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    Middle School Science at Licton Springs

    Science at the Middle School level at Licton Springs is a survey of the three major disciplines of science- Chemistry, Biology, and Physical Science. The beginning of the year consists of helping students be comfortable with not knowing, expressing their ideas, and observation skills. From there, the curriculum rotates through each year so students are exposed to new topics and skills throughout their middle school time. The curriculum is aligned with the NGSS standards as students are constantly pushed towards scientific explanations of phenomena using scientific principles. Phenomena-based instruction allows for students to begin with a central question about a specific scientific phenomena and then peel back the layers so, using constructivist approach, they can work through putting the pieces together to form a complete explanation as to how the phenomena is occurring in the end. This also allows for culturally responsive teaching as students own experiences are tied into instruction.

    During this process, students are coached through scientific discourse as well to encourage equity and the use of academic language. Additionally, one of the main points that is established with students is that it is okay for ideas to shift over time as this is the heart of scientific thinking.

    Given the Native focus of Licton Springs, western science ideas are tied in with Native perspectives as much as possible in order to recognize that scientific thinking can be done in a multitude of different ways. In order to show that connecting and understanding nature is a part of a scientific process, twice a month students are taken to a local park where they sit in their “Sit Spots” and note changes in one spot over the course of the year. This practice gives students an opportunity for independent thinking time and to practice their field observation skills.

    The Science program at Licton Springs is continuously evolving and through partnerships with the Middle School Collaboration team through the school district and the University Washington, new teaching strategies are always being attempted and perfected.