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Charleston Day School
7th Grade Life Science
Syllabus 2013-2014
Teacher: Mr. Hemingway
[email protected]
Course Rationale:
The 7th Grade Life Science course is an issue-oriented, inquiry approach, which makes the
content more accessible to students of all ability levels. By using real world issues, students
understand the relevance and importance of learning science. The course uses a balanced, guided
inquiry approach. Students will learn to make decisions and solve problems based on evidence,
and gain a better understanding of application through hands-on science. As they develop higher
level critical thinking skills, they will begin to identify the trade-offs in the decision making
process. The course utilizes a learning cycle approach in which concepts and scientific skills
spiral throughout the course. By using a range of age-appropriate teaching and literacy strategies
the course will engage students on a day-to-day basis while enhancing their understanding and
retention. The course materials also support the integration of mathematics, literacy and
technology. Opportunities to assess student progress are integrated into all the instructional
materials and are built around a core set of scientific concepts, processes, and skills. The rubrics
assess skills such as the ability to design and conduct an investigation as well as the ability to
understand and communicate concepts.
Course Materials:
 Issues & Life Science; Lab-Aids and SEPUP
 Science Explorer Series; Prentice Hall
Course Goals:
After completing this course, the student will develop the following skills and abilities:
 Problem-solving
 Observation
 Classification and sequencing
 Communication
 Measurement
 Prediction
 Hypothesizing
 Inferring
 Defining, controlling, and manipulating variables in experimentation
 Interpreting, analyzing and evaluating data
 Learning to work effectively in groups
 Increase awareness of lab safety procedures
Course Activities and Objectives:
A. Experimental Design: Studying People Scientifically
Student investigations address important ideas about the nature of science, the traditional
scientific method and experimental design. At the end of the unit, they evaluate several proposed
studies for the quality of their scientific design.
B. Body Works
Students explore the role of organ systems in providing nutrients and oxygen to the body and
transporting and eliminating wastes (maintaining internal balance). The unit focuses in-depth on
the cardiopulmonary system as students investigate heart disease, nutrition and exercise.
C. Cell Biology and Disease
Students study microbiology; cell size, structure, function and permeability; and systems of
classification. They explore the function of the immune system and the growth of antibioticresistant organisms. A project on disease develops research skills.
D. Genetics
Students explore fundamental principles of Mendelian genetics in pea plants and humans. They
study asexual and sexual reproduction, the process of cell division, and the role of nature and
nurture in determining traits. Near the end, students model the use of DNA technologies to solve
real problems.
E. Ecology
Students consider what happens when a new species is introduced into an ecosystem as they
model ecological relationships within an ecosystem; simulate the effect of competition, predation
and other factors on population size; and investigate local ecosystems.
Assessment and Grading System:
Students will create and access class files for the submission and collection of all graded
assignments and assessments, notes, and handouts throughout the semester. All graded tests and
major assignments will be communicated home.
 Daily Work—attendance, participation, activities
 Homework
 Quizzes
 Projects
 Tests/Lab Reports
Homework and Make-up Work
Students are responsible for completing assignments on time and according to specific guidelines.
An immediate consequence for incomplete assignments is that a student will be required to make
up the work during afternoon study hall before completing any newly assigned homework.
Parents will be contacted if incomplete homework becomes an issue. If absent, students are also
responsible for making up all missed work, and students are expected to follow the guidelines for
make-up work outlined in the School Handbook.
Assignment Policy
Ten percent of the original grade will be deducted each day an assignment is late. Daily
assignments such as grammar or vocabulary exercises or study questions typically don’t receive a
grade but are checked for proficiency. Each student is allotted a grade of 110% at the beginning
of each semester. It is the student’s responsibility to keep track of missed assignments due to
absences and make up the work. Five percent will be deducted from that average for each
assignment that is either incomplete or not made up. This rule also applies to returning
signed tests and papers on time.
Unexcused Absences
Being present on a consistent basis is essential to a student’s success in the classroom because it
enables a student to fully engage with the learning material. Unexcused absences, such as taking
more than the allotted three days for high school visitations, family vacations, leaving early for a
weekend trip, etc., disrupt the learning process and place a difficult burden on students and
teachers to make up the missed work. As the CDS handbook states, “Daily grades could be
adversely affected due to unexcused absences.” For any missed daily assignment during an
unexcused absence, 5% will automatically be deducted from the homework grade.
Arrival and Dismissal
Students should arrive in the morning between 7:35 and 7:50, unless they have special permission
from the headmaster for early arrival. Students must be sitting in their desks and ready to
begin the day at 7:55 A.M., and students will be considered tardy if they arrive at school after
the 7:55 A.M. bell. Excessive tardiness will carry consequences. Dismissal will be at 3:20 P.M.
daily, except Fridays when all students are dismissed at 2:50 P.M.
Extra Help
I encourage students to take advantage of individualized instruction during or after school. Please
let me know if you would like extra help, and I will be happy to set up a time to meet.
Course Guidelines and Safety
Classroom expectations are governed by the school’s Mission Statement and the following rules
and guidelines outlined on pages 4 and 5.
General Guidelines:
1. Students must come prepared to science class every day. Being prepared means having a
writing instrument, a three-ring loose-leaf binder, and any completed assignments that are
2. All lab activities, class notes, homework, graded papers and handouts must be kept in the
proper folders. These folders will be checked periodically for its organization, neatness and
content. During the course of each unit, materials may be used as a resource for quizzes.
3. Complete all assignments to the best of your ability. It is important not only to do the work,
but also to do it well. All questions must be answered in complete sentences.
4. Grading is done on a point system. Points are earned for all work that is completed, entered
into my computer, and then the computer calculates a percentage by adding the number of
points earned and dividing by the total points possible. Lost points may be earned back
through revision assignments.
5. Work missed due to absence can be made up during the school day, or before or after school
by appointment (I need to know when you are coming so I can set up any lab equipment).
6. Students are expected to act in a mature and responsible manner whenever they are in the
science lab. Safety rules specific to the science lab are outlined below.
Safety in the Science Laboratory:
Following safety procedures in the science lab is extremely important. Accidents often occur as
the result of carelessness, not following directions, and/or ignoring warnings. Work in the
science lab must be taken seriously. Pay attention to and follow all of the following safety
1. Read and follow all directions. Never touch equipment or start an experiment before you are
instructed to do so.
2. Be able to locate and identify the safety equipment in the lab (fire extinguisher, eyewash, first
aid kit, etc.).
3. Wear goggles or other protective glasses when handling dangerous substances (including but
not limited to chemicals, glass equipment, and open flame).
4. Protect your clothing with an apron whenever using chemicals.
5. Tie loose and/or long hair back.
6. Roll up your sleeves if they are getting in the way.
7. No eating, drinking or gum chewing.
8. Never taste a substance we are using in the lab, and never smell a substance by putting your
nose directly over it.
9. Always point the open end of a test tube or dropper bottle away from yourself and anyone
10. Be extremely careful when using sharp instruments.
11. Always check glassware before using it. Never use glassware that is cracked or chipped.
12. Wash your hands with warm soapy water after using chemicals or other dangerous
13. Keep your work area clean and neat.
14. Clean your equipment and your work area when you are finished.
15. Turn off running water, and unplug all equipment when you are finished with it. Return all
equipment to its proper place.
16. Endangering the safety of anyone in the science lab will result in immediate removal for the
remainder of the class period. Other consequences may follow depending on the severity of
the offense.
After you have read all three statements, ask any questions you might have. Once you understand
it, sign it. Take it home, explain it to your parent(s)/guardian(s), and have them read and sign it.
This is the first science assignment of the year and will receive a homework grade.
Complete the Google signature form and submit to Mr. Hemingway. Keep this document for
your records.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------2013 - 2014 Course Guidelines and Safety
Student’s signature: (see Google form)
Parent’s signature: (see Google form)