Grade 7 Science Curriculum

Family friendly version of the grade 7 Science curriculum

Goals

The Grade 7 Life Science standards emphasize a complex understanding of change, cycles, patterns, and relationships in the living world. Students build on basic principles related to these concepts by exploring the cellular organization and the classification of organisms; the dynamic relationships among organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems; and change as a result of the transmission of genetic information from generation to generation. Students build on scientific investigation skills by independently identifying questions and planning investigations. Students evaluate the usefulness and limits of models and support their conclusions using evidence. Mathematics, computational thinking, and experience in the engineering design process gain importance as students advance in their scientific thinking.

Throughout the year, students will demonstrate an understanding of scientific and engineering practices by:

  • Asking questions and defining problems.
  • Planning and carrying out investigations.
  • Interpreting, analyzing, and evaluating data.
  • Constructing and critiquing conclusions and explanations.
  • Developing and using models.
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Honors

Grade 7 Life Science Honors provides students the opportunity to engage in more rigorous and complex content such as exposure to advanced readings, processes, products, and assessments that reflect their understanding of key concepts.

Quarterly Overview of Grade 7 Science

The objectives and outcomes for each unit are common across FCPS and based on the Virginia Standards of Learning. The pacing by quarter and by week provides an example of how the curriculum can be organized throughout the year. Teacher teams may adjust the pacing or order of units to best meet the needs of students.

Units and Details

Interactions and Interdependence in Ecosystems

Students will investigate and understand:

  • Land and water have roles in watershed systems.
    • A watershed is composed of the land that drains into a body of water.
    • Virginia is composed of multiple watershed systems which have specific features.
    • The Chesapeake Bay is an estuary that has many important functions.
    • Natural processes, human activities, and biotic and abiotic factors influence the health of a watershed system.
  • There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life.
    • Photosynthesis is the foundation of virtually all food webs.
    • Photosynthesis and cellular respiration support life processes.
    • Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
    • Matter moves through ecosystems via the carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles.
    • Energy flow is represented by food webs and energy pyramids.
    • Relationships exist among producers, consumers, and decomposers.
  • Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
    • Relationships exist between predators and prey and these relationships are modeled in food webs.
    • Availability and use of resources may lead to competition and cooperation.
    • Symbiotic relationships support the survival of different species.
    • The niche of each organism supports survival.

Cause and Effect Relationships in Ecosystems

Students will investigate and understand:

  • Land and water have roles in watershed systems.
    • Natural processes, human activities, and biotic and abiotic factors influence the health of a watershed system.
  • Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.
    • Matter moves through ecosystems via the carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles.
  • Populations in a biological community interact and are interdependent.
    • Relationships exist between predators and prey and these relationships are modeled in food webs.
    • Availability and use of resources may lead to competition and cooperation.
    • Symbiotic relationships support the survival of different species.
    • The niche of each organism supports survival.
  • Adaptations support an organism’s survival in an ecosystem.
    • Biotic and abiotic factors define land, marine, and freshwater ecosystems.
    • Physical and behavioral characteristics enable organisms to survive within a specific ecosystem.
  • Ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic and change over time.
    • Organisms respond to daily, seasonal, and long-term changes.
    • Changes in the environment may increase or decrease population size.
    • Large-scale changes such as eutrophication, climate changes, and catastrophic disturbances affect ecosystems.
  • Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.
  • Changes in habitat can disturb populations.
  • Disruptions in ecosystems can change species competition.
  • Variations in biotic and abiotic factors can change ecosystems.

Matter and Energy in Living Systems

Students will investigate and understand:

  • All living things are composed of one or more cells that support life processes, as described by the cell theory.
    • The development of the cell theory demonstrates the nature of science.
    • Cell structure and organelles support life processes.
    • Similarities and differences between plant and animal cells determine how they support life processes.
    • Cell division is the mechanism for growth and reproduction.
    • Cellular transport (osmosis and diffusion) is important for life processes.
  • There are levels of structural organization in living things.
    • Patterns of cellular organization support life processes.
    • Unicellular and multicellular organisms have comparative structures. 
    • There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life.
    • Photosynthesis is the foundation of virtually all food webs.
    • Photosynthesis and cellular respiration support life processes.
  • Ecosystems, communities, populations, and organisms are dynamic and change over time.
    • Organisms respond to daily, seasonal, and long-term changes.

Stability and Change in the Hereditary System

Students will investigate and understand:

  • There are levels of structural organization in living things.
    • Similar characteristics determine the classification of organisms.
  • Organisms reproduce and transmit genetic information to new generations.
    • DNA has a role in making proteins that determine organism traits.
    • The role of meiosis is to transfer traits to the next generation.
    • Punnett squares are mathematical models used to predict the probability of traits in offspring.
  • Populations of organisms can change over time.
    • Mutation, adaptation, natural selection, and extinction change populations.
    • The fossil record, genetic information, and anatomical comparisons provide evidence for evolution.
    • Environmental factors and genetic variation influence survivability and diversity of organisms.

Assessments

Student assessments are part of the teaching and learning process.

  • Teachers give assessments to students on an ongoing basis to
    • Check for understanding.
    • Gather information about students' knowledge or skills.
  • Assessments provide information about a child's development of knowledge and skills that can help families and teachers better plan for the next steps in instruction.

For testing questions or additional information about how schools and teachers use test results to support student success, families can contact their children's schools.

In Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), seventh grade tests focus on measuring content knowledge and skill development.

Other Middle School Information