6th grade Science: Earth and Space
Grade 6 students are energetic and curious. They are maturing at a rapid rate and are in a transitional stage characterized by physical, social, and cognitive changes. The sixth-grade classroom environment addresses these changes by providing a balance between elementary and middle school practices. While these changes lead students toward emotional and academic independence, sixth graders continue to need guidance. They also need an environment that both supports and challenges them as they become more responsible learners. Content standards challenge students to discover their world, their planet, and Earth’s place in the universe. Students are provided opportunities to learn important scientific facts and to build conceptual understanding of scientific principles, laws, and theories. Students must understand and communicate scientific concepts in order to be scientifically literate. Inquiry-based instruction allows them to develop critical-thinking skills and problem-solving abilities needed in the field of science. Grade 6 content focuses on the disciplinary core ideas in the Earth and Space Science domain. The first Earth and Space Science core idea, Earth’s Place in the Universe, describes the universe as a whole and addresses its grand scale in both space and time. The second core idea, Earth’s Systems, encompasses the processes that drive Earth’s conditions and its continual change over time. The third core idea, Earth and Human Activity, addresses society’s interactions with the planet. Integrated within the Earth and Space Science content standards are the disciplinary core ideas of the Engineering, Technology, and Applications of Science (ETS) domain, which require students to employ tools and materials to solve problems and to use representations to convey various design solutions.