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Middle school science students

Director of Science 

Rocco Cieri


McGlynn MS Science Staff

Our world has never been so complex, and scientific and technological reasoning have never been so necessary to make sense of it all. It is self-evident that science, technology, and engineering (STE) are central to the lives of all citizens when they analyze current events, make informed decisions about healthcare, or decide to support public development of community infrastructure. By the end of grade 12, all students must have an appreciation for the wonder of science, possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues, and be careful consumers of scientific and technological information and products in their everyday lives. Students’ STE experience should encourage and facilitate engagement in STE to prepare them for the reality that most careers require some scientific or technical preparation, and to increase their interest in and consideration of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). All students, regardless of their future education plan and career path, must have an engaging, relevant, rigorous, and coherent STE education to be prepared for citizenship, continuing education, and careers.

Guiding principle

  • An effective science and technology/engineering program develops students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to analyze and explain the world around them.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program addresses students’ prior knowledge and preconceptions.
  • Investigation, experimentation, design, and analytical problem solving are central to an effective science and technology/engineering program.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program provides opportunities for students to collaborate in scientific and technological endeavors and communicate their ideas.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program conveys high academic expectations for all students.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program integrates STE learning with mathematics and disciplinary literacy.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program uses regular assessment to inform student learning, guide instruction, and evaluate student progress.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program engages all students.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program requires coherent districtwide planning and ongoing support for implementation.

DESE Curriculum Frameworks

Access the DESE website for Current Frameworks

DESE Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks

Access the DESE website for Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks

Curriculum Overview

Grade 6 - Overview

The integration of Earth and space, life, and physical sciences with technology/engineering gives grade 6 students relevant and engaging opportunities with natural phenomena and design problems that highlight the relationship of structure and function in the world around them. Students relate structure and function through analyzing the macro- and microscopic world, such as Earth features and processes, the role of cells and anatomy in supporting living organisms, and properties of materials and waves. Students use models and provide evidence to make claims and explanations about structure-function relationships in different STE domains. 

STEMScopes Units

Bundle 1 - Structure, Function and Information Processing
Bundle 2 - Evidence of Common Ancestry
Bundle 4 - The History of the Planet
Bundle 3 - Gravity and Planets
Bundle 5 - Reactions and Heat
Bundle 6 - Waves and their applications in Technologies and Information Transfer
Bundle 7 - Mixtures and Density

Grade 7 Overview

Students in grade 7 focus on systems and cycles using their understanding of structures and functions, connections and relationships in systems, and flow of matter and energy developed in earlier grades. A focus on systems requires students to apply concepts and skills across disciplines, since most natural and designed systems and cycles are complex and interactive. They gain experience with plate tectonics, interactions of humans and Earth processes, organism systems to support and propagate life, ecosystem dynamics, motion and energy systems, and key technological systems used by society. Through grade 7, students begin a process of moving from a more concrete to an abstract perspective, since many of the systems and cycles studied are not directly observable or experienced.

STEMScopes Units

Bundle 6 - Forces at a Distance
Bundle 7 - Potential and Kinetic Energy
Bundle 8 - Energy Transfer in Temperature
Bundle 3 - Earth Systems and Natural Hazards
Bundle 4 - Water Cycle
Bundle 5 - Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Bundle 1 - Growth and Development of Organisms
Bundle 2 - Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Grade 8 Overview

Grade 8 students are encouraged to use reasoning to explain causes of complex phenomena and systems. However, many causes are not immediately or physically visible to students. Therefore, an understanding of cause and effect of key natural phenomena and designed processes allows students to explain patterns and make predictions about future events. In grade 8 these include, for example, causes of seasons and tides; causes of plate tectonics and weather or climate; the role of genetics in reproduction, heredity, and artificial selection; and how atoms and molecules interact to explain the substances that make up the world and how materials change. It is important for grade 8 students to model and to infer from evidence the causes and processes that lead to the above mentioned phenomena.

STEMScopes Units

Bundle 8 - Chemical Reactions
Bundle 1 - Growth and Development of Organisms
Bundle 2 - Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Bundle 3 - Changes in Organisms over Time
Bundle 4 - Earth and the Solar System
Bundle 5 - Earth’s Materials
Bundle 6 - The Role of Water in the Earth's Surface, and Weather and Climate
Bundle 7 - Natural Resources and Earth Systems
Bundle 9 - States of Matter
Bundle 10 - Forces and Motion