Welcome to

John F. Kennedy Middle School  


Honors Earth Space Science

 Course Syllabus

Instructor - Mr. Lawrence


             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 / Atoms
Energy / Thermodynamics
Force and Motion / Cycles and Systems
Processes that Shape the Earth
Astronomy, and the Physics of...
The Nature of Science
Data Collection and Statistical Analysis of Data 


          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.


  Detailed instructions will be provided to your child to answer any question that they may have on all assignments given in class. A website is provided (URL shown below) to assist in the assigning and clarifying of all class assignments and will provide additional resources to be used in preparation for the FCAT test. 

  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 or HyperStudio 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.                                                                   


First Nine Weeks:DATE
PPt Presentations the week ofOctober 18-22, 2010
1st Nine Week TestOctober 25-27, 2010
Second Nine Weeks:
Science Fair Project DueVovember 29, 2010
Class SF Presentations the week ofNovember 29 - Dec 3, 2010
PPt Presentations the week ofJanurary 3-7, 2011
2nd Nine Week Test (Mid-Term)Week of January 10-19, 2011
depending on school schedule
Third Nine Weeks:
PPt Presentations the week ofMarch 21-25, 2011
3rd  Nine Week TestMarch 28-31, 2011
Fourth Nine 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


Picture of child with head on stairs.



            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.


   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.               


   Science Fair Projects are due October 29, 2010. 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.  


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) ID Labels will be provided for all composition notebooks.
  • 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
  • Packet of colored pencils - OR - one each of the three primary colors
  • NO MARKERS or Crayons - any and ALL MARKERS will be confiscated - No Exceptions
  • Three-ring-binder or Duo-Tang folder with retainer clips for handouts and ruled paper.
  • Binder may be shared with other class (es),
  • Sufficient supply of ruled paper.  At NO TIME should pages be torn out of any composition notebook.  These are legal documents.  Any removal of pages from a composition notebook will result in a loss of grade.
  • One metric ruler - 6” (15 cm) minimum; 12” (30 cm) preferred
  • At least two sharpened # 2 pencils
  • 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 "magic 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. 


           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.  


            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.  


          All assignments have a designated point value.  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.    To determine your child’s grade at any time during the term, simply look at the grade sheet inside their composition notebook.  This should always be current.  A sample of what you will see is shown here.  

MyRunningPossibleRunning Grade
14-AugGM Dilemah Lab Data Table1212141486/B
16-AugGM Dilemah Lab Graph1628183288/B
19-AugGM Dilemah Lab Conclusion1038104290/A
20-AugUnit Assessment Test3674458780/B
26-AugClass Presentation3210650137 

For Example: If you want to know what grade you received for the Class Presentation listed above you would divide your points (32) by the possible points (50).  This would give you a .64.  Moving the decimal two places to the right (multiplying by 100) you would havae 64%.  Using the grade scale provided by the State of Florida:  90 - 100 % = A;    80 -  89 %  = B;   70 -  79 %  = C;   60 -  69 %  = D;    0 -  59 %  = F  you can see that your grade would be a "D".

To determine your grade for the nine weeks you would take "My Points Running Total" (106) and divide it by the "Possible Points Running Total (137).  This would give you a .77. Moving the decimal you would have 77% which is a "C".

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 of instruction, and the grade on the Nine Week Test supersedes the student’s average for the nine weeks, 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.   Because this grade represents an entire nine weeks worth of effort it will have a much heavier weight in the gradebook than other grades. 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 also have a higher percentage of each nine weeks total points and will have a detramental 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.

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, parent participation in various Open House activities, etc.  Each extra credit turned in receives from one to four points.  A four point grade is equal to an “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
  • A box 3/4" Scotch "Magic Tape"

 No extra Credit will be accepted the last two weeks of each nine-week period. 

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.  


          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.  These two books are also legal documents when used as instructed.  Every page in both books should have a date written in the upper outside corner of the page indicating when the information contained on that page was obtained. This dating process is very important as will be seen later.

 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.             

Following an absence it will be your responsibility to acquire any missed information from one of your friends or another member of yourteam.  Simply look for those pages that have the date of your absence written in the corner. Copy everything down into your own books under that same date.            

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                


          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. 


          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.


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.  


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.