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Meet Middle School Milestones in Science and Social Studies with Study Island

Meet Middle School Milestones in Science and Social Studies with Study Island

Any teacher who has ever had the privilege of teaching in grades 6-8 knows that middle schoolers present a unique challenge. Not only is middle school a time when students begin to find and define themselves on a personal level, it’s also a critical time for strengthening foundational skills first learned in elementary school and preparing for the real-world challenges that lie ahead in high school. Middle school also signals a greater focus being placed on some of the “secondary subjects”—social studies and science. No longer just treated as a few minutes embedded in reading or math lessons a couple of times a week, these subjects are full-blown class periods in a student’s schedule. That’s why it’s so important for the content to be age-appropriate, engaging, and informative.

Edmentum’s K-12 practice and classroom assessment tool for math, ELA, science and social studies, offers content with the depth needed to continuously monitor progress, assess, and engage students as they work towards grade-level proficiency. Take a closer look at three ways Study Island’s middle school science and social studies content is aligned to the needs of your students.

1. Appropriately Complex Visuals

As students get older, they can process more complex and detailed graphics and images. With that in mind, consciously includes imagery in our middle school content that challenges students to build the analytical skills they will need in the future, without being so advanced that they won’t understand them. Graphs, diagrams, illustrations and images are carefully selected to be both engaging and informative and are also screened to ensure they are age appropriate.

Maps and diagrams included in Study Island science content, such as the one shown in the question above, include appropriately sized text and more fine detail than graphics that would be used for elementary-level content.

When constructing items for social studies, Study Island curriculum writers are careful to use images that are not only relevant, but also age appropriate for any potentially sensitive subject matter.

2. Vocabulary Aligned to Grade Level

Middle school is the time in students’ academic development when they hone their ability to think critically and understand more in-depth concepts. One way students build these skills is through vocabulary development. Study Island’s science and social studies content includes subject-specific academic language that not only helps students expand their word knowledge but also understand word relationships and make connections to other ideas and concepts.

Academic vocabulary is always carefully defined so students have the insight they need to apply such terms to answering more difficult questions. Many lessons in Study Island also include printable flashcards students can use to study key terms.

The vocabulary included in this Social Studies item is connecting some basic terms students may already be familiar with to larger concepts around the value of money and personal economic decisions.

3. Real-world application

As learning evolves, connecting what students learn in the classroom to the real-world boosts interest, engagement, and retention. Study Island includes virtual labs and dynamic simulations that model real-world systems, as well as items that support learning in a way that provides students with the tools and skills they need to solve problems.

Study Island science content includes sections on engineering design that connect grade-level appropriate content with the skills needed to define problems, develop solutions, and optimize designs. The example above shows a Study Island science item which closely simulates what a real-life experiment might yield.

Study Island social studies content is crafted to help students apply what they are practicing to what they understand about the real world. In this example, students learn about how citizens in a democracy are capable of interacting with different levels of government through different activities they would recognize from their everyday life.

Interested in learning more about how Study Island’s age-appropriate science and social studies content can engage your middle school students? Check out how Christa McAuliffe Middle School in Palm Beach County, Florida achieved soaring science and civics success with the help of Study Island.

mckenna.wierman@edmentum.com's picture
McKenna Wierman studied Journalism at the University of Mississippi, and has worked with Edmentum since June 2016. She currently serves as a Marketing Associate, and believes that empowered teachers are the key to successful students.

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