Menlo School Faculty & Staff


In this course, students continue to hone the science fundamentals they developed in sixth grade. They deepen their understanding of the physical, biological, and chemical world while drawing on key concepts explored in the prior year. Students use the scientific method to generate hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, gather and analyze data, and form meaningful conclusions. Students strengthen their observation, listening, writing, and speaking skills through a variety of experimental, written, oral, and visual tasks. In addition, this course actively contributes to the seventh grade interdisciplinary goals of developing study skills, improving organization and time management, and practicing mutual respect and tolerance through cooperative learning.

We will begin the year by investigating and exploring the nature of science by planning, implementing, analyzing, and communicating our designed experiments. Students will apply these skills as we move into our first unit in astronomy, where we will focus on understanding how the universe formed and continues to change.  Next, students will zoom into one part of the universe, the Earth, where they will dive into its history, formation, and surface dynamics through weathering and erosion. They will use their observational skills by practicing how to identify rocks and minerals. Also, they’ll learn how fossils form and why it is so rare. Then, students will study how living organisms are classified and they will choose their own organism to take a deep dive that builds through the rest of the year for our overarching project.  Next, students will use this knowledge to look into the debate and science surrounding global climate change and human impacts on natural ecosystems, including on their organism. Lastly, we will investigate neurology and electricity. We will finish the year with a culminating project that integrates the concepts of the year with problem-solving, research, and engineering using their organism that they have been studying.

Students will continually work towards this question: “How well can you use what you know?” There will be an emphasis on open-ended dialogue and students will be expected to go beyond Knowing by Doing. As we explore the various topics of science, we will also continually ask the question: “How does science affect me in my own personal life?” While answering this question, it is my hope students will become aware of the scientific issues of the day and learn how each of us is connected to the world around us.