The Science of Sustainability

 

The Grade Eight Science Education Collection has been created to help educators find the best QUEST resources for the classroom.  For each of the grade-level California Science Content Standards (listed below), you will find three sections: a list of all of the resources that are referenced for that standard, information about what students should already know about the content standard and what possible misconceptions they might hold, and a suggested sequence for using the various resources.  Each resource has a reference to the applicable substandard(s).

Standard 1, Motion

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball* (video)
QUEST Lab: Newton's Laws of Motion(video)

Additional Resources

The Science of Baseball, Exploratorium (interactive website)

Background

  • Students should be comfortable with the idea that speed is equal to distance divided by time and that forces cause things to move. Also, students should already know that the bigger the force on an object, the bigger the change in motion will be for that object.
  • Teachers should be sensitive to students' confusion between speed and velocity.

Sequence of Use

QUEST has two great resources for this set of standards.  After having some discussion first with students about speed and velocity, students can watch Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball (1a,d,e).  Many students have experience with baseball or a different sport that includes hitting a ball.  Next, QUEST Lab: Newton's Laws of Motion helps to illustrate how different things affect velocity of an object (1e) by helping to show how we can create a nearly frictionless environment in which to study forces in action.

In addition to these QUEST resources, students and teachers may want to investigate the Exploratorium's interactive website, The Science of Baseball (1a,b,d,e).  This resource is a great companion to QUEST's Physics of Baseball resources.

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 2, Forces

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball* (video)
Asteroid Hunters(video)
QUEST Lab: Newton's Laws of Motion(video)

Background

  • Students should already be aware that forces are always affecting objects (e.g. gravity).  Also, students should know that the bigger the force on an object, the bigger the change in motion will be for that object.
  • Teachers should be aware that many forces are not obvious to students and that building upon students' knowledge of gravity is important since they have more familiarity with this force.

Sequence of Use

If students have not already seen Out of the Park: The Physics of Baseball, teachers may want to show this QUEST video for this set of standards.  This resource helps to contextualize the ideas of force and velocity into something that students can easily relate to their lives (2a,b,e,f).  Additionally, teachers may want to present QUEST Lab: Newton's Laws of Motion to further develop students’ conceptions of forces (2c,e). Finally, the QUEST video Asteroid Hunters helps to connect forces to the solar system and celestial bodies and includes a section describing how scientists might one day have to push an asteroid out of a collision path with Earth (2g).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 3, Structure of Matter

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols (video)
The World's Most Powerful Microscope(video)
Goodbye to the Bevatron (video)
Tracking Raindrops(video)
Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility(video)
Homegrown Particle Accelerators(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that combining different materials creates a new type of material with new properties. Also, students should know that all materials are composed of parts that are too small to see with our eyes and that scientists require special tools to magnify these particles.
  • Teachers should be sensitive that many students struggle with understanding atoms and their size.  Additionally, students struggle to understand that materials can have the same molecular composition but can be different states of matter (solid, liquid, gas, etc.).

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start this set of standards by showing students the QUEST video, The World's Most Powerful Microscope. This resource shows how scientists have been able to actually visualize atoms in their laboratories using specialized tools (3b,c). Teachers may want to follow this selection with either Goodbye to the Bevatron or Homegrown Particle Accelerators. These two QUEST videos provide students some insight into how scientists have learned about the insides of atoms and new questions about atoms that have emerged using particle accelerators (3a). The QUEST video Super Laser at the National Ignition Facility illustrates how scientists have begun to experiment on atoms based on what we know about atoms and their components (3a,e,f). Two QUEST videos that also touch upon characteristics of atoms in different areas of study are Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols and Tracking Raindrops.  In Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols, students will learn that different molecules have different colors based on the structures created on a nano-scale (3b,d).  In Tracking Raindrops students will learn about about how scientists can use naturally forming isotopes in the atoms of water to learn more about the world around us (3a).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 4, Earth in the Solar System (Earth Sciences)

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

Searching for Life on Mars (video)
SETI: The New Search for ET (video)
Amateur Astronomers(video)
The Planet Hunters(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that stars can be larger or smaller than our sun, and that stars are VERY far away from Earth. Additionally, students should already know that the Earth is one of several planets that orbit the sun and that our moon orbits the Earth.  Also, students should know that planets seem to move against background stars when viewed from Earth because they are much closer to Earth.
  • Teachers should be aware that both the scale of the solar system and the scale of the galaxy are challenging for students to understand. It is important to provide models and analogies to understand such vast distances.

Sequence of Use

There are fantastic QUEST resources for learning more about the Solar System and our galaxy.  By beginning to teach this set of standards with the QUEST video Amateur Astronomers, students can learn about how people have been learning about our part of the Milky Way from sidewalks near their homes (4.a,c). Next, teachers can show the QUEST video Searching for Life on Mars in order to give students a clear idea of what another planet looks like and how scientists have learned this information (4e). The two videos, SETI: The New Search for ET and The Planet Hunters, each provide students with and understanding of how scientists look beyond our solar system to discover more about the order and structure of our vast galaxy (4a,c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 5, Reactions

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The World's Most Powerful Microscope(video)
QUEST Lab: Properties of Plastic (video)
Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough (video)
Inside an Explosion (video)
Chemistry By Smell (audio)

Background

  • Students should already know that there are many different ways that materials interact with one another.  Also, students should know that all material is made up of atoms and that these atoms differ from each other in specific ways.
  • Teachers should be aware that chemical reactions are often challenging for students as many ideas in this standard are abstract and difficult to visualize. Teachers should provide images, videos and hands-on experiences as often as possible to support student learning.

Sequence of Use

There are many QUEST resources for this set of standards.  Students are generally interested in explosions.  Rather than creating your own explosions in class, the short QUEST video, Inside an Explosion helps provide students with clear examples of the results of different chemical reactions and some of the reasons why certain chemicals are more explosive than others (5a,c).  Teachers may want students to listen to the QUEST audio piece, Chemistry By Smell. This resource highlights blind students in a summer chemistry class and will enlighten aspects of chemistry that we don’t often think about. In QUEST Lab: Properties of Plastic, students can learn about the different properties of various types of plastics based on how the plastics were created (5c,d). Next, teachers may want students to view the QUEST video, Science on the SPOT: Secrets of Sourdough (5e). It helps provide a context for understanding some of the results from changes in pH (in the case of sourdough, becoming acidic). Finally, if students haven’t yet seen the QUEST video, The World's Most Powerful Microscope, watching it now can help visualize how the mixing of two substances results in changes in the material's properties (5a).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 6, Chemistry of Living Systems (Life Sciences)

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Sweet Science of Chocolate(video)
Inside an Explosion (video)
Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol(video)

Background

  • Students should already know that humans get their energy from food.  Also, students should know that most of the food that humans eat can be traced back to plants through the food web.
  • Teachers should emphasize that the atoms found in living things were obtained through food.  Plants get the carbon that they use for photosynthesis from the air.  All of the various atoms that are in living things (iron, phosphorus, nitrogen, etc.) are the same atoms that are found on the Periodic Table of elements AND the same atoms that are found in other, nonliving, materials.

Sequence of Use

To begin teaching this set of standards, teachers may want to show their students Biofuels: Beyond Ethanol. This video includes information about the value of carbon and the way that living organisms create the complex molecules (6a,b,c). Next, teachers may want to show the short QUEST video, Inside an Explosion, which provides information about explosions and why bonds in carbon atoms are such a good energy source (6a,b). Finally, in the QUEST video The Sweet Science of Chocolate students can learn more about the sizes of various types of molecules and the effects of these molecules on the smell, taste and texture of chocolate (6c).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 7, Periodic Table

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Chemistry Behind Forensic Identification(video)
QUEST Lab: Aerogel (video)
Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life (blog)

Background

  • Students should already know that all matter is made up of smaller parts called atoms and that these atoms differ from each other in particular ways, including differing in some of their properties.
  • Teachers should be aware that students may have various ideas about what constitutes a property of a material. Teachers should be clear on the scientific characteristics of what we call properties and have the opportunity to make the connections between the periodicity of the Periodic Table and the properties that we see in different elements.

Sequence of Use

Teachers may want to start this unit with QUEST video The Chemistry Behind Forensic Identification. In this video, we learn about Strontium and its isotopes, as well as how this element can move between the rocks of the Earth into the bones and teeth of people (7b). Another video, QUEST Lab: Aerogel, gives some examples of the types of properties that scientists look at when evaluating the characteristics and benefits of different materials (7c).  Teachers may want to have students read the QUEST Blog, Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life (7c), to illustrate the similarities between different elements based on their characteristics (and as illustrated by the columns and rows of the Periodic Table of Elements).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.

Standard 8, Density and Buoyancy

QUEST Resources

Note: An asterisk (*) next to the resource signifies that there is an associated QUEST Educator Guide.

The Word From Mercury: MESSENGER Has Been Delivered (blog)
Try These At Home 2: Exploring Buoyancy (blog/activity)

Background

  • Students should already know that all substances have different characteristics (hardness, durability, resistance to water, etc.).
  • Teachers should be careful to distinguish things that are dense from things that are simply heavy.  Comparing identical volumes of different substances is key to understanding density (for example, comparing the masses of the same volume of salt water and distilled water helps to illustrate how density of water might change).

Sequence of Use

There are two QUEST blog posts that are excellent resources for this set of standards.  The first, Try These At Home 2: Exploring Buoyancy, includes two activities that illustrate density and buoyancy that students can do at home or in school with household products (8a,b,c,d). The second, The Word From Mercury: MESSENGER Has Been Delivered, illustrates how density can be used as a tool to learn more about things that we cannot see from first look–in this case how Mercury can look so much like our Moon, yet have a density similar to Earth's (8b).

For more information on other aspects of this standard, go to PBS LearningMedia.