Science in Middle School is designed to spiral, which helps students explore connections across the four domains of science and engineering every single year: Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering Design. Students use the science and engineering practices that actual scientists and engineers use as they investigate the natural world and design and build systems respectively. Students are learning actively through inquiry.
Each science unit has an overarching essential question that is particularly relevant and appropriate to the age group. These questions are meant to inspire wonder and by the end of the unit, provide opportunities for students to practice solving problems.
6th Grade Essential Questions and other relevant additions
Sources: Amplify Science
The Amplify Science Grade 6 Integrated Course includes nine units that support students in meeting the NGSS. The following unit summaries demonstrate how students engage in three-dimensional learning to solve real world questions and problems.
Essential Question: How can having 100 trillion microorganisms on and in the human body keep us healthy?
Students take on the role of student researchers to investigate the human microbiome at multiple scales—from molecules to bacteria to the human body. They construct scientific arguments about how a surprising treatment—fecal transplants—can cause a patient infected with harmful bacteria to recover.
Essential Question: What is causing a young patient to feel tired all the time?
Students take on the role of medical students to diagnose a patient by figuring out how body systems work together to provide molecules to the body’s cells. They obtain information from articles, system models, videos, and hands-on investigations about macroscale and microscale body processes.
Metabolism Engineering Internship
Essential Question: How can we design health bars that meet the metabolic needs of patients or rescue workers?
Students take on the role of interns at a health bar company to analyze data from tests to design a nutrition bar that meets the metabolic needs of rescue workers and patients in disaster areas. They consider how molecules in ingredients affect people at cellular and whole-body scales.
Traits and Reproduction
Essential Question: Why do Darwin’s bark spider offspring have different silk flexibility traits even though they have the same parents?
Students take on the role of student genetic researchers to write arguments about why the silk of closely related spiders can vary. From models and articles, they gather evidence about traits, the structure and function of protein molecules, gene combinations, and inheritance.
Essential Question: Which heating system will best heat a school?
Students take on the role of student thermal scientists to use mathematical thinking and evidence from articles, experiments, and models to decide which of two heating systems will best heat a fictional school. They construct explanations for what causes stability or change in thermal energy and temperature.
Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate
Essential Question: During El Niño years, why is Christchurch, New Zealand’s air temperature cooler than usual?
Students take on the role of climatologists to construct explanations about why regional climates change during El Niño years. They gather evidence from experiments, articles, maps, and more to explain causes and effects between the atmosphere, ocean, and regional climates.
Essential Question: Why have recent rainstorms in a town been so severe?
Students take on the role of student forensic meteorologists to create visual models showing why a fictional town has experienced an increase in extreme rainstorms. They conduct a variety of investigations about how the energy in air changes and becomes stable, and how this affects weather patterns.
Earth’s Changing Climate
Essential Question: Why is the ice on Earth’s surface melting?
Students take on the role of climatologists for a fictional research institute to ask questions about climate change and figure out how human activities add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, altering the energy flow into and out of Earth’s systems. They explain how specific solutions could reduce climate change.
Earth’s Changing Climate Engineering Internship
Essential Question: How can we design rooftops to reduce a city’s impact on climate change?
Students take on the role of civil engineering interns at a fictional engineering company to analyze patterns in data as they design and test a roof modification system that reduces climate impact. They also define new engineering problems.