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Course Outlines / Descriptions

Course Descriptions


Elementary School Science – Grade Level Descriptions

LBUSD is now aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are geared toward fanning students’ natural curiosity, setting an important foundation for later science learning.  The California Science Framework breaks each year into instructional segments to provide context for developing these skills.  While adopted instructional materials may divide topics differently, the core ideas addressed will be the same as those found in the instructional segments of the California Science Framework.  These topics provide context for developing students’ skills:

Teachers in LBUSD will use constructivist instruction to coach students in their explorations of exciting areas of science.  We will specifically elicit student predictions, encourage careful observations, and have students share various possible explanations as the basic processes that will occur in this type of learning.  Student questions will drive explorations that take place, and a majority of science time should be spent in hands-on explorations.

Our currently adopted instructional materials, Amplify Science, provides the three-dimensional learning of NGSS: Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCCs). Each unit of Amplify emphasizes one SEP.

  • Investigation units focus on the process of strategically developing investigations and gathering data to answer questions. Students are first asked to consider questions about what happens in the natural world and why, and are then involved in designing and conducting investigations that produce data to help answer those questions.
  • Modeling units provide extra support to students engaging in the practice of modeling. Students use physical models, investigate with computer models, and create their own diagrams to help them visualize what might be happening that cannot be directly seen.
  • Engineering design solves complex problems by applying science principles to the design of functional solutions, and iteratively testing those solutions to determine how well they meet pre-set criteria. These units make the development of such solutions the central focus.
  • Argumentation units (in grades 3-5) provide extra support to students engaging in the practice of arguing from evidence about ideas and the possible meanings of data gathered. As students move up the K–5 grades, they focus on important aspects of argumentation in an intentional sequence.

Kindergarten & Transition Kindergarten

Kindergarten and Transition Kindergarten

Science instruction in K and TK will help students develop and refine their ability to ask questions about natural phenomena that they can directly experience and observe, noticing basic relationships. 

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

Transitional Kindergarten

  • The Noisy Tree
Life Sciences
  • How Engineers Make Buildings
Physical Sciences/Engineering
  • Puddles Almost Everywhere 
Earth & Space Sciences

Kindergarten

  • Needs of Plants and Animals
Life Sciences Investigation focus
  • Pushes and Pulls
Physical Sciences Engineering Design focus
  • Sunlight and Weather
Earth & Space Sciences Modeling focus

First Grade

First Grade

First grade science instruction will help students develop and refine their ability to ask questions about natural phenomena that they can directly experience and observe, recognizing patterns and beginning to ask questions about cause/effect relationships.  

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

  • Animal and Plant Defenses
 Life Sciences Modeling focus
  • Light and Sound
Physical Sciences Engineering Design focus
  • Spinning Earth
Earth & Space Sciences Investigation focus

Second Grade

Second Grade

LBUSD is now aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are geared toward fanning students’ natural curiosity, setting an important foundation for later science learning. Second grade science uses California landscapes as the unifying theme.  There are four instructional segments in the California Science Framework to provide context for developing these skills:

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

  • Plant and Animal Relationships
 Life Sciences Investigation focus
  • Properties of Materials
Physical Sciences Engineering Design focus
  • Changing Landforms
Earth & Space Sciences Modeling focus

Third Grade

Third Grade

In this grade level, students are using more sophisticated science and engineering practices.  Students will use quantitative measurement and mathematical thinking as they explore these four instructional segments in the California Science Framework:

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

  • Balancing Forces
 Physical Sciences Modeling focus
  • Inheritance and Traits
Life Sciences Investigation focus
  • Environments and Survival
Life Sciences Engineering Design focus
  • Weather and Climate
Earth & Space Sciences Argumentation focus

Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade

In grade four, students focus on tangible processes to develop abstract concepts. They also begin to explain some processes that are not directly observable.  There are five instructional segments in the California Science Framework to provide context for developing these skills:

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

  • Energy Conversions 
 Physical Sci./Life Sci. Engineering Design focus
  • Vision and Light
Physical Sci./Life Sci. Investigation focus
  • Earth’s Features
Earth & Space Sciences Argumentation focus
  • Waves, Energy, and Information
Physical Sciences Modeling focus

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade

As the culmination of elementary school, students consider phenomena from previous grades through the central theme of energy and matter exchange within systems.  There are four instructional segments in the California Science Framework to provide context for developing these skills:

CA Science Framework - Instructional Segments


Amplify Units

  • Patterns of the Sky
 Earth & Space Sciences Investigation focus
  • Chemistry of Food
Physical Sciences Modeling focus
  • The Earth System
Earth & Space Sciences Engineering Design focus
  • Ecosystem Restoration
Life Sciences Argumentation focus

Middle School Science – Grade Level Descriptions

LBUSD is now aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) which are geared toward fanning students’ natural curiosity, setting an important foundation for further science learning.  The California Science Framework breaks each year into instructional segments to provide context for developing these skills.  While adopted instructional materials divide topics differently, the core ideas addressed will be the same as those found in California’s Instructional Segments.  These topics provide context for developing students’ skills.

Teachers in LBUSD will use constructivist instruction to coach students in their explorations of engaging science phenomena and engineering problems.  We will specifically encourage careful student observations and measurements, have them create mental or physical models to test, and argue the merits of evidence they collect in order to build the best possible explanation or solution.  Student questions will drive explorations that take place, and a majority of science time should be spent in hands-on explorations.


Science 6 Integrated

Guiding Concept: Systems within organisms and between them are adapted to Earth’s climate systems.

These are the Instructional Segments suggested in the CA Science Framework for Integrated Grade 6:

  • Systems and Subsystems in Earth and Life Science

  • Earth System Interactions Cause Weather

  • Causes and Effects of Regional Climates

  • Effects of Global Warming on Living Systems

 

This is the how the content is organized into units in LBUSD based on Amplify Science, the adopted instructional materials:

  1. Microbiome

  2. Metabolism

  3. Metabolism: Engineering Internship

  4. Traits and Reproduction

  5. Thermal Energy

  6. Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate

  7. Weather Patterns

  8. Earth’s Changing Climate

  9. Earth’s Changing Climate: Engineering Internship


Science 7 Integrated – One Semester Course

Guiding Concept: Natural processes and human activities cause energy to flow and matter to cycle through Earth systems

 

These are the Instructional Segments suggested in the CA Science Framework for Integrated Grade 7:

  • Organisms and Nonliving Things Are Made of Atoms

  • Matter Cycles and Energy Flows in Systems of all Scales within the Earth System

  • Natural Processes and Human Activities Shape Earth’s Resources and Ecosystems

  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in a Changing World

 

This is the how the semester of content is organized into units in LBUSD based on Amplify Science, the adopted instructional materials:

  1. Geology on Mars

  2. Chemical Reactions

  3. Plate Motion: Engineering Internship

  4. Populations and Resources

  5. Matter and Energy in Ecosystems


Science 8 Integrated

Guiding Concept: The processes that change Earth systems at different spatial scales today also caused changes in the past.

These are the Instructional Segments suggested in the CA Science Framework for Integrated Grade 8:

  • Objects Move and Collide

  • Noncontact Forces Influence Phenomena

  • Evolution Explains Life’s Unity and Diversity

  • Sustaining Local and Global Biodiversity

 

This is the how the content is organized into units in LBUSD based on Amplify Science, the adopted instructional materials:

  1. Microbiome

  2. Metabolism

  3. Metabolism: Engineering Internship

  4. Traits and Reproduction

  5. Thermal Energy

  6. Ocean, Atmosphere, and Climate

  7. Weather Patterns

  8. Earth’s Changing Climate

  9. Earth’s Changing Climate: Engineering Internship

High School Science - Course Descriptions

LBUSD Core High Science Courses

Biology: The Living Earth

This lab-based NGSS course will explore core biological concepts from a phenomena-based approach. Students will explore various real-world phenomena contextualized into a “storyline” to uncover the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) underlying these and many other natural phenomena.  Aligned to the CA Science Framework’s 3-Course Model, earth and space science concepts are also explored to provide a broader context and deeper understanding of our connected world. Throughout the course, students build an understanding of life and how life changes over time in response to a changing environment. Students will learn and use the practices (Science and Engineering Practices, SEPs) and thinking skills (Crosscutting Concepts, CCCs) used by professional scientists and engineers to answer their questions about phenomena and to design solutions to problems they encounter. Students will engage in inquiry learning in which they will ask questions and define problems about the natural and designed world; they will design and carry out hands-on investigations in which they collect data, analyze trends and patterns in their data, develop models to explain and predict phenomena and communicate the findings from their investigations. 

 

Chemistry in the Earth System

The Chemistry in the Earth System course centers on a range of phenomena on Earth as the context for investigating fundamental principles of chemistry. Aligned to the CA Science Framework’s High School 3-Course Model, this course integrates both Physical Science and Earth and Space Science performance expectations. Students will explore real-world phenomena to uncover the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) underlying these and many other natural phenomena.  Throughout the course, students deepen their understanding of the link between combustion and climate change as the unifying theme. This will include examining connections between matter and energy moving into and out of chemical systems, extending the concept to the movement of energy through Earth’s systems, and ways humans may control these movements. Students will learn and use the practices (Science and Engineering Practices, SEPs) and thinking skills (Crosscutting Concepts, CCCs) used by professional scientists and engineers to answer their questions about phenomena and to design potential solutions to problems they encounter.

 

Physics of the Universe 

The Physics of the Universe course centers on a range of phenomena on Earth and across the universe as contexts for investigating fundamental principles of physics. Aligned to the CA Science Framework’s High School 3-Course Model, this course integrates both Physical Science and Earth and Space Science performance expectations. Students will explore real-world phenomena to uncover the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs) underlying these and many other natural phenomena.  Throughout the course, students deepen their understanding that physical processes govern everything in the universe. This will include learning how physicists interpret processes that shape Earth and space systems using the laws of physics, and how they benefit from applying their models in a range of contexts. Students will learn and use the practices (Science and Engineering Practices, SEPs) and thinking skills (Crosscutting Concepts, CCCs) used by professional scientists and engineers to answer their questions about phenomena and to design potential solutions to problems they encounter.

 

Other High School Offerings

LBUSD offers a variety of other science courses that aim to meet the needs of our students in terms of high school graduation, college preparation, and career readiness. Many of these courses are incorporated into unique courses of study offered by our high schools. Some of these courses have unique themes associated with them such as Medical Biology or Medical Chemistry that relate to the Pathway a student has chosen to participate in. We also offer a variety of Advanced Placement science courses at many of our large comprehensive and small thematic sites. 

Department Info

Department Address
1299 E. 32nd Street
Signal Hill, CA 90755


Department Phone
(562) 997-8000 x.2963