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7th Grade Next Generation Curriculum

In 7th grade, students explore natural and designed systems and cycles, some that are concrete and easily observable and others that are more abstract across nine month-long units. They use their knowledge of Earth systems, ecosystem dynamics, energy systems, and technological systems to answer real-world questions and solve real-world problems.
7th Grade STEM Curriculum Next Generation Science Standards

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  • Unit 1
  • Unit 1: Discovering Matter

    In Unit 1 Discovering Matter, students use the science of ice cream-making, cooking, and instant ice packs to explore the relationship between energy and matter and how energy is needed to change matter.

    • Students test how the motion of water molecules in a test tube system changes when thermal energy is added to or removed from the system.
    • Students explore conservation of mass, classify chemical reactions, and test how a change in a substance’s concentration affects the temperature change of a reaction.
    • Students use a variety of materials to design a solution that cools liquid samples in test tubes via the conductive heat transfer from a chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda.

    Focus Standards: MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS1-5, MS-PS1-6, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

    Supporting Standards: MS-PS3-4, MS-PS3-5

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Discovering Matter - MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS1-5, MS-PS1-6, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 2: Energy and Earth Materials

    In Unit 2 Energy and Earth Materials, students explore how both volcanoes and fossil fuels hold clues about some of the natural processes that have shaped the planet over time.

    • Students develop models to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials, driven by Earth’s internal energy and energy from the sun.
    • Students carry out an experiment to investigate how the mass of a substance affects the magnitude of its temperature change over time when thermal energy is added to the substance.
    • Students use maps to evaluate the distribution of oil and natural gas reserves in the U.S. and then analyze the physical properties of sedimentary rock samples to determine how oil and natural gas can be stored and contained within Earth.
    • Students analyze the chemical reaction that occurs during the fermentation process of sugar by yeast, and then compare the basic process of converting sugar-based materials to ethanol vs. cellulose-based materials to ethanol.

    Focus Standards: MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS3-1, MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS1-5

    Supporting Standards: MS-PS3-3, MS-PS3-4, MS-PS3-5

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Energy and Earth Materials - MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS3-1, MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS1-5
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 3: Glaciers and Earth's Past

    In Unit 3 Glaciers and Earth’s Past, students investigate how glaciers form and move and explore how scientists use a variety of techniques, such as studying ice core samples and fossils, to analyze past changes on Earth.

    • Students create polymer glaciers to analyze how gravity drives the flow of alpine glaciers downhill and then use ice-cube glaciers to model the cycling of Earth’s materials.
    • Students create glacial ice core stratification models out of clay to investigate how ice cores form and how scientists use them to analyze climate data.
    • Students carry out several investigations to analyze the relationship between fossil distribution and tectonic plate motion.

    Focus Standards: MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3

    Supporting Standards: MS-ESS1-4, MS-ESS3-5, MS-LS4-1, MS-PS2-4, MS-ESS1-1

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Glaciers and Earth's Past - MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 4: Cell Functions

    In Unit 4 Cell Functions, students explore different life forms, including the prokaryotic cells found underneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, bull sharks that live in both salt and fresh water, and worm-like organisms that grow around deep-sea hydrothermal vents, to investigate how living things are made of cells, which have certain requirements for survival.

    • Students use microscopes to investigate the form and structure of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
    • Students develop animal and plant cell models to investigate how the different parts of a cell contribute to how the cell functions as a whole and then analyze single-celled organisms with microscopes.
    • Students explore how bull sharks can survive in both salt and fresh water by testing how the cell membrane helps cells regulate their internal environment through osmosis and how this process can affect a cell’s mass.
    • Students create models that show the flow of matter and energy that occurs in cellular respiration and photosynthesis.

    Focus Standards: MS-LS1-6, MS-LS1-7

    Supporting Standards: MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-2, MS-LS1-4

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Cell Functions - MS-LS1-6, MS-LS1-7
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 5: Cell Division

    In Unit 5 Cell Division, students explore rare blue lobsters, a 5,000-year-old tree in California, and peacock spiders to investigate how living things pass along their genes—and therefore traits—to offspring.

    • Students organize human karyogram models to analyze how structural changes to chromosomes can affect the physical traits of organisms.
    • Students use microscopes to identify and diagram the stages of mitosis in animal cells (hookworm eggs) and plant cells (onion root tips).
    • Students use microscopes to observe prepared slides of paramecium undergoing asexual and sexual reproduction, and then carry out an experiment to analyze the regeneration rate of fragmented planarians.

    Focus Standards: MS-PS1-1

    Supporting Standards: MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-4, MS-LS3-1, MS-LS3-2

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Cell Division - MS-PS1-1
  • Unit 6
  • Unit 6: Rocky Shores

    In Unit 6 Rocky Shores, students explore rocky shore ecosystems to investigate interactions among populations of organisms and how adaptations allow for the survival of different organisms, as well as how the ability of different materials to absorb and retain heat influences where organisms live.

    • Students survey various organisms that can be found in a New England rocky shore ecosystem and then develop a model to evaluate how the organisms rely on each other for survival.
    • Students dissect sea stars to analyze how the internal and external structures of these predatory animals allow them to survive and adapt to rocky shore ecosystems.
    • Students carry out an experiment to investigate the relationship between the substances that make up each intertidal zone level and how those substances change in temperature from day to night.

    Focus Standards: MS-LS1-6, MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, MS-LS2-3, MS-LS2-4

    Supporting Standards: MS-LS1-4, MS-PS2-4, MS-PS3-4, MS-PS3-5

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Rocky Shores - MS-LS1-6, MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, MS-LS2-3, MS-LS2-4
  • Unit 7
  • Unit 7: Environmental Science

    In Unit 7 Environmental Science, students explore interactions among Earth’s systems to investigate how human activities influence Earth processes.

    • Students investigate how sinkholes form with an experiment that tests the permeability of different Earth material (sand, gravel, and soil).
    • Students build an aquifer model to simulate and observe the effects of surface water contamination on aquifer purity.
    • Students use a variety of materials to engineer a water filtration device to treat samples of simulated polluted stormwater runoff.

    Focus Standards: MS-LS2-5, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

    Supporting Standards: MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-4

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Environmental Science - MS-LS2-5, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2, MS-ESS3-4, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4
  • Unit 8
  • Unit 8: Mechanical Engineering

    In Unit 8 Mechanical Engineering, students explore different transportation systems to investigate the relationship between forces and motion and how energy is converted from one form to another in an energy system.

    • Students investigate how bobsleds work by exploring the relationship between the amount of force needed to change an object’s motion and the mass of the object.
    • Students explore race car driving with wind-up vehicles and stopwatches to explore the relationship between the speed of a moving object and its kinetic energy, and the relationship between the mass of a moving object and its kinetic energy.
    • Students explore how hovercraft work by using a variety of materials to engineer a prototype rescue vehicle that moves over land on a cushion of air to reduce friction between the craft and the ground.

    Focus Standards: MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

    Supporting Standards: MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-5

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Mechanical Engineering - MMS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4
  • Unit 9
  • Unit 9: Communication Technology

    In Unit 9 Communication Technology, students explore how information is transmitted in a communication system.

    • Students explore how an Internet outage could occur by modeling a basic communication system to see how the different components (source, encoder, transmitter, receiver, decoder, and storage) function together to transmit information.
    • Students use a variety of materials to engineer and design prototype speakers that produce sound above a specific sound level intensity.

    Focus Standards: MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

    Supporting Standards: MS-PS2-3, MS-PS2-5, MS-PS3-2

    NGSS 7th Grade STEM Curriculum - Communication Technology - MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-ETS1-4

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