Middle School Teachers who are looking for ways to meet the Engineering Standards in 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.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 a cartoon featuring the likable character, Mosa Mack: Science Detective, a young woman who solves science problems. Teachers can organize each unit around a host of provided materials: lesson plans, graphic organizers, quizzes, slideshow presentations, videos, and rubrics.
The videos here are used to 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, or “The Make" 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 utilize the content they've learned so far.Continue reading Show less
Mosa Mack Science's units are engaging because kids actually get to use and apply their science knowledge. Within the second part of each lesson, or “The Make,” 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. Nevertheless, the focus on getting kids to do science is top notch.
The unit and lesson plans are well thought out with plenty of teacher resources. Many student handouts move beyond the traditional worksheet; the Photosynthesis Mind Map, for example, is a graphic organizer that helps kids tie together the vocabulary and the images. Mosa Mack's “The Engineer” design challenges are what help it stand out the most. Kids solve engaging design challenges and become actual science detectives -- they'll really have to use science to solve problems. In one scenario, for example, students help a Pet Store owner who has run out of oxygen pumps -- they'll learn about photosynthesis before engineering a solution using the water plant Elodea. Sample solutions and detailed descriptions of materials needed support teachers throughout. Though many of the units also are labeled with the High School NGSS performance expectations, the content is really geared toward middle school kids.Continue reading Show less
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
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.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
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.
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
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 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
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.