Science with Ms. Nilsen


Science with Ms. Nilsen 2017-2018


Leaving chemistry behind, we are delving into a unit on physics which explores Newton's three laws of motion through the design, construction and testing  and solar cars. At then end of the month Cluster F solar car teams will race against each other in hopes of earning a spot in the regional Solar Sprint race in Peterborough, NH where we race the winning teams from other schools. The solar car unit will also include data collection, speed calculations, and creation of scatter plots. In our last project we will continue with force and motion by building and launching rockets to blast us off into summer vacation and high school!  


In science we are well into our chemistry unit which has many hands on experiments that explore the physical and chemical properties of matter. We will also deepen our understanding of kinetic energy changes during changing states of matter and how those changes apply to our daily lives through weather and food. Experiments will reinforce skills in observation, data collection and interpretation, inquiry, and scientific measurements.

Later in the month we will begin our unit on force and motion where we will explore how Newton’s Laws of Motion affect the design of balloon cars and solar car design.


In science we are moving into a life science unit that explores the hidden world of plants. We will look at how the diverse world of plants is important to the lives of people for food, medicine and energy flow on our planet. The unit will begin with a focus on photosynthesis and how the elements, compounds, and molecules rearrange to create oxygen and energy which is another example of the Law of Conservation of Energy. The unit continues with plant anatomy to prepare us for a lab where we will design experiments to determine the germination rate of seeds at different pH levels. We will also explore the benefits and challenges of sexual and asexual reproduction in plants and how those things drive natural selection.  

The quarter will close with a focus on selective breeding and genetic modification. We will look at how both are used in agriculture and medicine including benefits and controversies.

We will kick off the year in science with lab activities that reinforce and deepen skills in metrics and problem solving using the scientific method. We will continue to delve into labs that explore the many forms of energy and the resources that provide energy for our daily lives. Designing, building and testing a solar oven is just one example of the exciting labs we have yet to undertake!

Science Curriculum Overview

This year in 8th grade science we will be delving into all the major divisions of science – Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science (physics and chemistry). Here is the breakdown of our topics for each quarter.

1st  Quarter – Physics/ Earth Science

•Review of scientific method and metric system

•The relationship between heat, density, air pressure and climate patterns

•Forms of energy and energy changes

•Conservation of energy

•Examination and debate of different sources of energy for electricity


2nd Quarter – Life Science

•Plant Anatomy, life/energy cycles and natural selection

•Osmosis and Diffusion

•Photosynthesis and Respiration

•Genetics (Heredity, GMO and Selective Breeding)


3rd  Quarter – Chemistry

•Review of physical and chemical properties of matter

•Differences between atom, element, molecule, compound and mixture

•Review of states of matter and a deeper understanding of kinetic energy changes during changing states of matter

•Chemical reactions

•Acids and Bases


4th Quarter – Physics/Earth Science/Engineering

•Force and Motion

*Gravitational forces

•Newton’s Laws of Motion

•Building and racing model solar cars (KMS participates in the regional Jr. Solar Sprint race)


•Building model rockets from recycled materials to blast out of 8th grade to the high school!!