Science 6

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Course Description

Sixth grade science focuses on the biology of marine life and the human body. In this life science class students gain experience observing, dissecting, writing and organizing notes, drawing, problem solving, thinking critically, making oral presentations and creating a life-size paper model of their own skeleton and organs.

Our investigation of the human body includes the study of the skeletal, nervous, circulatory, endocrine and digestive systems, as well as the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs on mental and physical health. These studies culminate in Surgery Day, when hospital personnel bring authentic surgical equipment and materials to the classroom to give students hands-on practice with various medical and surgical techniques.

Our study of marine life includes a survey of the major kingdoms of life, with a focus on the natural history, distribution and abundance of dominant marine invertebrate and vertebrate animals. This unit culminates with a week of camping on the southern Oregon coast where students explore the labs at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, the fishing docks at Charleston Harbor, and the rocky seashore and the sandy beach of Cape Arago. Students observe marine habitats and biota first-hand to gain appreciation and experience identifying marine algae, plants, invertebrates, birds and mammals in the field.



Unit Essential Questions Habits Of Mind Content Skills and Processes Assessment Resources Multicultural Dimension Integrated Learning
Diversity of Life

What is life, and what do living things have in common?

How do we categorize living things?

The largest ecosystem is marine.  What are the ocean's major habitats?

What are examples of the ocean's dominate life forms?

How does the ocean affect life on land? 



By the end of the 6th grade, science students should be able to:

Use, interpret, and compare numbers in several equivalent forms such as integers, fractions, decimals, and percents. 

Find the mean, median, and mode of a set of data. 

Convert quantities expressed in one unit of measurement into another unit of measurement

Use computer databases to store and retrieve information. 

Make accurate measurements of length, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices. 

Make safe electrical connections with various plugs, sockets, and terminals.

Read simple tables and graphs produced by others and describe in words what they show. 

Locate information in reference books, back issues of newspapers and magazines, compact disks, and computer databases.

Copy notes and illustrations from the white board into the log book.

Prepare a visual presentation to aid in explaining procedures or ideas. 





All living things are composed of cells, from just one to trillions.

The way in which cells function is similar in all living organisms.

Life forms that have chlorophyl are producers.

Life forms that cannot photosynhesize or chemosynthesize are consumers.

The majority of plants are autotrophs

Plants use the energy from light to make sugars from carbon dioxide and water.

Plants can use the food they make immediately or store it for later use.

Food provides molecules that serve as fuel and building material for all organisms.

Animals are heterotrophs

In classifying organisms, scientists consider details of internal and external structures.

Some kinds of organisms, many of them microscopic, cannot be classified as either plants or animals.

Body structures vary with life functions

Organs and body structures vary from phylum to phylum

Animals obtain energy by eating autotrophs or other heterotrophs

All animals maintain a stable internal environment

All animals share an evolutionary heritage

Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.

The world contains a wide diversity of physical conditions which create a great variety of environments that organisms can grow and survive in.

Most species that have lived on earth are now extinct.

Extinction of species occurs when the environment changes and the individual organisms of that species do not have the traits necessary to survive and reproduce in the changed environment.

Organisms have a great variety of body plans and internal structures that enable them to reproduce and produce or consume food.

People control some characteristics of plants and animals they raise by selective breeding and by preserving varieties of seeds (old and new) to use if growing conditions change.

Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species

Given adequate resources and an absence of disease or predators, populations of organisms in ecosystems increase at rapid rates. Finite resources and other factors limit their growth.

All organisms, both land-based and aquatic, are interconnected by their need for food. This network of interconnections is referred to as a food web.

At times, environmental conditions are such that plants and marine organisms grow faster than decomposers can recycle them back to the environment. Layers of energy-rich organic material have been gradually turned into great coal beds and oil pools by the pressure of the overlying earth. By burning these fossil fuels, people are passing most of the stored energy back into the environment as heat and releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide.

By the end of the 6th grade, science students should be able to:

Define select vocabulary terms, interpret data and diagrams, observe, copy notes and drawings, infer, construct models, measure, classify, predict, pose questions, draw conclusions, compare and contrast, relate cause and effect, make generalizations, make judgements, problem solve, think critically, 

Class discussions
Class and field participation
Project products
Written tests
Oral reports
Self evaluations
Lab book organization, notes and drawings

Animals: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 2000

Microorganisms, Fungi, and Plants: Holt, Rinehart and Winston 2000

Various internet websites, podcasts and references

Various magazine and newspaper articles


Death of a cell



Crude - the story of oil

whole class/course lessons:

Discovery Days experiencial education on and off campus for group introduction and peer bonding

Apple orchard tending: collecting wind fall for composting and for apple juice and apple gallette.

Grape harvest at local vineyard as part of harvest festival experience

Beekeeper lesson on pollination and honey production with campus bee hives

Week-long Cape Arago trip to the Oregon coast for marine biology and art field experiences iin May

Human Biology

What are the organ systems, tissues and cell types in the human body?

Why is the human body shaped the way it is?

How are humans related to other animals?

How is the human body similar to, and different than, other animals?

What are examples of human disease, illness and addiction?

Science is the process of trying to figure out how the world works by making careful observations and trying to make sense of those observations.

The cells in similar tissues and organs in other animals are similar to those in human beings but differ from cells found in plants. 

Like other animals, humans have body systems for obtaining and deriving energy from food and for defense, reproduction, and the coordination of body functions.

Lungs take in oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide produced; he urinary system disposes dissolved waste molecules, the skin and lungs aid in the cooling of the body, and the intestinal tract removes solid wastes and incubates myriad beneficial bacteria essential for good health.

For the body to use food for energy and building materials, the food must be digested into molecules that are absorbed and transported to cells.

Specialized cells and the molecules they produce identify and destroy microbes that get inside the body.

Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites may infect the human body and interfere with normal body functions.

Specific kinds of germs cause specific diseases.

The amount of food energy (calories) a person requires varies with body weight, age, sex, activity level, and natural body efficiency.

Regular exercise is important to maintain a healthy heart/lung system, good muscle tone, and bone strength. 

Alcohol, tobacco and drugs cause changes in the body and therefore upset the body's stable internal environment

Avoiding toxic substances, such as tobacco, and changing dietary habits increase the chance of living longer.

Individuals differ greatly in their ability to cope with stressful situations.

To obtain energy from ingested food, oxygen must be supplied to cells and carbon dioxide removed. 

Interactions among the senses, nerves and brain make possible the awareness and learning that enables humans to predict, analyze and respond to changes in their environment.

The length and quality of human life are influenced by genes and environmental factors, including sanitation, diet, medical care, and personal health behaviors.

Technologies in food production, sanitation and health care have dramatically changed how people live, work and survive, resulting in rapid increases in the human population.

see above

see above

Human Body Systems and Health, Holt, Rinehart and Winston 2000

BSCS curriculum "The science of mental health"

Various internet websites, podcasts and references

Various magazine and newspaper articles


Skeletal system

Digestive system

Nervous system


Each student constructs an anatomically-correct, life-size paper skeleton, with organs, to be displayed in the Middle School Commons during Halloween and the Day of the Dead holidays.