Middle School
MS Curriculum


Middle School science emphasizes hands-on application of the scientific method. Students practice the scientific method of developing hypotheses and devising experiments to test them and learn safe use of scientific laboratory tools, building a base of comfort and competence that will be put to further use as students take on more sophisticated concepts in higher-level courses.
The fifth and sixth grade programs explore physical science, including such topics as elementary physics, earth science, climate, astronomy, water and abiotic cycles. The seventh and eighth grades comprise a two-year life science program that encompasses biotic cycles, ecology, evolutionary biology, human biology and topics in basic chemistry, molecular biology and botany. All Middle School students use Hackley’s 285-acre campus for observing biotic and abiotic factors within the system and participate in ongoing data collection projects.

Science Courses

List of 4 items.

  • Science 5

    Students begin their middle school science coursework in the fifth grade with an introduction to Newton’s Laws of Physics. This knowledge is used to help students solve a series of STEM challenges throughout the year. These challenges will improve student’s investigative skills and proficiency in the engineering design process. The course will then focus on astronomy, beginning with the Earth, Moon, and Sun and progressing outwards to the solar system and wider universe. During this time students will learn about the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States during the 20th century, where they will see the connection between scientific discovery and history. The course concludes with a focus on the inhabitants of Hackley’s natural environment. Utilizing Hackley School’s rich outdoor environment of forests, wetlands, and fields, students will learn to identify and explore the natural history of some of the common members of both our flora and fauna. This course utilizes a variety of hands-on experiments, demonstrations, videos, and readings. 
  • Science 6: The Physical World

    In this course, students will study the general nature of the Earth by examining the forces that shape it both at the surface and below. Beginning with the study of Geology, students will study rocks and mineralogy in depth. Followed by a study into Plate Tectonics, we will explore how dynamic forces deep within the Earth create tectonic activity. Later we will introduce the science of surface processes that shape the Earth and the major role of water. Finally, the course will culminate with the exploration of the properties of water and water as natural resources. In addition, students will learn the nature of scientific inquiry by participating in laboratory inquiries and activities throughout the year.
  • Science 7: Life Science

    Biology is the study of life and living things, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, ecology, and taxonomy. This course emphasizes three key themes in life science: the connection between structure and function, the evolutionary relationships between living things, and the interdependence between organisms and their environment within ecosystems.

    Concepts and content are explored through laboratory work, reading and writing assignments, collaborative research projects, computer applications, and classroom discussions. Hackley’s nature trails also provide an outdoor classroom and laboratory for active, hands-on investigations of local ecology. In the laboratory, students learn to work both cooperatively and autonomously, to use equipment properly and safely, to make observations carefully and thoroughly, and to reason scientifically.
  • Science 8: Human Biological Systems

    Science 8 is designed to build off of the skills acquired in Science 7, continuing with the relationship between structure and function, and relating all systems through homeostasis. The course provides an exploration of biochemical and biological processes within the human body. Students will learn about the different levels of organization, from cells to organ systems, and will explore how these organ systems come together to create a complex yet efficient system. Students will be able to comprehensively relate the information they have learned to real-world concepts and situations, and communicate the scientific knowledge they have mastered into everyday terminology.