Science & Technology/Engineering

Book atom logo

The Science and Technology/Engineering program of the Worcester Public Schools provides students with in-depth exploration of the standards identified in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. High quality professional development and support for classroom and afterschool activities are enhanced through partnerships with area colleges and cultural, environmental, and scientific institutions.

* Massachusetts adopted new Frameworks for Science and Technology/Engineering in January of 2016. WPS will be aligning to the new standards over the next 2 years. Grades PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 6 and High School Physics will begin using the new standards in the 2016-17 school year.

Pre-K Science & Technology/Engineering

Pre-K students focus on experiencing and making observations of the world around them. They are beginning to learn about their own environment as they observe plants and animals, the Moon and the Sun, and the daily weather. They experience their world through their senses and body parts and begin to recognize that animals also use their senses and body parts to meet their basic needs. They investigate pitch and volume, shadow and light, liquids and solids, and how things move. They sort materials by simple observable properties such as texture and color. They share their understanding of these concepts through discussion as they develop their language and quantitative skills. Pre-K students build awareness of the wide variety of natural phenomena and processes in the world around them.

Grade K Science & Technology/Engineering

In kindergarten, students build on early experiences observing the world around them as they continue to make observations that are more quantitative in nature and help them identify why some changes occur. Students begin to learn to use these observations as evidence to support a claim through growing language skills. They learn that all animals and plants need food, water, and air to grow and thrive and that the fundamental difference between plants and animals is a plants ability to make its own food. Students build their quantitative knowledge of temperature in relationship to the weather and its effect on different kinds of materials. They observe that the amount of sunlight shining on a surface causes a temperature change and they design a structure to reduce the warming effects of sunlight. They investigate motions of objects by changing the strength and direction of pushes and pulls. They provide examples of plants and animals that can change their environment through their interactions with it. In kindergarten science students begin to identify reasons for changes in some common phenomena.

Grade 1 Science & Technology/Engineering

In grade 1, students have more fluency with language, number sense, and inquiry skills. This allows them to describe patterns of motion between the Sun, Moon, and stars in relation to the Earth. From this understanding they can identify seasonal patterns from sunrise and sunset data that will allow them to predict future patterns. Building from their experiences in pre-K and kindergarten observing and describing daily weather, they can now examine seasonal data on temperature and rainfall to describe patterns over time. Grade 1 students investigate sound and light through various materials. They describe patterns in how light passes through and sounds differ from different types of materials and use this to design and build a device to send a signal. Students compare the ways different animals and plants use their body parts and senses to do the things they need to do to grow and survive, including typical ways parents keep their young safe so they will survive to adulthood. They notice that though there are differences between plants or animals of the same type, the similarities of behavior and appearance are what allow us to identify them as belonging to a group. Grade 1 students begin to understand the power of patterns to predict future events in the natural and designed world.

Grade 2 Science & Technology/Engineering

As students grow in their ability to speak, read, write, and reason mathematically, they also grow in their ability to grapple with larger systems and the parts that make them up. In grade 2, students start to look beyond the structures of individual plants and animals to looking at the environment in which the plants and animals live as a provider of the food, water, and shelter that the organisms need. They learn that water is found everywhere on Earth and takes different forms and shapes. They map landforms and bodies of water and observe that flowing water and wind shapes these landforms. Grade 2 students use their observation skills gained in earlier grades to classify materials based on similar properties and functions. They gain experience testing different materials to collect and then analyze data for the purpose of determining which materials are the best for a specific function. They construct large objects from smaller pieces and, conversely, learn that when materials are cut into the smallest possible pieces, they still exist as the same material that has weight. These investigations of how parts relate to the whole provide a key basis for understanding systems in later grades.

Grade 3 Science & Technology/Engineering

In grade 3, students develop and sharpen their skills at obtaining, recording and charting, and analyzing data in order to study their environment. They use these practices to study the interactions between humans and earth systems, humans and the environment, and humans and the designed world. They learn that these entities not only interact but influence behaviors, reactions, and traits of organisms. Grade 3 students analyze weather patterns and consider humans’ influence and opportunity to impact weather-related events. In life science they study the interactions between and influence of the environment and human traits and characteristics. They use the engineering design process to identify a problem and design solutions that enhance humans’ interactions with their surroundings and to meet their needs. Students consider the interactions and consequent reactions between objects and forces, including forces that are balanced or not. Students reason and provide evidence to support arguments for the influence of humans on nature and nature on human experience.

Grade 4 Science & Technology/Engineering

Grade 4 Science and Technology/Engineering explores content standards in Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering. Students will plan and carry out investigations and will incorporate mathematical skills of measuring and graphing to communicate their findings. Students will actively engage in many reading and writing lessons as they work to become scientifically literate citizens.

Grade 5 Science & Technology/Engineering

Grade 5 Science and Technology/Engineering explores content standards in Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Engineering. Students will plan and carry out investigations as a class, in small groups, or independently and will incorporate mathematical skills of measuring and graphing to communicate their findings. Students will actively engage in many reading and writing lessons as they work to become scientifically literate citizens.

Grade 6 Science & Technology/Engineering

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.

Grade 7 Science & Technology/Engineering

Grade 7 Science and Technology/Engineering explores content standards in Earth and Space Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering. This course is designed for students to be active participants in their learning as they ask and answer questions, carry out investigations, conduct experiments, and solve engineering design challenges. Students at this level are ready to formalize their understanding of what an experiment requires by controlling variables to ensure a fair test. Their work becomes more quantitative, and they learn the importance of carrying out several measurements to minimize sources of error. At the conclusion of their investigations, students can be expected to prepare reports of their questions, procedures, and conclusions.

Grade 8 Science & Technology/Engineering

Applied Physics: Introduction to Engineering

In this lab-based science/engineering course, students will engage in lab experiences that apply understanding of physical science principles and mathematics to the designing, building, and testing of prototypes. Students will learn about the properties of materials, forces, heat transfer, electricity and magnetism, digital/analog signals, laser and fiber optics, robotics and automation systems. These principles will be applied to understanding of: engineering design; construction technologies; power and energy technologies; communication technologies; manufacturing technologies, and biotechnology.

Biology

In this lab-based science course, students will study the fundamental concepts of life to gain understanding of the living world that surrounds and includes them. Topics will include: chemistry of life, cellular biology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, biodiversity, evolution, and ecology. Students will conduct lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources.

Biology II

In this lab-based science course, students will study selected topics in Biology to develop greater understanding of biological concepts. Students will conduct lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources. Exploration of careers in Life Sciences and new technologies used in research, environmental protection, or health care will be associated with each unit of study. Ethical and legal implications will be addressed as students explore the application of biological knowledge in today’s society.

In an honors level course, content will be covered at an accelerated pace. Students will study topics at a deeper level and will be expected to complete more independent coursework and assignments.

Chemistry

In this lab-based science course, students will study the composition, properties and organization of matter. Topics will include: atomic structure; behaviors of solids, liquids, and gases; chemical formulas, equations and reactions. Students will conduct lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources.

Environmental Science

In this introductory lab-based science course, students will study the mutual relationships between organisms and their environment and will explore topics such as recycling and regeneration, ecosystems, population and growth studies, pollution, and conservation of natural resources. Students will conduct lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources.

Forensics

In this introductory lab-based science course, students will study how biology, chemistry, and physics are used to analyze and interpret evidence. Topics will include: trace evidence, prints, serology, spread of disease, forgery, arson and crimes against wildlife and the environment. Students will conduct authentic and virtual lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources.

Human Anatomy and Physiology

In this lab-based science course, students will study the cells, tissues, organs and organ systems of the human body and may engage in the dissections of vertebrate specimens. Students will learn anatomical terminology and explore various diseases of the human body.

Physics

In this lab-based science course, students will study the basic physical concepts of matter and energy and the laws governing them. Topics will include: forces and laws of nature, equilibrium, motion, momentum, sound and light, and magnetic and electric phenomena. Students will conduct lab investigations, collect and analyze data, and explore content information from a variety of text and media sources.