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Syllabus

Welcome to John F. Kennedy Middle School Honors Earth Space Science CourseSyllabusInstructor - Mr. Lawrence2010-2011             The Honors Earth/Space Science course at JFK is a High School Credit Course.  The curriculum is derived from the National Standards, the Sunshine State Standards and the District’s Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), or Pacing Guides.  The focus will be determined by the state’s “Grade Level Expectations” or GLE’s.  The topics that will be covered are: The Nature of Matter / AtomsEnergy / ThermodynamicsForce and Motion / Cycles and SystemsProcesses that Shape the EarthAstronomy, and the Physics of...Climate           The Nature of ScienceGeologyOceanographyMeteorologyData Collection and Statistical Analysis of Data INSTRUCTIONAL FORMAT             The listed topics will be covered in a comprehensive, integrated, inquiry based approach.  Students will work in cooperative groups addressing the various science questions posed to them.  The students will develop their own database of scientific laws, theories, and information based primarily upon their own research.  The subsequent development of science reasoning skills provides opportunity to become trained evaluators of information.  While systematically constructing concepts, students probe the principals, laws, theories, and potential applications of science.  Practical reasoning is defined as the ability to apply one’s knowledge, thought, and actions to real situations.  It enhances the ability to abstract, consider hypothetical experiences, and analyze several factors simultaneously.  These skills develop throughout the science program and properly prepare our students for success in life as well as mastery of the state’s normed referenced evaluation instrument, the FCAT.             Because this is an Honors course that receives High School Credit (upon successful completion), the pace will be heightened, and the activities on par with the appropriate grade level expectations.  Students will be expected to be present on a daily basis, prepared to work.  All assignments are due on the stated due date -- NO EXCEPTIONS.  To receive high school credit your child will be expected to work and act like a high school student.            Please NOTE:  All dates found within this document may be subject to change for reasons beyond our control. Any such changes will be announced as soon as they are received. RESEARCH   Detailed instructions will be provided to your child to answer any question that they may have on all assignments given in class.   Each nine-week period, every student will conduct ongoing research into one of the four areas of Earth/Space science and its related concepts.  Each student will submit their findings in the form of a five-minute presentation to the class using a PowerPoint (PPt) format.  ·      Students will learn the techniques of research and become acquainted with the various formats that are widely accepted today.        SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT                          As well as the above stated quarterly research all Earth/Space Science Honors students will conduct a month long, independent research project on a topic of interest to them, using the scientific process utilized within the classroom.  The results of this research will be placed on a board and presented in the form of a science fair project which will be due Monday November 29th,  2010.  Projects will be presented to the class beginning the week of Monday November 29th,  2010.    Since all students are required to conduct this research and make this presentation, the display board needed will be available for purchase from their science teacher.    Each of the research activities explained above is a large portion of each nine weeks’ grade and therefore should not be overlooked.                                                                   IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER                                                                                                            First 9 Weeks:                                                           PPt Presentations the week of                   October 18-22, 2010                                                1st Nine-Week Test                                     October 25-27, 2010                                                             Second 9 Weeks:                                                     Science Fair Project Due:                           November 29, 2010                                                                        Class SF Presentations the week of         November 29 – Dec 3, 2010                                                PPt Presentations the week of                   January 3-7, 20112nd Nine-Week Test (Mid Term)               Week of January 10-19, 2011                                                (depending on school schedule)              Third 9 Weeks:                                                         PPt Presentations the week of                   March 21-25, 2011                                                3rd Nine-Week Test                                     March 28-31, 2011                                                             Fourth 9 Weeks:                                                       PPt Presentations the week of                   May 16-20, 2011                                                4th Nine-Week Test (Final)                        Week of May 31- June 8, 2011                                                (depending on school schedule)    ATTENDANCE & ASSIGNMENT DUE DATES             It is your responsibility as a parent to make sure that your child is in school every day.  Make doctor appointments and other such things after or before school.  If your child misses class it places them at a disadvantage.    Your child is expected to be in class every day.    ALL ASSIGNMENTS ARE DUE ON THE DATE (S) SPECIFIED. Don’t wait to the last minute and run into problems.  PLAN AHEAD.    BEING ABSENT FROM CLASS IS NOT AN EXCUSE for failing to hand in or complete any and all assignments.    If your child misses class for any reason, it is your child’s responsibility, upon returning to class, to obtain all notes, lab data or information covered while absent, from a member of their team.      Your child has 24 hours to make up any lab work or test missed.              NOTE:  It is your child’s responsibility to make arrangements to come after school to complete any test or lab missed.    Because of the block schedule, one class missed is equal to two days of work, which your child will have to make up.    All Make-up work will be accomplished after school.    If an absence occurs on a date previously identified as the due date for a project, research paper, or report, the assignment is still due on that date.  Make arrangements to drop off the work in the office or send it to school with a sibling or friend.              NO WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED LATE WITHOUT A LOSS OF GRADE !!!    Science Fair Projects are due October 27, 2008. Projects may be handed in before that date.     Failure to hand in any assignment will greatly reduce your child’s nine week grade.  Please make sure that they keep up with their work and the due dates.    HOMEWORK             It is anticipated that all students will participate in science related homework for at least thirty minutes each evening, Monday through Thursday.   This time is to be spent primarily on reviewing class notes, completing class lab work - - reports, data presentation and analysis, or extensions - - or research.   Additional assignments may be given.  Due to the various on-going research and investigations being conducted for the year, no student should be without enough work to fill the allocated homework time.   If students claim that they are finished with their science homework, have them show you their work, read through their class notebook (regular composition book) and review what was covered in class.  If everything else has been done, have them read for the thirty minutes in their science CD textbook.      REQUIRED MATERIALS             To assist our students in attaining success in Earth/Space Science Honors, it is essential that the following materials be brought to class every day.  The borrowing and lending of materials between students results in disruption in the classroom and the grades of students involved in this practice will be cut.   
  • One Composition notebook (for year long note taking use)
  • One Composition notebook (for Science Fair research project daily “Log Book”)
  • One Composition “Quadrille” graph notebook # 09926 (5 squares / inch) for data collection, presentation and analysis
  • At least two sharpened # 2 pencils
  • Small Pencil sharpener (optional)
  • Packet of colored pencils (NO MARKERS* or Crayons)
            *Any and ALL MARKERS will be confiscated - No Exceptions
  • Three-ring-binder or Duo-Tang folder for handouts (May share binder with other class (es),
  • One metric ruler - 6” (15 cm) minimum; 12” (30 cm) preferred
  • At least two Red Pens for marking papers
  • At least one blue or black ink pen for writing up lab reports. 
            (Colored gel pens are NOT acceptable) Liquid “whiteout” is discouraged.
  • 3/4" clear scotch tape
  • Calculator -  one inexpensive with basic math and science functions, - OR 
      Preferred -  graphing calculator like Texas Instruments - 84+ Plus Silver or equivalent NOTE:  A child that comes to class unprepared to learn will be required to make up the time wasted after school.          GRADING: “INDICATIONS OF SUCCESS”             Student performance expectations at John F. Kennedy Middle - Magnet School are high for all students.  It is assumed that all students can and will attain grade level competency.  Each student’s understanding and performance, in relation to the skills and information being addressed, will be assessed on an on-going basis.  This assessment may take such forms as self or peer evaluation, as well as authentic and/or alternative assessments, including FCAT type instruments.  Students will have multiple experiences in communicating, in both written and oral form, as well as the use of technology.  Regular “Quests” are conducted in class to determine student understanding of the various concepts covered.  The use of individual remotes assists in this process.  EXTRA CREDIT             Opportunities to receive extra credit will be offered throughout the year.  This extra credit is usually in the form of materials needed for labs.  Each extra credit turned in receives a four point “A”.  Standing extra credit throughout the year includes:   A JUMBO ROLL of WHITE BOUNTY paper towels  (Bounty Only)  A ream (500 sheets) of white copy paper                                                                                                                                                                                                    No extra Credit will be accepted the last two weeks of each nine-week period.     DETERMING YOUR CHILD’S GRADE All assignments have a designated point value.  Your child's grade is determined by the percent of the number of points they receive In relation to the total points possible. You can always look on the “portal” to determine your child’s grade. However, the scores contained there may not always be up to date, and for the millions of dollars spent on the program, It can only accept a 1, 2, 3 or 4.  Therefore scores have to be calculated to be able to fit In the portal grade book.   A far better way to determine your child’s grade at any time during the nine weeks, is to simply look at their grade sheet in the back of their composition notebook.  This will always be current.  A sample of what you will see is shown here:                                                                   Running                           Running                                                                                Possible      Total           My        Total My       Date                     Assignment                        Points      Possible      Points        Points      %    Grade 
      8/14          GM Dilemma Lab Data Table          14                14                12           12         85        B             8/14          GM Dilemma Lab Graph                   18               32             16            28       87.5       B        8/14          GM Dilemma Lab Conclusion          10               42                10            38     90.47      A                      It is your child’s responsibility to keep up with their points.  Refer to the total points that your child has received and the total points possible. (See circled Items above)  Divide the Running Total possible points from all activities into the Running Total My Points your child received.   EXAMPLE:   The three activities listed above total 38 points received.  With a perfect score your child could have received 42 points.  Divide 38 by 42 and you have  .9047 or 90.47%.  Therefore your child has an “A” overall in the class.             Total points received = 38              38.00     =     .9047     = 90.47%  = “A”            Total points possible = 42               42.00 Convert the decimal number to a percent, and use the following scale. This grading scale is provided by the State:       90 - 100 % = A;    80 -  89 %  = B;   70 -  79 %  = C;   60 -  69 %  = D;    0 -  59 %  = F  Alternative and Authentic Assessments             The current trend in education is to assess students using alternative and authentic assessments.  In other words, not just a regurgitation of facts learned, but the application of the knowledge in real world situations.  One of the best ways of doing this in Earth/Space science is through the use of videos -- movies that have been produced in the past pertaining to the various subjects covered in science.  The movies were not initially produced with this assessment in mind, but those movies that used correct scientific facts and information have proven to be an invaluable asset to the learning and assessment process.              All of the movies used in the instruction of your child are rated “PG-13” or less.  Several permission slips are included in the Parent Welcome packet.  Each of the forms provided needs to be read, signed and returned to your child’s science teacher by September 10, 2010.  These forms give your child permission to participate in the various activities listed.  A “no return” on the form will be understood as giving permission to participate.                                                                             NINE-WEEK TEST             At the end of each nine-week period a Nine Week Test will be given.  If a student can demonstrate on the Nine Week Test that they have mastered the concepts or skills covered during that nine weeks, and the grade on the Nine Week Test supersedes the student’s average, the higher grade will apply.   This is true only if the student has submitted all assignments for the nine weeks, especially the research projects.  Each Nine Week Test is cumulative.  All of the information learned in the first nine weeks will be included in the second, third and fourth Nine Week Tests.                           First Nine Week’s Test                                        October 25-27, 2010                          Second Nine Week’s Test (Mid-term)               Week of January 10-19, 2011                          Third Nine Weeks Test                                        March 28-31, 2011                          Fourth Nine Week’s Test (Final)                        Week of May 31 - June 8, 2011             All Nine Week Test grades (if not better than the student’s average grade) will be averaged in to the nine-week grade.   Both the Mid-term and the Final will be averaged into the nine week grade as well as being a separate grade on the report card.             Science Fair projects, and Research papers have a percentage of each nine weeks total points and will have an effect on the overall nine weeks grade if not turned in.             • Failure to complete assignments will lower a nine-week grade regardless of the Nine Weeks Test results.STUDENT PORTFOLIOS             The above listed “REQUIRED MATERIALS” includes two composition books.  One is a regular composition book, used to take daily notes, draw diagrams, write explanations, record due dates of projects, and to keep your child’s current class grade.  The other is a graphing composition book called a “Quadrille.”  In this book your child will write their problem statements, hypotheses, determine the variables involved, create their data tables and record their data from their various labs.  They will graph their results, draw their conclusions, make predictions and analyze their results.  It is imperative that these two books be in your child’s possession at all times.These two books constitute your child’s portfolio. The daily class work performed and notes taken will be found within these two books.   If these books are lost, or not brought to class every day, it will greatly affect your child’s performance and grade in science.  Please check each day to insure that your child has these two books.  It is within these two books that you can keep up with what your child is doing in science.              It will be your child’s responsibility to acquire any lost information from one of their friends or another member of their team.              All evaluations, performances and class work are derived from these two books.  All assessments, each Nine Week Test, the Mid-term and Final all come from what your child has in these two books.   It is from these two books that your child will prepare.  No other review materials will be provided.              Regular Composition Book                                    Quadrille Composition Book                          all class notes                                                         all Data Tables                          all diagrams                                                             all graphs                          all chapter reviews                                                 all analysis of data                          all instructions                                                         all conclusions                          all due dates                                                            all predictions                          all class grades                 ENGLISH             All State, District and School assessments in science are conducted in English.  To ensure the best possible performance for our students, we require English to be spoken in class, especially in lab work.  The more comfortable your child becomes in explaining their results in English, the better their performance on the state’s FCAT assessment instruments.  CLASS RULES             Class rules have been established to provide students with a safe and productive environment for the learning of science.   Adherence to these rules is essential.   Failure to comply may result in a detention*, a parent conference, restrictions from class participation, administrative referrals, etc.   Please review these rules with your student so that there is NO misunderstanding. 1.   Be in your seat, (not just the room) quiet, prepared and ready to work before the tardy bell rings.2.   No Borrowing!  If you brought it, you can use it.  Otherwise, do without!3.   DO NOT TOUCH any equipment or materials in the room, or on the desk, until told to do so.4.   Be recognized before talking or leaving your seat.  Communication is allowed only with the individuals on your lab table during class activity time.  Use a whisper voice while involved in such conversation.5.   Whenever you are not sitting down your chair is to be under the table and out of the isle.6.   Leave your lab tables, floors, and equipment in a clean and orderly manner with your chairs under or on top of the tables (sixth period).7.   No gum, candy or food is allowed to be consumed in class.  A 30 minute gum scraping or room cleaning detention may be assigned for each infraction.8.   Use sponges or towels provided to dry up lab tables -- NOT PAPER TOWELS. * NOTE:  Riding a bus is no excuse for not serving a detention !  It will be necessary for the parent to make arrangements for a child to serve.  If you do not want to make such arrangements, ensure that your child does not receive a detention. SCIENCE FEES ·         Each year the District directs all science students to pay a lab fee as part of their science class. The fee this year is $2.00 as approved by the school's EESAC Committee. ·         Since each student is also required to complete a science fair project and present it in class on a presentation board,  these boards will also be "pre-sold" for $5.00.  ·         Your child's science textbook will be provided on CD.  If your child brings in $1.00 to cover the cost of the CD it does NOT have to be returned at the end of the year and will become their own personal property.  If you choose not to pay the $1.00 then the CD will need to be returned at the end of the school year.  If a CD Is lost, a replacement can be obtained for $1.00. ·         Please bring in either $2.00;  $7.00; or $8.00 cash during the month of September to pay for these fees associated with your child's science class.  If paying for a board, your child will only need to Initial next to their name on the list when they pick up their board in November.  CLASSROOM TEMPERATURE             The air conditioner in the BEAT building may or may not work.  When it is working, room 736 may still be warm. Therefore fans are used to assist in the cooling of the room.  If your child gets chilled easily, it is recommended that they bring a sweater or jacket to class each day.  END OF YEAR FIELD TRIP             This year our eighth grade students will again participate in an end of the year field trip.  PLEASE NOTE:  There may be one or two students who, because of their behavior, will be ineligible to attend this field trip.  Please keep this in mind throughout the year and remind your child of proper behavior in school.CELL PHONES             Cell phones are not allowed in school.  Last year students were texting during class as well as tests.  This distraction keeps them from paying attention and participating in the class lesson and activity, thus affecting their understanding of the concepts being covered, as well as their grade.  There were times that phones would ring during class time and it would many times be a parent wanting to talk with their child.               Please be advised that if there is an emergency and you need to get in touch with your child during school hours, please call the BEAT office and they will get the message to your child.  If a child is found using a phone during school hours, the phone will be picked up by the teacher and the child’s parent(s) will need to come in to school to sign for it.  A record will be kept and if another incident occurs it may jeopardize your child’s participation in BEAT activities, such as field trips, etc.             Please realize that if you do not have the time or interest to come to school to retrieve your child’s cell phone, then take the time to make sure that your child clearly understands your concern and expectations, so that they will leave their phone OFF and out of sight during school hours.  RECOMMENDATIONS:             Many of our students seek recommendations throughout the school year.  Because of certain requirements (*), please be advised of the following guidelines when requesting a teacher’s recommendation for your child. PLEASE REMEMBER the following to create a smooth recommendation process.                          All forms will be completed on a first come, first served basis.  It is a student’s responsibility to provide ALL applicable forms at the same time.   Recommendations by teachers are provided as a courtesy to the students.   It is NOT the teacher’s responsibility to provide missing forms or to be aware of each school’s requirements.  All information requested on the form must be completed by the student before submitting the form to the teacher, ie. student name, I.D.#, address, etc.   Forms received without this information will not be completed.  Unless otherwise requested, all forms will NOT be returned to the student.  All completed forms will be mailed directly to the schools in question - usually through school mail.  A minimum of two weeks turn around time should be planned when requesting a recommendation.  All recommendation forms submitted on time will be at the respective schools on time.   NOTE:  Your lack of preparation does not constitute an emergency on the teacher’s part.    Forms submitted late will be expedited as quickly as is feasibly possible, based upon the workload and availability of the teacher. (*) Recommendations to some schools require the science teacher’s verification of Science Fair participation.   
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