Eighth grade physical science begins the year exploring the basic question people have been pondering for centuries: What is the nature of matter? Students learn how to define and describe matter and the changes it goes through, as well as the different states of matter. The learn to classify different arrangements of matter as elements, compounds, and mixtures. The major project of this unit is the creation of a scientific model depicting any of the concepts covered up to this point.
It’s hard to imagine a world where nothing ever moves. Without motion or forces to cause motion, life would very dull. Eighth grade students explore the relationship between force and motion. They learn how to describe the motion of objects, how forces affect motion, how fluids exert force, and the events and discoveries that have occurred as scientists have worked to understand the motion of objects on Earth and in space. During this course of study, students develop a peer-directed project focused on one of Newton’s Law of Motion, free fall, air resistance, velocity of falling objects, or entripetal force.
To close out the eighth grade course of study, students explore the scientific meaning of work and how machines make work easier. They learn that energy allows one to do work and how energy can be converted into different forms. They explore heat and how heating and cooling systems work. The last science project requires the design (blueprint) and construction of a creative compound machine, consisting of at least four of the six simple machines. These original machines, and the work they perform, will be demonstrated to a middle school audience.