The California Department of Education has adopted the  Next Generation Science Standards ( NGSS) for its basic Science curriculum.    TUSD has selected NGSS's  integrated course model for grades 6-8 which uses a three dimensional approach to learning.  

The NGSS Three Dimensional Model incorporates the following:

1. Disciplinary Core Subjects  

  • Earth Science
  • Life Science
  • Physical Science

Instead of staying on one subject (such as Life Science), this model weaves the three science disciplines together within each grade year.   As students advance through the grade levels there is a continuity and natural progression of information being learned. 

2. Science and Engineering Practices

  • Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

3. Crosscutting Concepts
Crosscutting Concepts basically means that students will learn that many concepts listed below are connected through various disciples.  For example: students will learn how Energy and Matter have a connection in both Life Science and Physical Sciences. Here is a list of concepts that are investigated and connected within subject matter..

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter
  • Structure and Function
  • Stability and Change


Learning by Doing

To fully immerse and engage students in the learning process, all classes frequently use hands-on experiments and activities to learn subject concepts.   Some activities students might be doing are:

  • creating solar ovens and ice cream labs -  to understand thermodynamics and heat transfers
  • rock candy creation - to study crystallization
  • soda bottle rocket -  to learn about propulsion and dynamic effect of  forces, students build rockets out of a soda bottle and launch them sky high
  • egg drop experiment - to study Newton's laws of inertia, force and motion by creating devices to protect eggs that are then dropped from a high place
  • Electro Magnetic Creations - students get creative putting together generators, motors and/or games using electromagnetic power


Subject matter covered by Grade Level (a general list).

Grade 6  

Earth’s Systems and Earth and Human Activity
     Water Cycle, Weather, Climate
     Global Climate Change Causes
Life Science
  Cells & Body Systems
  Heredity: Inheritance and variation of traits
Physical Science
Kinetic Energy andCollisions
Heat and Heat Flow

Grade 7 
Earth’s Systems and Earth and Human Activity
   Rock Cycle, Plate Tectonics
   Resources Availability
   Natural Hazards
Life Science
Photosynthesis andRespiration
  Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Physical Science
  Atoms, Molecules, States of Matter
  Chemical Reactions

Grade 8  

Earth’s Place in the Universe and Earth and Human Activity 
   Universe, Stars, Solar System
   History of Planet Earth
   Resource Consumption
Life Science
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits - Mutations
  Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Physical Science
  Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
  Kinetic Energy and Collisions
  Potential Energies & Gravity
  Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer



Stemscopes:  Stemscopes is an online program that many of our teachers use to support learning instruction.  Students can access it at home by using the Clever link found on the Magruder website.  While the curriculum does not have a traditional textbook there is a reference book called  "Stemscopedia" that is in the classrooms.


Additional Information
NGSS Framework
Calfornia Department of Education (CDE) Science page