Brief History

The first workshop for Modeling Instruction in Middle School Science occurred in Phoenix in the summer of 2014, making it one of the most recent areas addressed by Modeling Instruction. Because the middle school initiative started as a partnership between AMTA and the Maricopa County Education Service Agency, the original materials were designed to follow the Arizona State Science Standards for grades 6-8.  However, the development team made a conscious effort to also address the Next Generation Science Standards for middle school.

Middle School Storylines

Download a PDF file of the Middle School Storylines.

Our Approach

The approach weaves through a thematic “story” in each grade level, playing up connections between science disciplines using the interaction between matter and energy as a unifying principle.  The following themes run throughout the middle school materials:

  • Matter-describing and classifying its structure
  • Energy-as an agent of change in any system
  • How matter and energy interactions have utility to describe all scientific disciplines

Members of the development team recommend instructors carefully review materials to find a sequence fitting local standards and conditions. While making these decisions, we recommend teachers progress with the students in the following manner:

  • from simple (6th grade) to more complex systems (8th grade), and…
  • from more concrete experiences (6th grade) to increasingly abstract understanding (8th grade)

Sample Materials

The zipped file below contains a sample unit on Water Chemistry originally designed for early middle school grades. It uses simple explorations with water to help students build evidence for the following big ideas:

  • All matter is made of ‘bb’-like particles that are always in motion
  • Both the volume and the mass of matter are measurable quantities
  • These particles may be organized as a solid, a liquid, or a gas, as determined by their temperature, which affects the average speed with which they move
  • Different substances can be characterized by the amount of mass contained in each unit of volume (their density)

Click here to download the Middle School Sample Unit-Water Chemistry

Interested in a Middle School Workshop?

A free one-year membership to AMTA is available for first-time Modeling Workshop attendees.  Workshop attendees who are returning AMTA members can renew their membership for a reduced fee of $50.  Members have access to ALL instructional resources, webinars, distance learning courses, and other membership services!

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