Students are required to take science throughout their two years at Elm Middle School. Science classes meet every other day, alternating with social studies classes.

Our curriculum is aligned to the rigorous Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which have been adopted as the Illinois Learning Standards in the field.

Because District 401 is committed to offering an articulated curriculum that is consistent across grade levels and content areas, teachers and students from kindergarten through 8th grade use STEMscopes as their science curriculum.

A Video Overview of NGSS

The following video from the Illinois State Board of Education explains the NGSS standards:

More About STEMscopes

As noted above, our teachers use STEMscopes to build their lessons. STEMscopes is a comprehensive science curriculum based on the 5E model of pedagogy:

► Engage
► Explore
► Explain
► Elaborate
► Evaluate 

Our students learn science by doing and experiencing rather than passively observing. The relationship of science to technology, engineering and math — the subjects collectively known as STEM — becomes clear to students through evidence-driven investigations, engineering challenges, content connection videos, claim-evidence-reasoning assessments and more.

In 7th grade, students learn about cells, astronomy, motion, forces and gravity. Our teachers use inquiry-based instruction, giving students the opportunity to learn the scientific method firsthand through labs and hands-on activities. 

In 8th grade, students learn about chemistry in the first semester and weather and climate during the second semester. Our teachers again use inquiry-based instruction, giving students the opportunity to refine their understanding of the scientific method through labs and hands-on activities.

In compliance with federal testing requirements, Illinois administers a science assessment to students enrolled in public school districts in grades 5, 8 and once at the high school level. Elm's 8th graders take this exam, the Illinois Science Assessment, in the spring.