Syllabus 2004-2005 



7th Grade Life Science

Allen Quinton Moulthrop, Teacher

Chief Joseph Middle School










The Seventh Grade Life Science Class explores all areas of life science.  This year's course will draw strongly from three quality programs: the new district science adoption, Life Science, by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2002 edition, The FOSS (Full Option Science System) kit, and the SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding) kits.  All three programs are highly rated and have been shown to be highly successful throughout the nation.  Additionally, supplementary materials, such as science videos, and newspaper or magazine articles, will be presented as lesson enrichments.  In addition, all students will participate in a long-term science project that displays use of the scientific skills learned this year.


Life Science, by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2002 edition, our new text, is divided into five unit topics:  Life's Structure and Function, From Bacteria to Plants, Animal Diversity, Human Body Systems, and Ecology.  The Glencoe program also is a well-balanced mix of textual content learning and hands-on activities.  This is our basic text for the year.  We have one complete classroom set.  Additionally, each individual student has a textbook checked out for the year.   This book should be kept at home.  There is no need to carry it back and forth to school since there is an available classroom set at school.  The entire Glencoe textbook can also be accessed online and is linked to my classroom website (listed at the end of this syllabus).  Most science work from the text will be completed in class with a moderate amount of homework required.


The FOSS (Full Option Science System) "Diversity of Life Kit" covers ten unit topics: What is Life?, Introduction to the Microscope, Microscopic Life, The Cell, Seeds of Life, Transpiration, Plant Reproduction, Snails, Roaches, and Kingdoms of Life.  The FOSS lessons are highly activity and inquiry based.  They are designed to challenge student thinking skills as well as have the student gain knowledge in content areas. 


Two kits, SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding)   (and teacher training) have been provided by an OSPI grant to Battelle/ LASER (Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform) program.  The latest kits are My Body and Me, and Our Genes, Our Selves.


My Body and Me focuses on the body systems that are particularly affected by life-style choices such as nutrition and exercise.   For example, special attention is paid to the cardio-vascular system, and pulmonary system since a healthy lifestyle will have a positive affect.


Our Genes, Our Selves is a hands-on kit that leads students through a basic understanding of genetics , how traits are passed through heredity from parents to offspring.   Students will become familiar with the pioneering work in genetics of Gregor Mendel.  This kit provides ample opportunities for developing skills in math and using scientific methods in designing a scientific investigation.





A “Science Fair” type, long-term Science Project will be completed by every student at Chief Joseph Middle School,.  This project will be introduced by the teacher early in the year and will be completed in time for possible entry in the Mid-Columbia Regional Science Fair during the month of March and display at the Chief Joseph Science Showcase Night.  Every Chief Joseph student will have a project on display.




Seventh Grade Life Science is designed to develop proficient student scientists.  Students will explore topics in life science emphasizing both the science process and content knowledge. This year each student will keep a science notebook where they will record their observations, predictions, explanations, questions and reflections just like any scientist on the job.


In order to teach for higher-order thinking applied to understanding process and subject content, we will be limiting what we teach by focusing on the most important content and structuring  what is taught to reflect the Washington State Goals for Science and the Washington State Essential Learning Requirements. 


Washington State’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs):


1.  The student understands and uses scientific concepts and principles.


2.  The student knows and applies the skills and processes of science and technology.


3.  The student understands the nature and contexts of science and technology.



The Richland School District Board of Directors has approved the science curriculum for this class in alignment with the Washington State Learning Goals and the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements for Science

As your student’s teacher, my promise to parents and students is to strive to make ALL the learning activities and lessons your student experiences in Life Science class consistent with Washington State Goals for Science.   EVERY activity in which your student engages should be purposeful.  Each lesson should be another step toward meeting and exceeding the Washington  State Standards.  I want my students to recognize that they have a clear PURPOSE in their work and that they will be successful and well rewarded for their efforts.






The following lists of materials are available to me as resources to assist your student’s learning.  Not all of the materials listed will be used during the year. All materials selected will be with the purpose in mind of attaining or surpassing the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements as related to science.


The FOSS (Full Option Science System) "Diversity of Life Kit", developed at Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley, published and distributed by Delta Education.  (This kit will be used at the beginning of the year.)


Life Science , by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2002 edition (basic classroom text for the year)


Teachers’ Resources for Life Science, by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill


            - English/ Spanish Guided Reading Audio Program

            - Reinforcement Activities

            - Enrichment Activities

            - Activity Worksheets

- Section Focus Transparencies

            - Teaching Transparencies

            - Laboratory Activities

            - Science Inquiry Labs

            - Critical Thinking/ Problem Solving Activities

- Reading and Writing  Skill Activities

- Mathematics Skill Activities

- Mindjogger Video Quizzes

- Interactive CD-ROM with Presentation Builder

- Vocabulary Puzzlemaker Software



- Bill Nye (The Science Guy) Videos on associated topics

- Occasional public television, i.e., Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, or National Geographic specials as they pertain to taught subjects and Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements for Science.




Grades are based on the following considerations:


Quarterly grades are based on daily class work, science notebook entries, major projects such as reports or longer reading selections, participation (which includes attendance) and quizzes and tests.  Assignments must have a complete heading and be of appropriate quality.  Final copies should be a student’s BEST work.


Semester grades are the mathematical average of the quarter grades for that semester.


As per Richland School District policy, make-up work is accepted only if due to an excused absence.  Missing work is counted as a ZERO.  Even a partial assignment is worth far more than no assignment at all!  Nothing lowers a grade faster than missing assignments.   Additionally, students earn 10 points per day for participation.  Tardiness and lack of attentiveness  to classroom activities will result in a loss of part or all of the 10 daily points.


My Grading Scale is as follows:


A = 94% - 100%         B = 84% - 86%           C = 74% - 77%           D = 60% 66%

A- = 90% - 93%         B- = 80% - 83%          C- = 70% - 73%          F = below 60%

B+ = 87% - 89%         C+ = 77% - 79%         D+ = 67% - 69%








Seventh graders often comment that they have far more homework than in previous grades. However, our former students tell us that there is not as much homework in Seventh Grade as in Eighth Grade.  I have found that students who make the effort to complete their assignments invariably are successful.  Missing assignments, on the other hand, will ruin a student's grade average faster than any other reason. 


IMPORTANT! … Students are responsible for knowing their assignments.  There is no reason for a student to NOT know what is assigned.  As your teacher, I have tried to make keeping up with assignment(s) is as easy as ABC (and D) …see below.


A) To assist students in managing their homework assignments, I give each student a copy of the weekly assignments as a handout at the beginning of each school week.


B) Students are expected to maintain their assignment planner or calendar for all subjects at Chief Joseph Middle School by entering:  (1) Work done in class each day,  (2) Homework assignments.  A Planner is supplied to each student at the beginning of the year.


C) Additionally, ALL assignments are posted at the front of the room on the whiteboard


D) Assignments are also posted WEEKLY on the Team Lightning Website


Again, students are responsible for knowing assignments and are expected to maintain their assignment planner and science notebook daily. 




Unless collected directly by the teacher, all completed assignments are to be handed in by placing them in the appropriate class period's "notebook box" on the side counters.  All student science notebooks are to be handed in on Fridays every week. In most cases, assignments are returned to students during class on the day after they are received.  Longer assignments may take a bit longer.  I usually read 150 to 300 assignments daily.  Even though students will be taught skills needed for self-assessment of their work, I feel it is still important for the teacher to read and comment on all final drafts and daily homework.




Any infraction of the posted laboratory/ classroom safety-rules is considered a serious offense and will be handled as such.


Students are expected to follow the classroom rules and not interfere with the learning of others.  The classroom is a place of learning.  All students have the right to learn without interruption.  Students who choose to disrupt the learning process will be subject to the following steps:


1. Verbal warning

2. Removal from class (call home)

3. Office referral or after school detention  (call home)

4. Office referral or teacher-student conference (call home)

5. Teacher-student-parent-counselor conference


NOTE: Any or all of the following steps may be accelerated in accordance with school policy depending on the severity of the situation (This will be especially true in matters of safety-rules violations).





My planning hour is during the second period of each day from 8:58 to 9:52 a.m.  I am usually available at this time if you need to contact me.  I may be reached by phoning the school (942-2487, ext.216). However, when class is in session, the secretaries will switch you to a voice message mode. I can also be contacted by e-mail at (direct to my desk at school),  and at, or (my home accounts).


NEW!!.....With our school district's  newest version of record keeping  computer software, teachers are able to send  Student Progress Reports to parents by e-mail.  Because of this, I am asking all parents with e-mail to be sure to fill in that information on the Team Lightning Parent/ Student Survey that is sent home with each student at the beginning of the school year. Or, simply e-mail me at   The e-mailing method actually works best since it eliminates possible “errors in translation” from handwritten e-mail addresses.


If you simply need the latest information about upcoming assignments or want to e-mail any Lightning Team teacher, try the Team Lightning Website:


I am looking forward to an exciting and growth-filled year!