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North Carolina State Standards - Science Competency Goals, Grade 7

The Middle Grades chapter of North Carolina's Science Standard Course of Study describes Competency Goals, the first two of which apply to all middle-school grades, involving scientific inquiry and technological design, and are described in DITC's Shared Competency Goals page. "Designing technological solutions and pondering benefits and risks should be an integral part of the middle-school science experience." (p. 56)

North Carolina's Science Competency Goals 3-7 (pages 75-78) are unique to grade 7 and include topics related to the Atmosphere (Goal 3) and the Human Body (Goal 4) as a System. DITC's best fit with the NC Competency Goals can be found in Goal 6 as it involves hands-on investigations and study of Motion and Forces, Simple Machines, and Mechanical Advantage.

Competence Goal 6: Forces & Motion - The learner will conduct investigations, use models, simulations ... to build an understanding of motion and forces.

The Learning By Design (LBD) curriculum holds two units that address Goal 6. The first two items relate to understanding how simple machines work and offer mechanical advantage. This is the main topic of the LBD Machines That Help unit. The remaining four items in Goal 6 refer to ideas of forces and motion, which the LBD Vehicles in Motion unit squarely addresses. With that activity, students design a collection of self-propelled model cars that can climb hills and go long distances.

6.01 Demonstrate ways that simple machines can change forces.
Forces can be changed in quantity via machines that can multiply or divide forces. One convincing demonstration that shows this is the Lever Demo. Other machines include Winches and Ramps.
6.02 Analyze simple machines for mechanical advantage and efficiency.
The Mechanical Advantage Review movie shows a lesson from the Machines That Help design task on the Force X Distance formula used to calculate Ideal Mechanical Advantage. Efficiency is the measured MA divided by this ideal MA that can be calculated..
6.03 Evaluate motion in terms of Newton's Laws.
The three Laws of Motion created by Newton are the main subject of LBD's Vehicles In Motion unit. Students first design task is to create a Coaster Car that travels as far and straight as possible, and illustrates both the First Law of Motion, when net force equals zero, and the main culprit that defeats a car's motion, Friction.
6.05 Describe and measure quantities that characterize moving objects regarding Time, Distance, Mass, Force, Velocity, Center of Mass, Acceleration.
Newton's Second Law of Motion is studied in Vehicles In Motion when students investigate and build different propulsion systems for their model cars, including balloon, falling-weight and rubber-band driven cars.
6.06 Investigate and analyze the real-world interactions of balanced and unbalanced forces.
Figuring out when to apply Newton's First Law (balanced or zero net forces) or Second Law of Motion (unbalanced or net force other than zero) is a fundamental concept that can be determined by how the object moves. If a vehicle accelerates or changes direction, the net forces were not zero.

Competence Goal 4: Human Body System

4.01 Analyze how human body systems interact to provide for the needs of the human organism.
Describe how systems within the human body are defined by the functions they perform.
Explain how the structure of an organ is adapted to perform specific functions.
Fundamental to an understanding of "technology" is the study of physical or organizational Systems addresses this goal as well. Linking the study of the human body's systems to other systems that students design (model car, parachute, crane, boat can all be described as systems) can help build a more flexible understanding of both.
4.04 Evaluate how systems in the human body help regulate the internal environment.
4.05 Analyze how an imbalance in homeostatis may result from a disruption in any human system.
Feedback is a vital important of some systems, including the thermostat and heating system in your home. Systems attempt to correct imbalances that inevitably arise in such systems, whether living or non-living.

Competence Goal 3: Atmosphere

3.04 Evaluate how humans impact air quality including financial and economic trade-offs.
Almost all technologies produce by-products as they are manufactured or operated. Cars, factories, power plants, even cows can produce gasses that are harmful in large enough quanitities. Most of these by-products can be collected and processed so that they do not impact air quality, but sometimes at very high costs, especially when very low impacts are sought. Such Tradeoffs can be described and even calculated and related to other decisions involving optimizing that students make when designing.

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