Sample Lesson—Bring Science Alive! 8th Grade Integrated

Step into one of the segment 5 units, Unit 9: The Evolution of Life, to see how
a lesson would unfold in Bring Science Alive!

Integrated Phenomenon

Each segment begins with an integrated phenomenon that ties together multiple disciplines. Students create a rough model to explain the phenomenon and continue to revise it after each lesson.

Segment 5 Integrated Phenomenon: Faster cheetahs catch more food than slower cheetahs do.

Segment 5 includes the following units:   

  • Life Science: The Evolution of Life
  • Physical Science: Kinetic and Potential Energy
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Segment Progression

Bring Science Alive! approaches integration by providing distinct units with their own driving phenomenon, then driving students back to a segment phenomenon that integrates the concepts they’ve learned in each unit. See the segment progression for segment 5 as an example to see how TCI helps students learn and understand the integrated phenomenon.

Segment 5 Progression:

Students examine how faster cheetahs are able to catch more food than slower cheetahs.
Students create a model of the phenomenon to explain it and revise their model as they gain more knowledge.
To understand the phenomenon, students explore evolution’s role in life’s unity and diversity. First, they take a look at Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection and observe natural selection in action. Students discover the role genes and mutations have in natural selection and evolutionary relationships (Unit 9: The Evolution of Life)
Next, students find out about forms of energy and investigate the transformations between kinetic and potential energy. Students figure out the relationships between kinetic energy, mass, and speed, and understand the potential energy in systems (Unit 10: Kinetic and Potential Energy). In the Engineering Challenge, students design musical instruments based on the principles of energy conservation, transfer, and transformations. They then analyze what is happening in a Rube Goldberg machine, construct arguments regarding energy transformations, graph the relationship between mass and kinetic energy, investigate the relationship between kinetic energy and speed, and model energy transformations. 
Using what they know about diversity and energy conservation, transformation, and transfer, how will students explain why faster cheetahs catch more food than slower cheetahs?

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Unit Anchoring Phenomenon

Each unit begins with a storyline that allows students to dive deep into a real-world phenomenon. The Anchoring Phenomenon encourages students to make connections with the world around them. Students then further explore the phenomenon during the Performance Assessment.

Using Unit 9: The Evolution of Life mentioned in step 3 of the Segment Progression as an example, we will examine how a TCI is unit and lesson unfold.

Storyline: As evolutionary biologists, students will collect data about the survival, anatomy, and evolutionary history of whales. They will analyze the data to explain why whales have internal organs more similar to those of mammals that live on land. Finally, they will try to determine which organism is the closest living relative to the whale.    

Anchoring Phenomenon: Whales live in water and look like big fish, but they have traits of land-dwelling mammals. 

After student watches the anchoring phenomenon video, students begin a KWL chart in the Unit Checkpoints. They generate questions for inquiry and return to answer questions charts throughout the unit.

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Lesson Phenomenon

Each lesson begins with an investigative phenomenon that is used to pique students’ interest and drive instruction throughout the investigation.

Lesson 24 Phenomenon: Darwin found many kinds of finches with different sized and shaped beaks on the different islands of the Galápagos. 

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to explain the phenomenon.

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Three-Dimensional Lesson Investigations

Hands-on investigations allow students to take on the role of scientists and explore real-world problems. Students work in the Science and Engineering Practices by asking questions and defining problems, constructing explanations and designing solutions, and developing and using models. Students interact with the Crosscutting Concepts including Scale, Proportion, and Quantity, and Systems and System Models. Disciplinary Core Ideas are also embedded within the investigations.

In Lesson 24: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Through Natural Selection, students explore how trait variation relates to survival by acting as birds to find food and competing for resources in different conditions. 

Investigation 1: Modeling Natural Selection
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Reference Text Features

The Reference Text features considerate and engaging text with engineering content built right in. On TCI’s learning online platform, the Reference Text offers Text-to-Audio, Main Idea Viewer, Spanish translation, Student Highlighter Tool, and more. In addition, resources beyond the text are embedded in TCI’s online learning platform. This includes Check for Understanding, digital simulations, and videos that will help students investigate phenomena more meaningfully.

Explore lesson 24’s print and online Reference Text where students learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. 

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NGSS-Designed Assessments

Each lesson includes a TCI assessment that addresses all three dimensions, uses diverse stimuli, and allows students to express understanding in multiple formats. You can use it as a formative or summative assessment to evaluate students’ ability to explain real-world data and phenomena. Want more flexibility with assessments? You can also create your own, or use shared questions from other TCI teachers.

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Throughout the program, students participate in Engineering Challenges where they think like an engineer as they solve real-world problems related to unit anchoring phenomenon. They go through the engineering design process for each challenge.

In Unit 10: Kinetic and Potential Energy, students design musical instruments based on principles of energy conservation, transfer, and transformation. They define the criteria and constraints, and create a rubric to use as a systematic way of evaluating designs. 

Reading Further

Reading Furthers are included in each lesson to enhance literacy and engage students with related topics. Students dive into a high-interest topic and investigate the intricacies of science.

In lesson 24’s Reading Further, students learn about organisms that live in their body. They read about face mites, head lice, and bacterias in body systems. 


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Performance Assessment

Students apply what they have learned in a hands-on Performance Assessment where they are evaluated across the three dimensions.

Unit 9 Performance Assessment: Evolutionary History of Whales 

You are an evolutionary biologist. You will explore real fossil data, the embryological data on whales, the physical structures of whales and other organisms, and genetic data on whales to support an argument about which organism alive today is most like a whale. 

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