6th Grade AALI Science

In 6th Grade AALI Science, we started out the year with a Science of Locations project. Students picked a location and researched a large variety of topics including the geological and biological history, the current ecosystem, potential threats to the organisms, and much more. This is a project that students complete each year in AALI Science. By researching a different location each year, students can show and reflect on their learning over the past year as well as make connections between the locations they learn about. This year our Science of Locations project had an exciting twist as students used Google Tour Creator to make their on virtual reality tours for their locations.

In October, 6th graders started reading Woolly by Ben Mezrich. This book is part of our AALI Science book study program in which we read a nonfiction book connected to our middle school standards each year. Woolly is the story of the work that is being done to recreate the Woolly Mammoth. Our reading and discussion focuses around the driving question, "How can advances in genetics help to slow climate change?"

During the book study, students also work toward a better understanding of cells and genetics through hands-on activities and the use of microscopes to examine different types of cells.

In November, our work has seen students building models of plant and animal cells and representing the organelles that carry out important functions within cells. Students are also still continuing their reading of Woolly and have started to make connections between the genetics work they have been learning about and climate change.

In December, as we continue our reading of Woolly, students are moving on from learning about cell organelles to a focus on genetics. After learning the basics, students began work on a Monster Genetics performance task that required them to use Punnett squares and probability to explore how traits are passed from parents to offspring.

In January, we finished reading Woolly and reviewed the book as a whole with an emphasis on how advances in genetics can help slow climate change. Students completed various review activities working with their classmates on character histories, concept maps, and reflections.

In February, we moved on to talking about properties of matter. We started this unit out with an exploration of atoms, molecules, elements, mixtures, and compounds. Students built models as they gained an understanding of the important vocabulary we will be using moving forward. Then we used this understanding of what matter is made of to start working with density. Students used their own senses as well as measurements and calculations to find and compare densities of various objects.