Aligning 8th Grade Science with TEKS

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you teach eighth grade science in Texas, you probably think a lot about how to align your curriculum with TEKS. This lesson offers ideas for how you can do that while ensuring critical thought and scientific work.

Eighth Grade Science and TEKS

Are you an eighth grade science teacher in the state of Texas? If so, you likely spend a great deal of time thinking about aligning your curriculum with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. These rigorous and detailed standards delineate exactly what an eighth grader should learn in order to be ready for high school science.

Though the eighth grade science standards under TEKS are broad and interdisciplinary, they focus most intently on earth and space science, preparing students for future work in geology, biology, chemistry and even physics. As you plan your year, you probably want to devote shorter units to the other science strands and a long unit, or even two separate units, to the study of earth and space. This lesson will give you an overview of what your students need to master in each of the units you plan.

It is important to remember that TEKS delineates process as well as content standards in science. You will be most successful if you embed process teaching into content instruction. This means that regardless of the specific content you are teaching at any given time, you should be helping your students ask and explore scientific questions, synthesize data from a variety of experiments and sources, and draw and present thoughtful scientific conclusions.

Units of Study

Earth and Space

Eighth graders are expected to learn a great deal about Earth and space. Over the course of your unit or units on this area, you will want to teach your students the following:

  • How the Earth rotates and revolves
  • How the lunar cycle works and how the Moon and Sun are related to ocean tides
  • What different components go into the universe, and how these components are classified and related to each other
  • The way that different electromagnetic wavelengths can be used to teach us different information about the universe
  • What different scientific data sources teach us about the origins of the universe
  • How plate tectonics work and how theories of plate tectonics have developed
  • What topographic maps and satellite views can teach us about the state of the earth's surface
  • The importance of the son in providing energy within the atmosphere and oceans
  • What weather maps can show us about global patterns of atmospheric movement and pressure
  • How oceans contribute to the formation of weather systems

Organisms and Environments

A shorter unit of study should be dedicated to organisms and environments, which students studied in great detail as seventh graders. In this unit, you should cover the following:

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