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Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District

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We believe the main focus of science instruction has shifted from “learning about” to “figuring out.” At the anchor of every science unit, students are exploring puzzling phenomena and observable events in their world that lead them to discover relevant scientific ideas. 

At MMUUSD, students are actively developing their science and engineering practices across units. They are not just constructing understanding of core concepts, they are also developing the habits that all scientists use. These science and engineering practices are lifelong skills that endure inside and beyond school.

  • Investigating puzzling questions about our world through Inquiry
  • Modeling to describe the way things work
  • Communicating ideas supported with evidence
  • Engineering to design solutions to problems

This way of teaching science enables students to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of science beyond memorizing facts, 
  • Connect science ideas to their everyday life and interests
  • Experience engineering as they plan and test their solutions to problems 

Big Science Questions Explored in Grade 6

Geology: Shaping of Earth (Earth & Space Science)

  • How has earth changed over time?
  • Why do the continents move, and what causes earthquakes and volcanoes?
  • How has water and weathering changed the landscape on earth?
  • How do humans depend on Earth’s resources? Why are resources available in certain areas?

Water Cycle & Weather Patterns (Earth & Space Science)

  • How do the properties and movements of water shape Earth’s surface and affect its systems?
  • How do natural hazards affect individuals and societies?
  • What happens to ecosystems when the environment changes?

Space: Patterns in the Solar System (Earth & Space Science)

  • Why do we have different seasons at different times on the globe?
  • What is the difference between a lunar eclipse and a new moon?
  • Why do planets maintain an orbit around the sun?
  • What is the scale of our solar system?
  • What role does gravity play on objects in our solar system?

Force & Motion: Laws of Motion (Physical Science)

  • How do the Laws of Motion help explain the relationship between force, energy, and interactions?
  • What is electromagnetism?

Helping your student learn outside of school

  • Look for opportunities that encourage your child to ask questions about their world
  • Help your child make connections between what they are learning in school and everyday life.
  • Point out how your curiosity about science has impacted your life
  • When your child asks a puzzling question, start by responding “What could we do to find out more about...”
  • Share in the excitement when they solve a problem or understand something for the first time.
  • Read more about supporting your child’s inner-scientist here

Questions you can ask your student

  • What do you notice? What do you wonder?
  • How do you think that works? Why do you think that?
  • How is that idea like something else you know about?

Links to Parent Resources

Looking back
These ideas are built upon...

How These Ideas Grow
Across the Grades

Looking Forward 
These ideas are next explored

In Grade 4 students investigated changes in the landscape over time

Geology: Shaping of Earth

In Grade 9 Systems Science students investigate how energy and matter changes within the earth shapes surface features
In Grades 2 & 3 students analyzed the impact of erosion and weather on earth
Water Cycle & Weather Patterns

In Grade 8 students investigate the impact of humans on climate change

In Grade 5 students made observations for patterns in the earth, sun, and moon

Space: Patterns in the Solar System

In Grade 9 Systems Science  students use mathematical models to support or refute explanations of astronomy concepts

In Grade 4 students analyzed the impact of energy on the motion of an object

Force & Motion: Laws of Motion

In Grade 8 students investigate the relationship between energy, motion, and interactions