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.
Students begin the study of science in the Middle School by examining topics with which they can have first-hand experiences, including life on their own planet, interactions with their local environment, and an understanding of the physical and biological world. Opportunities are provided that will engage students' interests and stimulate them to ask questions about their surroundings. Specialized equipment and computer sensors are often used during laboratory work with an emphasis on building laboratory and observational skills. These skills, along with a strong introduction to science concepts, enable students to be prepared for more sophisticated concepts that they will face in higher-level courses.

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 students’ 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 outward 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, and 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 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 water cycle, understanding water as a natural resource and examining our oceans. 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 upon 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 to communicate the scientific knowledge they have mastered into everyday terminology.