Stuck on Science


Welcome to science class with Ms. Jerlinga! We’ve learned the basics of mineralogy, meteorology, astronomy, cellular and plant biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, environmental science, chemistry, physics and more! 

Below you will find one potential rough outline for a 6-8th grade student’s learning objectives for a year. Learning objectives are based on middle school and correlated high school state standards and are designed to build upon each other. Next Generation Science Standards are interwoven in, as well.

Earth Science:

Unit 1: Rocks & Minerals

  1. 1.Describe common uses for minerals as well as their structure on a molecular level. Relevance: Debate the Coltan mining in the Congo & its impact on cultures worldwide.

  2. 2.Define and give examples of the properties of minerals including hardness, fracture, cleavage, streak and color.

  3. 3.Use Moh’s hardness scale and the rest of the mineral properties to identify various minerals.

  4. 4.Distinguish between a rock and a mineral and explore the relationship between them.

  5. 5.Describe the formation and properties of igneous rocks.

  6. 6.Describe the formation and properties of sedimentary rocks

  7. 7.Describe the formation and properties of metamorphic rocks

  8. 8.Using the rock cycle, explain how any one rock can be altered and turn into another over the course of many millennia.

  9. 9.Identify rocks based on their physical characteristics as sedimentary, intrusive igneous, extrusive igneous or metamorphic and give evidence to support your claim.

  10. 10. Explore the connection between sedimentary rocks, fossil fuels, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and explain why new sustainable resources will have to be implemented on a large scale soon.

Unit 2: Weather

  1. 1.Identify the major features of the troposphere including the density of molecules, changes in temperature, and objects in space.

  2. 2.Describe the density, energy level and general movements of warm versus cold molecular masses, and explain how altitude and pressure alter movements.

  3. 3.Illustrate and explain how radiation, conduction and convection work together on the planet as well as identifying common examples of all three forms of energy transfer.

  4. 4.Explain earth’s energy budget and the differential heating from the sun on earth’s various surfaces considering which parts absorb, reflect or radiate, the ozone layer, and green house gasses.

  5. 5.Illustrate and explain wind formation between two environments.

  6. 6.Determine if current weather follows climate patterns by analyzing data.  

  7. 7.Compare and contrast the formation of precipitation including rain, snow, sleet and hail.

  8. 8.Illustrate and explain the formation of tornadoes by identifying key warm and cold air masses.

  9. 9.Describe the formation warm, cold and stationary fronts; compare and contrast the weather that is typical with each.

  10. 10. Define and locate the jet stream.

Unit 3: Space

  1. 1.Illustrate the leading theory of the formation of the moon.

  2. 2.Explain the link between the moon and earth’s oceans

  3. 3.Distinguish between weight and mass and compare yours on earth and on the moon.

  4. 4.Describe and illustrate the orbits, rotations and revolutions of the sun, earth and moon.

  5. 5.Illustrate all moon phases along with the relative location of the earth and sun.

  6. 6.Compare and contrast the phases of the moon from space versus from earth.

Unit 4: Global Warming & Earth’s Resources

  1. 1.Explain the causes and effects of the Greenhouse effect and describe the outcomes of the planet with too many or not enough greenhouse gasses.

  2. 2.Describe how greenhouse gasses get into the atmosphere, and explain the link between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change

  3. 3.Explain how the Industrial Revolution, increases in human population, agriculture and deforestation impact climate change.

  4. 4.Identify current geological effects of climate change and how they impact people’s culture, health and survival.

  5. 5.Describe the effects that an average of 3-6 degree average warming on the planet will cause including the change in acidity of the oceans, threat to biodiversity, famine, migration changes, and human civilization’s and cities.

  6. 6.Explain how feedback systems create a quickening pace of warming over time including the albedo-flip, water vapor increasing with heat, the burning of the Amazon rainforest, and the shut down of the ocean thermohaline belt.

  7. 7.Explain how we use coral reef growth, ice coring, tree rings and historical data to analyze climate change over the last several hundred thousand years.

  8. 8.Identify sustainable, renewable energy sources and explain why they aren’t being used.

  9. 9.Describe the role of national and international governments in developed and developing countries including the Kyoto protocol.

  10. 10. Create a “Carbon Footprint” plan with action steps as to what you can do to reduce your own carbon emissions.

Levels of Organization

This is ongoing. By the end of the year, you will be able to categorize pictures, words, descriptions, symbols and equations that represent or symbolize atoms, molecules, macromolecules, compounds, organelles, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems and organisms.


  1. 1.Describe the attributes of multicellular organisms.

  2. 2.Explain the creation of a multicellular organism from a sperm and egg to stem cells, differentiated cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. 

  3. 3.How can you differentiate between objects that had, never had, or still have cells?

  4. 4.How can stem cells be used to cure various ailments?

  5. 5.How can we create new stem cell lines? What’s the difference between embryonic and adult stem cell lines?

  6. 6.What is the controversy behind stem cell research?

  7. 7.What are the names and functions of animal organelles?

  8. 8.How does protein synthesis lead to a change in our bodies?

  9. 9.What are the parts of a nucleus and a chromosome?

  10. 10.Describe the relationship and structures of chromosomes, chromatin and DNA.

  11. 11.Explain at least three reasons why we need mitosis.

  12. 12. Describe the movements  and changes in the centrioles, nucleus, and chromosomes in each stage of mitosis.

  13. 13. How did Miescher discover DNA and what didn’t he know?

  14. 14.Describe the controversy behind the discovery of DNA’s structure including James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin.

  15. 15.Compare and contrast inherited and acquired traits including how you get them, their permanence, types, and whether or not they’re passed on to further generations by using multiple examples.

  16. 16.Discriminate between inherited behavioral/instinctual traits, physical traits and medical traits in humans and animals including migration, hibernation, temperament, and reflexes.

  17. 17.How are genes for your traits and sex passed on?

  18. 18. Describe the variety of alleles found in various human populations.

  19. 19. Categorize alleles as being either dominant or recessive traits.

  20. 20. Predict the phenotypes of homozygous or heterozygous allele pairings.

  21. 21. Use Punnet squares to show the probability of phenotypes and genotypes popping up in various scenarios and populations.

  22. 22.  Describe the causes and effects of mutations on an individual and a population using dominant and recessive alleles and Sickle Cell Anemia.

  23. 23. Using what you know about the disasters of 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl  and Mexico City, debate whether or not more nuclear power plants should be built in the United States.

  24. 24. Refute Jean-Baptist Lamarck’s ideas by using evidence supported by what you know of Mendelian genetics and mutations.

  25. 25. Perform a lab-simulation and evaluate how natural selection works in a given population; determine what inherited traits are “fittest” for various environments.

  26. 26. Create a cartoon illustrating Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands and explain the changes in the finch populations over time.

  27. 27. Explain the emergence of different colored animals (such as the peppered moth, polar bear or white tiger) through natural selection, and define what makes the new generation “most fit,” for the current environment.

  28. 28. Describe how inherited traits form helpful adaptations through the process of natural selection over time using mutations as part of your evidence.

  29. 29. Identify adaptations selected as “fittest” in animals of multiple biomes and explain their origins.

  30. 30.Using what you know about adaptations, explain why an invasive species could damage an ecosystem or population of organisms.

  31. 31. Describe the differences between commensalism, mutualism and parasitism and explain how symbiosis helps organisms survive.

  32. 32. Examine other behavioral adaptations such as migration, dormancy and hibernation and explain how these adaptations help in the survival of various plant and animal species.

  33. 33. Evaluate the impact of global warming has on ecosystems, and predict what could happen to organisms if we continue on this trend over the next 100 years.


Unit 1: Levels of Organization

  1. 1.Explain the relationship between atoms, molecules and macromolecules using what you know about DNA, RNA and proteins.

  2. 2.Using multiple examples, compare and contrast macromolecules versus compounds.

  3. 3.Compare  and contrast the relationships between atoms and elements, molecules and compounds and atoms and molecules.

  4. 4.Categorize items that are and are not matter.

  5. 5.Write, illustrate and symbolize how to represent elements/atoms, molecules, compounds and macromolecules.

  6. 6.Explore, describe and explain some of the fundamental physical properties including state, solubility, melting/boiling point, luster, malleability (vs. brittle), absorption, density, shape, length/area/volume, texture, and color.

  7. 7.Create your own investigation to test one of the physical properties you explored.

  8. 8.Create two analogy-based menus for your own restaurant-- one that is all “homogeneous” and one that is all “heterogeneous.”

  9. 9.Define solute, solvent and solution by exploring the concept using flour, water, baby powder, salt, sugar, gelatin and other household ingredients.

  10. 10.Explore the link between a solution’s concentration, saturation level and temperature.

  11. 11. Using what you know about solutions and heterogeneous mixtures, explain how one might measure the toxic levels water and air pollution, how pollutants got there, what properties would make cities more likely to be polluted and what can be done.

  12. 12.Experiment to determine several ways to tell if a substance is a compound or homogeneous mixture.

  13. 13. Categorize substances as elements, compounds, molecules, macromolecules, heterogeneous mixtures or homogeneous mixtures.

Unit 2: Using the Periodic Table to find Physical Property Trends

  1. 1.Describe the creation of and organization of the Periodic Table.

  2. 2.Illustrate regions on the periodic table as metal, non-metal or metalloid, then classify elements as metal, non-metal or metalloid.

  3. 3.Explore common uses for various metals of your choice and their impact on war, technology and civilization as a whole.

  4. 4.Compare and contrast properties of metals versus nonmetals.

  5. 5.Illustrate regions on the periodic table as being solid, liquid or gas, and categorize elements as such.

  6. 6.Create analogies for the differences in molecular formation between solids, liquids and gasses and explain how substances turn from one state to the other.

  7. 7. Compare and contrast how melting, freezing and boiling points lead to evaporation, condensation, freezing and melting of various elements.

  8. 8.Explore density of solids and liquids and explain the connection between density and period.

Unit 3: Using the Periodic Table to Explain Molecule Formation

  1. 1.Use the periodic table to look for patterns between an element’s atomic number, atomic mass and element symbol.

  2. 2.Diagram the anatomy of an atom including orbitals, valence/electrons, protons and neutrons and explain the proton’s role.

  3. 3.Explore the connection between periods and orbitals.

  4. 4.Explain the relationship between neutrons and isotopes and explain what does and doesn’t change between various forms of an element.

  5. 5.Describe the relationship between the valence electrons and an element’s reactivity.

  6. 6. Define the steps in the formation of anions and cations.

  7. 7. Describe the reactivity and physical properties of families 1,2, 17 and 18.

  8. 8. Use Lewis structures to predict molecules.

  9. 9. Categorize bonds as covalent, ionic or hydrogen.

  10. 10. Write and expand common molecules and compounds and explain their similarities and differences.

  11. 11. Classify pictures, symbols, descriptions and equations as subatomic particles, atoms, elements, molecules or compounds.

Unit 4: Chemical Reactions

  1. 1.Define the Law of Conservation of Energy

  2. 2. Categorize different forms of energy

  3. 3.Diagram and explain the Law of Conservation of mass using examples of reactants and products of common chemical reactions as your evidence.

  4. 4.Describe the differences between synthesis, decomposition, single and double replacement reactions.

  5. 5.Explain the relationship between concentration, surface area, heat, catalysts and reaction rates and explain how this relates to your survival.

  6. 6.Describe the evidence of chemical reactions including precipitates, changes in energy, appearance of a gas, or a color change.

  7. 7.Interpret graphs showing exothermic and endothermic reactions.

  8. 8.Distinguish between evidence of chemical reactions versus physical changes.

  9. 9.Explain the effect of energy on chemical and physical changes in everyday objects.


Electromagnetic Spectrum (in sub-objectives)

  1. 1.Define matter and create rules to determine whether or not something is matter.

  2. 2.Identify what something is if NOT matter.

  3. 3. Explain the effect energy has on molecules.

  4. 4.Organize the levels of organization from atom to organism, and atom to mixture.

  5. 5.Compare and contrast energy transfer between conduction, convection and radiation.

  6. 6.Explain the law of conservation of energy.

  7. 7.Differentiate between a transverse and a longitudinal wave.

  8. 8. Draw and identify crest, trough, amplitude, wavelength and explain common misconceptions.

  9. 9.Explain the relationship between wavelength and frequency.

  10. 10. Compare and contrast the wavelengths and frequencies of the 7 parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  11. 11.Identify examples of the electromagnetic spectrum in your life, books, television, video games and movies.

  12. 12. Describe ways in which the EM spectrum (and its technology) are both helpful and harmful to mankind.

  13. 13. Extra: explain the technology that allows us to use the electromagnetic spectrum to our benefit (including but not limited to cell phones, microwaves, x-rays, solar panels, night vision goggles, infrared cameras, uv lights, etc).

Intro to Newton’s Laws

  1. 1.Newton’s 1st Law

  2. 2.Newton’s 2nd Law

  3. 3.Newton’s 3rd Law


Science Curriculum

In 8th grade, we built rockets in physics, extract DNA from strawberries, build and breed Mendelian Monsters, play with pH, goo, black-lights and fire, create our own science notebooks, and preview concepts taught in high school. Students  in the past have opted to do dissections and additional labs Tuesdays after school.