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RULE §112.19Science, Grade 7, Adopted 2017

(a) Introduction.

  (1) Grade 7 science is interdisciplinary in nature; however, much of the content focus is on organisms and the environment. 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 7 include the following.

    (A) Scientific investigation 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. Matter and energy are conserved throughout living systems. Radiant energy from the Sun drives much of the flow of energy throughout living systems due to the process of photosynthesis in organisms described as producers. Most consumers then depend on producers to meet their energy needs. Subsequent grade levels will learn about the differences at the molecular and atomic level.

    (C) Force, motion, and energy. Force, motion, and energy are observed in living systems and the environment in several ways. Interactions between muscular and skeletal systems allow the body to apply forces and transform energy both internally and externally. Force and motion can also describe the direction and growth of seedlings, turgor pressure, and geotropism. Catastrophic events of weather systems such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes can shape and restructure the environment through the force and motion evident in them. Weathering, erosion, and deposition occur in environments due to the forces of gravity, wind, ice, and water.

    (D) Earth and space. Earth and space phenomena can be observed in a variety of settings. Both natural events and human activities can impact Earth systems. There are characteristics of Earth and relationships to objects in our solar system that allow life to exist.

    (E) Organisms and environments.

      (i) Students will understand the relationship between living organisms and their environment. Different environments support different living organisms that are adapted to that region of Earth. Organisms are living systems that maintain a steady state with that environment and whose balance may be disrupted by internal and external stimuli. External stimuli include human activity or the environment. Successful organisms can reestablish a balance through different processes such as a feedback mechanism. Ecological succession can be seen on a broad or small scale.

      (ii) Students learn that all organisms obtain energy, get rid of wastes, grow, and reproduce. During both sexual and asexual reproduction, traits are passed onto the next generation. These traits are contained in genetic material that is found on genes within a chromosome from the parent. Changes in traits sometimes occur in a population over many generations. One of the ways a change can occur is through the process of natural selection. Students extend their understanding of structures in living systems from a previous focus on external structures to an understanding of internal structures and functions within living things.

      (iii) All living organisms are made up of smaller units called cells. All cells use energy, get rid of wastes, and contain genetic material. Students will compare plant and animal cells and understand the internal structures within them that allow them to obtain energy, get rid of wastes, grow, and reproduce in different ways. Cells can organize into tissues, tissues into organs, and organs into organ systems. Students will learn the major functions of human body systems such as the ability of the integumentary system to protect against infection, injury, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation; regulate body temperature; and remove waste.

  (2) Science, as defined by the National Academy of Sciences, 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 the 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 human body systems and plant and animal cells;

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


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