and energy, systems and system models, patterns, and cause and effect provide a framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas. Students demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in analyzing and interpret data, developing models, and constructing arguments. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, and MS-LS2-3.


Unit 3: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Instructional Days: 25

Students build on their understandings of the transfer of matter and energy as they study patterns of interactions among organisms within an ecosystem. They consider biotic and abiotic factors in an ecosystem and the effects these factors have on a population. They construct explanations for the interactions in ecosystems and the scientific, economic, political, and social justifications used in making decisions about maintaining biodiversity in ecosystems. The crosscutting concept of stability and change provide a framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas.

This unit includes a two-stage engineering design process. Students first evaluate different engineering ideas that have been proposed using a systematic method, such as a tradeoff matrix, to determine which solutions are most promising. They then test different solutions, and combine the best ideas into a new solution that may be better than any of the preliminary ideas. Students demonstrate grade appropriate proficiency in asking questions, designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, developing and using models, and designing solutions. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-LS2-4, MS-LS2-5, MS-ETS1-1, and MS-ETS1-3.


Unit 4: Forces and Motion

Instructional Days: 25

Students use system and system models and stability and change to understanding ideas related to why some objects will keep moving and why objects fall to the ground. Students apply Newton's third law of motion to related forces to explain the motion of objects. Students also apply an engineering practice and concept to solve a problem caused when objects collide. The crosscutting concepts of system and system models and stability and change provide a framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas. Students demonstrate proficiency in asking questions, planning and carrying out investigations, designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, developing and using models, and constructing explanations and designing solutions. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, and MS-ETS1-4.

Unit 5: Types of Interactions

Instructional Days: 25

Students use cause and effect; system and system models; and stability and change to understand ideas that explain why some materials are attracted to each other while others are not. Students apply ideas about gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces to explain a variety of phenomena including beginning ideas about why some materials attract each other while others repel. In particular, students develop understandings that gravitational interactions are always attractive but that electrical and magnetic forces can be both attractive and negative. Students also develop ideas that objects can exert forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact, through fields. Students are expected to consider the influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world. Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in asking questions, planning and carrying out investigations, designing solutions, and engaging in argument. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-PS2-3, MS-PS2-4, and MS-PS2-5.


Unit 6: Astronomy

Instructional Days: 20

This unit is broken down into three sub-ideas: the universe and its stars, Earth and the solar system, and the history of planet Earth. Students examine the Earth's place in relation to the solar system, the Milky Way galaxy, and the universe. There is a strong emphasis on a systems approach and using models of the solar system to explain the cyclical patterns of eclipses, tides, and seasons. There is also a strong connection to engineering through the instruments and technologies that have allowed us to explore the objects in our solar system and obtain the data that support the theories explaining the formation and evolution of the universe. Students examine geosciences data in order to understand the processes and events in Earth's history. The crosscutting concepts of patterns, scale, proportion, and quantity and systems and systems models provide a framework for understanding the disciplinary core ideas.  Students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models and analyzing and interpreting data. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, and MS-ESS1-3.


Unit 7: Weather and Climate

Instructional Days: 20

This unit is broken down into three sub-ideas: Earth's large-scale systems interactions, the roles of water in Earth's surface processes, and weather and climate. Students make sense of how Earth's geosystems operate by modeling the flow of energy and cycling of matter within and among different systems. A systems approach is also important here, examining the feedbacks between systems as energy from the Sun is transferred between systems and circulates though the ocean and atmosphere. The crosscutting concepts of cause and effect, systems and system models, and energy and matter are called out as frameworks for understanding the disciplinary core ideas. In this unit, students are expected to demonstrate proficiency in developing and using models and planning and carrying out investigations as they make sense of the disciplinary core ideas. Students are also expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

This unit is based on MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, and MS-ESS2-6.

Note: The number of instructional days is an estimate based on the information available at this time. 1 day equals approximately 42 minutes of seat time. Teachers are strongly encouraged to review the entire unit of study carefully and collaboratively to determine whether adjustments to this estimate need to be made.