Palm Springs Unified School District

Palm Springs Unified School District

Focus on Physical Science

8th Grade Science Course Guide

2011 – 2012



Table of Contents

Preface - Important Note to Teachers……………………………………………….…....3

Using the Released Test Questions...... 4

Purpose and Use of Pacing Guide………………………………………………….…...... 5

National Educational Technology Standards Grades Pre-K - 12...... 6

California Standards Test (CST) Blueprint…………………………………………..…...8

California Content Standards at a Glance………………………………………….....….12

California Content Standards Unpacked…………………………...…………………….14

Instructional Segments…………………………………………………………….…...... 20

CST Blueprint Color-Coded by Instructional Segments……...... ……...... 26

Benchmark Exams at a Glance………………………….……………………………….30

Vocabulary by Instructional Segments……………….………………………………….31

Vocabulary by Instructional Segments in Spanish…...………………………………….32

Pacing Guide……………………………………………………………………………..33

Please direct any questions or comments to:

Pete A’Hearn Sandi Enochs

K-12 Science Specialist Coordinator, Assessment and Data Analysis

(760) 902-7768 (760) 416-6066




Although a Pacing Guide has been created with a suggested order for teaching the standards, site grade level teams may change the order of the lessons being taught WITHIN an Instructional Segment. The only requirement is that all lessons within each Instructional Segment be completed (and standards mastered) prior to that segment’s Benchmark Exam Closing Date.

The Benchmark Exam Closing Date is the absolute last date by which the Benchmark Exam must be administered and results entered into OARS. These are OARS deadline dates, not just dates by which the exams must be administered to your students. Feel free to administer the Benchmark Exam any time prior to this date.

Throughout this document, Key Standards are highlighted in bold print. They represent the high impact standards and are more heavily tested on the California Standards Test (CST).

A Scope and Sequence of the National Educational Technology Standards, Grades Pre-K - 12, has been added to all Course Guides. It clearly identifies the Technology Standards that should be integrated into all subject areas at the appropriate grade levels.

Benchmark Exams are useful for gathering data and assessing student progress, but do not come often enough to provide ongoing formative assessment. Teachers need to embed continuous ongoing formative assessment into their classroom practice.

The prior knowledge and misconceptions boxes at the beginning of each unit in the pacing guide are useful for designing pre-tests and formative assessments. You should test for prior knowledge, but not assume it is there. Misconceptions need to be directly addressed in instruction. Misconceptions can be very persistent and prevent students from learning science. Formative assessment can tell you if students are holding on to their misconceptions.

The Textbook column of the Pacing Guide refers to our adopted textbook, CPO Focus on Physical Science, by CPO Science. The textbook is not the curriculum. Feel free to supplement the readings, labs, and activities with outside resources that help your students to master the standards.

The far right column (# of Days) on the Pacing Guide has been intentionally left blank. This column is intended to be used by teachers when planning individually or collaboratively. As you work through the DAIT process with your grade level team, you will identify Essential Standards. Please list them at the bottom of the appropriate Instructional Segment Summary page.

A new column, entitled RTQ’s, has been added to the Pacing Guide for the 2010-2011 school year. It references the specific Released Test Question(s) that align to the lesson being taught at that point in time. If you need a copy of the Chemistry STAR Released Test Questions, you may download them from the CDE website:

Please see the following page for some suggestions of how to use the RTQ’s.


Using the Released Test Questions throughout the School Year

It is highly recommended that you use the Released Test Questions as a wrap-up of instruction on a particular standard. Close the lesson with “Now let’s see how the state might test this concept (or standard)”. After the students have answered the question(s) and selected their responses, thoroughly review the question and answer choices with them. Discover how many (and which) students answered the question(s) correctly. Then have a frank and open discussion about the distracters and why each student chose a particular distracter

Ø  Did they totally not understand the concept (standard)?

Ø  Did they not know a particular vocabulary word (academic or content-specific)?

Ø  Did they miss a step in the process of solving the problem?

Ø  Did they not finish solving the problem, because one of the distracters was the answer they received when they were only part-way through solving the problem?

Ø  Did they arrive at a perfectly good answer, but it was not the answer to the problem?

Try and discover all errors and misconceptions now, so that they can be corrected immediately and not continue throughout the school year.

Please keep in mind that most standards encompass several (if not many) concepts, as evidenced by the Unpacked Standards in your Course Guide. These Released Test Questions may only assess some of these concepts. That does not mean that these are the only aspects of the standard that will be tested on the CST. These are the questions that CDE chose to release at this point in time. This is not necessarily an indication of which concepts to stress or an indication of which part of the standard will be tested. You may need to generate or find additional questions to assess the other portions of the standard.

These questions (and the students’ responses to the questions) should be a focus of your PLC collaborative discussions. They will generate a wealth of information to be shared by the team. Here are some facts quoted from Robert Marzano’s book Classroom Assessment and Grading that Work (pp.5 – 6):

Ø  When students receive feedback on a classroom assessment that simply tells them whether their answers are correct or incorrect, learning is negatively influenced.

Ø  When students are provided with the correct answer, learning is influenced in a positive direction. This practice is associated with a gain of 8.5 percentile points in student achievement.

Ø  Providing students with explanations as to why their responses are correct or incorrect is associated with a gain of 20 percentile points in student achievement.

Ø  Asking students to continue responding to an assessment until they correctly answer the items is associated with a gain of 20 percentile points.

Ø  Displaying assessment results graphically can go a long way to helping students take control of their own learning. However, this practice can also help teachers more accurately judge students’ levels of understanding and skill. It is associated with a gain of 26 percentile points in student achievement.

Ø  Teachers within a school or a district should have rigorous and uniform ways of interpreting the results of classroom assessments. If the interpretation of assessment results is done by a set of rules, student achievement is enhanced by 32 percentile points.


Purpose and Use of this Pacing Guide

  1. PSUSD teachers created and revised the original 8th Grade Science Pacing Guide and the Benchmark assessments that were aligned to that document. This pacing guide is a work in progress and will be revised, along with the Benchmark assessments, each year.
  2. Emphasis for 2010-2011:
  3. Teachers will work in grade level teams through the DAIT process to identify Essential Standards.
  4. Benchmark windows have been replaced by an OARS Due Date. This is the date that benchmark data is due in OARS. Teachers may give the benchmark earlier, if they choose. Note that the OARS Due Date is the last possible day for data to be entered into OARS and that teachers may want to administer the benchmark several days prior to ensure timeliness.
  5. Benchmark assessment data will provide teachers with information to improve and drive instruction through team and department collaboration.
  6. Benchmark assessment data may be used to provide information to assist with grading, but should not be the only data used in determining grades.
  7. Course Guide Format:
  8. A scope and sequence of the National Educational Technology Standards has been included to assist with the integration of the appropriate technology standards into 8th grade science lessons.
  9. The actual CST Blueprint from the California Department of Education has been reproduced for this document. It lists all the 8th Grade Science standards and the number of items per standard that are on the CST.
  10. Immediately following this official document is an “At a Glance” version of the standards, which provides a two-page abbreviated summary of the standards.
  11. The next section, CA Content Standards Unpacked, restates the standards, followed by a listing of the individual skills and/or objectives encompassed by each standard. This may be utilized as a checklist, to check off all components of each standard as they are mastered. Teachers may even reproduce this section as a checklist for students to keep in their notebook to keep track of their individual progress.
  12. The Pacing Guide is separated into four Instructional Segments followed by a Benchmark Assessment. An overview of the four Instructional Segments is placed at the beginning of the next section. Each Instructional Segment summary includes the Main Topics and Standards that must be taught prior to the Benchmark Assessment, with a space to record the site-specific Essential Standards.
  13. The next section contains a color-coded version of the CST Blueprint, aligning each standard with the Instructional Segment where it is taught.
  14. This is followed by a Benchmark Exams at a Glance page. This chart lists the CA content standards tested on each Benchmark Exam, along with the number of questions per standard on each assessment.
  15. The CA content standards (with correlated textbook sections) to be mastered before each benchmark exam are clearly shown on the pacing guide. This pacing guide focuses on the textbook lessons needed to teach the 8th Grade Science CA content standards and includes an alignment to the Released Test Questions. The lessons that are outside of this scope have been omitted. Other lessons have been included with a notation stating that they are optional. Feel free to omit these lessons if time is limited.


National Educational Technology Standards Grades Pre-K - 12

Scope and Sequence (H = Help / I = Introduce / D = Develop / IU = Independent Use)
Integration and Projects / PK / K / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12
Create developmentally appropriate multimedia products with support from teachers or student partners / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Use technology resources for problem solving, communication, & illustration of thoughts, ideas & stories / H / H / I / D / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Work responsibly, independently & as part of a group in developing projects / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Use teachercreated rubric for assessment of project / H / I / D / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Use technology for individual & collaborative writing, communication & publishing activities to create knowledge products for audiences inside & outside the classroom. / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Determine when technology is useful & select the appropriate tools & technology resources to address a variety of tasks & problems / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Use information literacy skills to research & evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness & bias of information sources concerning realworld problems / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU
Save, find & retrieve work in different formats via email, network & online sources for project work / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU
Develop & use studentcreated rubrics for assessment / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU
Take on specific role & manage different group activities & rotation strategies as part of a project / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU
Develop essential & subsidiary questions as part of projects / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU
Properly cite all information sources / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU
Design, develop, publish & present realworld products using technology resources that demonstrate & communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside & outside the classroom / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / D / IU
Select appropriate technology tools for research, information analysis, problemsolving & decisionmaking in content learning as part of projectbased learning / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / D / IU
Compile projects in electronic portfolio / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / D
Scope and Sequence ( H = Help / I = Introduce / D = Develop / IU = Independent Use)
Social & Ethical Use / PK / K / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12
Understand and follow rules & procedures for technology use / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Work cooperatively & collaboratively with others when using technology in the classroom / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Demonstrate positive social & ethical behaviors when using technology / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Practice responsible use of technology systems & software / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Discuss responsible use of technology & information & describe consequences of inappropriate use / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Demonstrate knowledge of current changes in information technologies & the effect those changes have on the workplace & society / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU / IU
Exhibit legal & ethical behaviors when using information & technology & discuss consequences of misuse / H / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU / IU
Understand & follow proper use of copyrighted material & use netiquette when using email / H / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU
Cite resources properly / H / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU / IU
Identify capabilities & limitations of emerging technology resources & assess the potential of these systems & services to address personal, lifelong learning, & workplace needs / H / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU
Access & use primary & secondary sources of information for an activity / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU / IU
Demonstrate & advocate for legal & ethical behaviors among peers, family & community regarding the use of technology & information / H / H / H / I / D / D / D / IU