Middle school teachers who are looking for ways to meet the engineering standards in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will love Mosa Mack Science. Be sure to use Mosa Mack's units in a way that keeps the science content central to solving the problem at hand. This way you can help kids to see science as necessary and useful. When letting kids design their own investigations, start by placing all the materials they might want to use at a central location. It's important to give kids time to puzzle over their problem, look over the materials, and make a plan. Allow your students to share out plans with the class and build on each other's ideas.
Mosa Mack has also added variations to the lessons to include both in-person and remote/distance learning instructions and options. Plus, you can use its designations of the most teacher-led vs. the most student-centered versions of the lesson to determine how you want to approach it. If the timing of the lesson seems daunting, decide which pieces you want to use: You can show the phenomenon-based video or the animation, read one or more articles, do the experiment -- or use them all!Continue reading Show less
Mosa Mack Science features earth, physical, and life science units aimed at middle school classrooms; each unit emphasizes the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. Students start by watching either a live-action video or a cartoon featuring the likable character Mosa Mack, Science Detective, a young woman who solves science problems. Teachers can then organize each unit around a host of provided materials: lesson plans, graphic organizers, quizzes, slideshow presentations, videos, and rubrics.
The videos -- both phenomenon-focused and animated -- introduce a problem, like the Mystery of the Ailing Fern, as well as the high-yield vocabulary necessary to create a solution. The program's Lesson 2: The Make or The Lab is a hands-on investigation where students might find themselves at stations, exploring the different states of matter. Lesson 3: The Engineer closes each unit with a design challenge where students can use the content they've learned so far.
Mosa Mack Science places scientific phenomena first in its units. Like Mystery Science and other NGSS science programs, Mosa Mack engages kids with a scientific puzzle to solve. In the second lesson (The Make or The Lab), teachers have access to plans with leveled differentiation options. Level 1 is simply a teacher demo, while level 4 has students completely design and conduct an investigation themselves, addressing the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices. A few of the inquiry investigations could seem a little bit unnecessary. For example, creating a model to see the effect that trapped heat has on temperature: Most middle school kids will get -- without the investigation -- that this makes it warmer. In Mosa Mack's third lesson (The Engineer), kids solve engaging design challenges. In one scenario, students help a pet store owner who has run out of oxygen pumps; they learn about photosynthesis before engineering a solution using the water plant Elodea. Sample solutions and detailed descriptions of needed materials support teachers throughout.
The unit and lesson plans are well-thought-out, with plenty of teacher resources. Tools provided move beyond the traditional worksheet, including digital drag-and-drop vocabulary maps. Teachers can create tests from question banks dominated by multiple-choice vocabulary questions. They can also add their own questions to the test. In an effort to mirror NGSS assessments, Mosa Mack includes some advanced options such as adding images to questions, checkbox selection, and open-ended responses. Mosa Mack is missing some of the interactive item types offered by tools like Concord Consortium, such as dragging data points to build a graph. However, with all of the resources, engaging videos, differentiation options, supports for ELLs and other needs, and a community in which to share student work, there's a ton of high-quality, thoughtful materials to work with.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Earth and Human Activity
Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.
Support an argument that differences in the apparent brightness of the sun compared to other stars is due to their relative distances from Earth.
Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.
Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
Matter and Its Interactions
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.
Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
Conduct an investigation to determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances.
Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.
Develop a model to describe that light reflecting from objects and entering the eye allows objects to be seen.
Generate and compare multiple solutions that use patterns to transfer information.
Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.