Our Lady of the Assumption

2008-2009 Middle School Science

Dear Middle School Students and Families,

I would like to welcome you all to this year’s science course! In middle school science, we cover many interesting and exciting topics. Parents, by getting involved in your child’s instruction, you can not only help your son or daughter to succeed, but you may also enjoy learning new material yourself. Why not? The more we know about the world around us, the more fascinating it becomes.

This year we will be using a textbook called Science Explorer. The textbook has a rich bank of science content and plenty of examples to make that content relevant to daily life. In addition, the book clearly outlines lesson objectives and vocabulary. By mastering these concepts and terms, students gain a solid base in science and will be well prepared for high school science courses. And you can rest assured that this program meets our state and national standards for science. My goal is to create a classroom environment that will help your son or daughter:
·        Build a solid science vocabulary·        Gain a strong understanding of key scientific principles and topics·        Find out about the latest technologies and use many of them to learn more about science·        See how science is related to other disciplines·        Effectively prepare for assessments·        See science as worthwhile and meaningful·        Develop thinking skills and the ability to challenge assumptions, think creatively, and solve real-life problems·        Have fun!

The textbook compliments a strong inquiry-based lab component. Students act as scientists, spending time in laboratory investigations and related activities doing data collection & analysis discussion, and communication of findings. The students will also have many opportunities to reinforce, extend, and apply what they learned in these fun and meaningful investigations and activities. I would appreciate the help of the parents in furthering these goals. Simply support your child as he or she explores science this year. A few of the units covered this year in science include:
·        6th: Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Earth’s Surface, Erosion·        7th: Cell Structure and Functions, Cell Processes and Energy, Genetics·        8th: Matter, Changes in Matter, Periodic Table, Carbon Chemistry, Motion

I am requiring certain preparations and behaviors. Please take a moment to examine the other materials in this packet. They include classroom rules, requirements, grading policy, and a supplies list. I encourage you to examine these periodically along with your student’s notebook to get a continuing view of your child’s progress. I am asking for signatures from the students and the parent/guardian at the bottom of the final page.  Please return it to me by Monday, September 8, 2008.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at school or my e-mail is

   Haley Hawthorne
Science Teacher

Science Web Site:

Please periodically check this site for descriptions of important class assignments, activities, assignment schedules, and other useful information.


Welcome to Science. This packet tells you what you need to know about supplies, grading assignments, etc.......Keep this packet in your lab folder or a safe place at home. You may need to periodically refer to it.

Supplies Needed Daily:
The list can be found on Our Lady of Assumption’s website.   Students are expected to come to class with each supply.

Class Standards
The whole purpose of school is for students to learn and for teachers to teach. In order for each of us to be able to do our jobs, certain standards must be met.

1. Students will come to class prepared. You must complete the following things the moment class begins. Have:
  • Your homework due for that day out to be stamped
  • Your science spiral open and ready
  • A pencil or pen
  • A supply of paper in your binder
  • All assignments completed before class
  • Read any instructions on the board
 2. Students will come to class on time.
3. Students will be courteous and well-mannered.
Examples of courteous behavior include:
  • Saying please and thank you.
  • Listening while others are talking
  • Talking only when it is your turn.
  • Using other people’s belongings only after asking permission.
  • Modeling Our Lady of Assumption’s character attributes.
  • Follow all science safety rules.
 4. Absent students will promptly complete all missing work.
  • Each assignment is designed to help you learn in a step-by-step manner. If you do not do an assignment, you miss one of the steps. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to get the assignment. You have many places to go for this information, such as other students, the Log Keeper notebook, the calendar on my website, and lastly your teacher.
  • If you are absent, you have 1 week to make up written work. After 1 week the grade will be reduced. If you are absent several days, we will arrange a reasonable time to complete it.
 5. Full credit is given only when the assignment is completed on time.
  • In science, each day’s work builds on the previous day’s work. Work turned in late is often copied and defeats the purpose of the assignment. We may go over each assignment in class so that you may correct your answers. We do collaborative lab work which means, you can change anything in your lab write-ups until it is collected by me.
 6. Expectations for outdoor class work.
  • At times, we will be spending extended periods outside making observations, taking measurements, and gathering data. I have very high expectations for all my students in these situations. Each activity is unique and therefore has different rules and expectations. These will be shared with you before doing them. If you choose not to follow these you will be given an alternative assignment by yourself for the duration.
 Tests, Quizzes, and ProjectsStudents will know ahead of time of the upcoming tests, quizzes, and due dates.  Quizzes will come up throughout the chapters to reinforce vocabulary and main ideas.  There will be a project due at the end of each chapter that focuses on the major topics.  The students will be receiving the project assignment sheet on the first day of the chapter.  They will then have until the day after the chapter test to complete the assignment.  Occasionally, the chapter project will take the place of an assessment.   Grading System
My grading system is simple! It shows where you fall on a standard based continuum. Specific rubric guides will help you with this.

1. I put work into four categories.
  • laboratory work
  • projects
  • tests and quizzes
  • daily work/homework
 2. A number score is often used.
  • 90-100
  • 80-89
 3. A stamp is sometimes used for assignments (homework).
  • A stamp is given to work that indicates you have the skill or demonstrate understanding of a concept.