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RULE §112.18Science, Grade 6, Adopted 2017

(a) Introduction.

  (1) Grade 6 science is interdisciplinary in nature; however, much of the content focus is on physical science. National standards in science are organized as multi-grade blocks such as Grades 5-8 rather than individual grade levels. In order to follow the grade level format used in Texas, the various national standards are found among Grades 6, 7, and 8. Recurring themes are pervasive in sciences, mathematics, and technology. These ideas transcend disciplinary boundaries and include change and constancy, patterns, cycles, systems, models, and scale. The strands for Grade 6 include the following.

    (A) Scientific investigations and reasoning.

      (i) To develop a rich knowledge of science and the natural world, students must become familiar with different modes of scientific inquiry, rules of evidence, ways of formulating questions, ways of proposing explanations, and the diverse ways scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on evidence derived from their work.

      (ii) Scientific investigations are conducted for different reasons. All investigations require a research question, careful observations, data gathering, and analysis of the data to identify the patterns that will explain the findings. Descriptive investigations are used to explore new phenomena such as conducting surveys of organisms or measuring the abiotic components in a given habitat. Descriptive statistics include frequency, range, mean, median, and mode. A hypothesis is not required in a descriptive investigation. On the other hand, when conditions can be controlled in order to focus on a single variable, experimental research design is used to determine causation. Students should experience both types of investigations and understand that different scientific research questions require different research designs.

      (iii) Scientific investigations are used to learn about the natural world. Students should understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and the methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. Models have limitations and based on new discoveries are constantly being modified to more closely reflect the natural world.

    (B) Matter and energy.

      (i) Matter can be classified as elements, compounds, or mixtures. Students have already had experience with mixtures in Grade 5, so Grade 6 will concentrate on developing an understanding of elements and compounds. It is important that students learn the differences between elements and compounds based on observations, description of physical properties, and chemical reactions. Elements are represented by chemical symbols, while compounds are represented by chemical formulas. Subsequent grades will learn about the differences at the molecular and atomic level.

      (ii) Elements are classified as metals, nonmetals, and metalloids based on their physical properties. The elements are divided into three groups on the Periodic Table. Each different substance usually has a different density, so density can be used as an identifying property. Therefore, calculating density aids classification of substances.

      (iii) Energy resources are available on a renewable or nonrenewable basis. Understanding the origins and uses of these resources enables informed decision making. Students should consider the ethical/social issues surrounding Earth's natural energy resources, while looking at the advantages and disadvantages of their long-term uses.

    (C) Force, motion, and energy. Energy occurs in two types, potential and kinetic, and can take several forms. Thermal energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation. It can also be changed from one form to another. Students will investigate the relationship between force and motion using a variety of means, including calculations and measurements.

    (D) Earth and space. The focus of this strand is on introducing Earth's processes. Students should develop an understanding of Earth as part of our solar system. The topics include organization of our solar system, the role of gravity, and space exploration.

    (E) Organisms and environments. Students will gain an understanding of the broadest taxonomic classifications of organisms and how characteristics determine their classification. The other major topics developed in this strand include the interdependence between organisms and their environments and the levels of organization within an ecosystem.

  (2) Science, as defined by the National Academy of Science, is the "use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena, as well as the knowledge generated through this process." This vast body of changing and increasing knowledge is described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models. Students should know that some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not scientifically testable.

  (3) Scientific hypotheses are tentative and testable statements that must be capable of being supported or not supported by observational evidence. Hypotheses of durable explanatory power that have been tested over a wide variety of conditions become theories. Scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Students should know that scientific theories, unlike hypotheses, are well established and highly reliable, but they may still be subject to change as new information and technologies are developed. Students should be able to distinguish between scientific decision-making methods and ethical/social decisions that involve the application of scientific information.

  (4) Statements containing the word "including" reference content that must be mastered, while those containing the phrase "such as" are intended as possible illustrative examples.

(b) Knowledge and skills.

  (1) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts laboratory and field investigations following safety procedures and environmentally appropriate and ethical practices. The student is expected to:

    (A) demonstrate safe practices during laboratory and field investigations as outlined in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards; and

    (B) practice appropriate use and conservation of resources, including disposal, reuse, or recycling of materials.

  (2) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses scientific practices during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:

    (A) plan and implement comparative and descriptive investigations by making observations, asking well defined questions, and using appropriate equipment and technology;

    (B) design and implement experimental investigations by making observations, asking well defined questions, formulating testable hypotheses, and using appropriate equipment and technology;

    (C) collect and record data using the International System of Units (SI) and qualitative means such as labeled drawings, writing, and graphic organizers;

    (D) construct tables and graphs, using repeated trials and means, to organize data and identify patterns; and

    (E) analyze data to formulate reasonable explanations, communicate valid conclusions supported by the data, and predict trends.

  (3) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions and knows the contributions of relevant scientists. The student is expected to:

    (A) analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student;

    (B) use models to represent aspects of the natural world such as a model of Earth's layers;

    (C) identify advantages and limitations of models such as size, scale, properties, and materials; and

    (D) relate the impact of research on scientific thought and society, including the history of science and contributions of scientists as related to the content.

  (4) Scientific investigation and reasoning. The student knows how to use a variety of tools and safety equipment to conduct science inquiry. The student is expected to:

    (A) use appropriate tools, including journals/notebooks, beakers, Petri dishes, meter sticks, graduated cylinders, hot plates, test tubes, balances, microscopes, thermometers, calculators, computers, timing devices, and other necessary equipment to collect, record, and analyze information; and


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