Middle School Science – Curriculum Overview
Time4Learning offers an online, interactive middle school science curriculum that can be used for homeschool, afterschool, and summer skill building. Middle school science is organized into three primary courses: Earth/Space Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Nature of Science is also provided as a supplement for each of the courses. Materials are taught using a combination of animated lessons, instructional videos, worksheets, quizzes, tests and both online and offline projects. All three middle school science courses are correlated to state standards.
This page provides information about:
- Earth/Space Science Course
- Life Science Course
- Physical Science Course
- Nature Of Science Supplement
- Time4Learning program structure
Earth/Space Science – Course Overview
Middle school earth and space science teaches students about Earth’s structure, geologic processes, plate tectonics, oceans and the water cycle, Earth’s atmosphere, weather and climate, our solar system, stars, and galaxies. Students also investigate how the motions of the sun, the moon, and Earth create days, seasons, years, eclipses, phases of the moon, and tides.
Earth/Space Science lessons are organized into 14 chapters that introduce and cover:
- Human Interactions with the Environment – Students learn about the earth’s natural resources and man’s impact on the environment. Materials cover energy resources, renewable & non-renewable resources, the human impact on ecosystems, and ways we can minimize waste.
- Earth’s Structure – Students are introduced to the Earth’s layered structure, the composition of each layer, and how the heat within Earth is transported.
- Earth’s History – Students will investigate how fossils and absolute and relative dating techniques show that Earth has a long and varied history.
- Rocks and Minerals – Students will learn about the properties of minerals, rocks, and how rocks can change form as part of the rock cycle.
- Geologic Processes – Students will examine geologic maps and investigate the geologic processes and events that occur on Earth, including plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, weathering, erosion, and deposition.
- Energy on Planet Earth – Students will be able to describe how sunlight reaches Earth and its effects on the planet.
- Water – Students will explore the water on Earth’s surface, including the water cycle, watersheds, oceans, and ocean currents.
- Earth’s Atmosphere – Students will investigate the properties, structure, and composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Topics include atmospheric convection, air temperature, air pressure, winds, humidity, and precipitation.
- Weather and Climate – Students will explore weather and climate. Topics include air masses and fronts, predicting weather, tornadoes and hurricanes, and distinguishing weather and climate.
- Introduction to Astronomy – Students will explore the field of astronomy, including how astronomers make observations, and measure the large distances between astronomical objects.
- The Solar System – Students will investigate the structure of our solar system and how it formed, use models to better understand its structure, and explore the importance of gravity in our solar system.
- Stars and Galaxies – Students will explore the properties of stars, how they evolve over their existence, and how they are organized into galaxies.
- The Sun, the Moon, and Earth – Students will explore Earth’s magnetic field and interactions between the Sun, the Moon, and Earth, including what creates days, seasons, and years, eclipses, phases of the Moon, and tides.
- Understanding the Universe – Students will investigate how humans explore space, and how scientists believe the universe began.
For a more detailed description of the lessons, visit the middle school Earth Science course overview.
In this chapter of Earth/Space Science, students learn about stars and constellations.
This lesson describes how stars release energy into space through nuclear fusion.
Life Science – Course Overview
Life Science includes materials covering the characteristics of living things, plant and animal cell structures, the characteristics of unicellular and multicellular life, genetics, classification of organisms, the structure and function of human cells tissues organs and organ systems, and the structure and function of plants.
**This course contains sensitive materials pertaining to evolution and reproduction, so it is strongly recommended that parents review the content before registering. (Please also keep in mind that chapters and lessons can be skipped without affecting your child’s progress or grades.)
Life science lessons are organized into 11 chapters that introduce and cover:
- Introduction to Living Things – Students will explore the characteristics of living things, life cycles, stimuli and behavior, and how organisms maintain homeostasis.
- Cells – Students will investigate cell theory, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, cell structures, and basic functions such as photosynthesis, respiration, and homeostasis.
- Unicellular and Multicellular Organisms – Students will compare cells to organisms, and explore the similarities and differences between unicellular and multicellular organisms.
- Ecology – Students will explore topics in ecology, including Earth’s biomes, the importance of biodiversity, ecosystems, biotic and abiotic factors, habitats and niches, and how organisms interact.
- Population Ecology – Students will explore topics in population biology, including limiting factors, carrying capacity, population interactions, producers, consumers, decomposers, energy flow, and succession.
- Genetics – Students will investigate how organisms pass on their genes. Topics include reproduction, mitosis and meiosis, genotypes and phenotypes, Punnett squares, genetic disorders, and selective breeding.
- Evolution – Students will explore the theory of evolution. Topics include the diversity of life, mutation, variation, adaptation, natural selection, evidence for evolution, tree diagrams, and extinction.
- Classification – Students will explore how organisms can be classified. Topics include domains and kingdoms and dichotomous keys.
- Organs and Organ Systems – Students will explore the levels of organization within living things with special focus on human body systems.
- Human Health – Students will explore what factors impact human health, and how to stay healthy.
- Plants – Students will explore plant structures, life functions, and how plants reproduce.
For a more detailed description of the lessons, visit the middle school Life Science course overview.
In middle school Life Science, students are introduced to genetics.
In this lesson, students learn about the molecular structure of DNA.
Physical Science – Course Overview
Physical Science includes materials covering chemistry and physics, including physical and chemical changes, atoms and elements, mixtures and solutions, the periodic table, states of matter, motion, gravity, density and buoyancy, energy, heat, the properties of waves, and light.
Physical Science lessons are organized into 14 chapters that introduce and cover:
- Physical and Chemical Changes – Students will distinguish matter from nonmatter, distinguish between physical and chemical properties, and distinguish between physical and chemical changes.
- Atoms, Elements, and Compounds – Students will investigate atoms, elements, and compounds. Additional topics include isotopes, ions, molecules, and ionic and covalent bonding.
- Mixtures and Solutions – Students will explore mixtures, solutions, and their properties.
- The Periodic Table – Students will explore how elements are arranged on the periodic table of the elements.
- Chemical Formulas and Reactions – Students will investigate chemical formulas and chemical reactions. Topics include reaction rates, conservation of matter, balancing equations, and endothermic and exothermic reactions.
- States of Matter – Students will investigate the properties of solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas, and how matter can change from one state to another.
- Motion – Students will explore motion by investigating how speed, velocity, and acceleration can describe how an object moves.
- Force – Students will investigate how forces affect the motion of objects. Topics include Newton’s laws of motion and momentum.
- Gravity and Weight – Students will explore the relationship between weight and mass, and how gravity affects objects with mass, as well as how gravity creates air and water pressure.
- Density and Buoyancy – Students will explore volume, density, and buoyancy.
- Energy – Students will investigate different forms of energy, how energy can change forms, conservation of energy, work, power, simple machines, mechanical advantage, and efficiency.
- Heat – Students will explore heat and temperature, how heat flows from warm to cool objects, and heat transfer by conduction, convection, and radiation.
- Waves – Students will investigate the properties of waves. Topics include the characteristics used to describe waves, types of waves, how waves are transmitted, how waves carry energy, and sound and light waves.
- Light – Students will explore the electromagnetic spectrum as well as investigate how light can interact with matter by being transmitted, absorbed, scattered, reflected, or refracted.
For a more detailed description of the lessons, visit the middle school Physical Science course overview.
In middle school Physical Science, students are introduced to the periodic table of elements.
In this lesson, students learn how the regions of the periodic table are organized.
Nature of Science – Supplement Overview
The Science of Nature materials are supplemental, recommended for use alongside the Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth/Space Science courses. It will be included when parents register for any middle school science course. Nature of science teaches students how to safely and correctly use scientific equipment, take measurements, conduct experiments and investigations, collect and analyze data, draw conclusions, evaluate evidence, and present their work to others.
Lessons are organized into 3 chapters that introduce and cover:
- Experimentation – Students will explore how a scientific experiment is conducted. Topics include lab safety, hypotheses and theories, scientific tools and measurements, designing experiments, and conducting experiments.
- Data Analysis – Students will investigate how to use simple statistical tools to analyze data, describe the accuracy and precision of measurements, and represent data using graphs, charts, and scientific models.
- Drawing Conclusions – Students will discover how to research the work of previous scientists, evaluate evidence, draw conclusions from evidence, and present their results to others.
For a more detailed description of the lessons, visit the middle school Nature of Science course overview.
In middle school Nature of Science, students learn about experimental trials.
In this lesson, students learn the difference between valid and invalid theories.
The Time4Learning Program Structure
Time4Learning has been refined through years of feedback from educators, parents, and students. Subjects are organized into chapters composed of interactive lessons, printable worksheets, quizzes and tests. Students are guided through the activities at their own pace by an automated system.
When students log in, they choose a subject, select a chapter, pick a lesson and complete the activities. A bright green arrow tells them where they left off, and completed work is clearly labeled with a check-mark or a gold star. Visual and auditory prompts guide students through the lessons, making it easy for even young learners to follow, and an online playground (controlled by parents) rewards and motivates them to finish their lessons.
Parents get access to printable lesson plans, teaching tools, detailed reporting and parental support through our online Parent Forum.
Does your child have different achievement levels for math and language arts? No problem! Time4Learning lets you set each individual subject at the appropriate graded level, making this program great for special needs and gifted students.