Mr. Sampsell 4-6 Science

Sixth graders at Parshall Elementary will be using FOSS to learn about the Waves, Gravity and Kinetic Energy, Electromagnetic Force, Chemical Interactions, as well as Variables and Scientific Design.  Each of these units will last between 6 and 11 weeks allowing for in-depth study of the concepts.  Each unit consists of hands-on experiments, non-fiction reading and writing opportunities, and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards.  Below is an overview of the topics we will cover in sixth grade, as well as list of focus questions which will guide our studies.


  1. Make Waves
    1. What is frequency?
    2. What defines a wave?
  2. Wave Energy
    1. What is the relationship between wave properties and wave energy?
    2. How are engineering challenges solved?
    3. What is the best way to insulate a recording studio from outside sounds?
  3. Light Waves
    1. What happens when light waves interact with matter?
    2. What do spectra reveal about light?
    3. What makes objects appear as different colors?
    4. What happens to light waves at the interface between different media?
  4. Communication Waves
    1. What are some design constraints in fiber-optic communications?
    2. How is sound sent through radio waves?
    3. How are images sent through radio waves?


Gravity and Kinetic Energy

  1. Acceleration
    1. What is speed?
    2. What is acceleration?
    3. What is gravity?
  2. Force of Gravity
    1. What is the relationship between mass and weight?
    2. What is gravity like on other planets compared to Earth?
  3. Energy and Collisions
    1. How is potential energy related to kinetic energy?
    2. How does the kinetic energy of an object change when its speed or mass changes?
    3. How do Newton’s laws help us explain marble billiards?
  4. Collision Engineering
    1. Which properties of physics can help us design protection from a collision?
    2. What are the big ideas that explain gravity, acceleration, kinetic energy, and collisions?

Electromagnetic Force

  1. What is Force
    1. What makes things move?
    2. How does friction affect he force needed to move an object?
    3. How do multiple forces affect motion?
  2. The Force of Magnetism
    1. What happens when magnets interact?
    2. How can we detect a magnetic field?
    3. What factors affect the force of attraction between magnets?
  3. Electromagnetism
    1. What is required to complete an electric circuit?
    2. How does an electromagnet work?
    3. What modifications to an electromagnet will affect the strength of its magnetic field?
  4. Energy Transfer
    1. How does an electric motor work?
    2. How can we generate electrical energy?
    3. What are the big ideas about electromagnetic force?

Chemical Interactions


Variables and Design