Enroll in Science 8 with Dolphin STEM Academy
Science is the study of the natural world. It relies on investigations and evidence to
describe the natural events that occur around us. Science 8A is an integrated science
course that covers topics selected from Earth science and life science. This course
discusses genes and inheritance, the evolution of species, and managing energy
resources on Earth. In the first unit, you will explain how an organism’s genes transfer
traits from parents to offspring. You’ll also learn about genetic diversity and genetic
mutations. In the second unit, you’ll compare the anatomy and development of species
to give evidence for evolution. You’ll also see how fossils and rock strata on Earth hold
important clues about evolution. In the third unit, you will differentiate between
renewable and nonrenewable energy resources on Earth. You’ll see how energy
transforms as it moves from one sphere of Earth to another. In hands-on activities, you’ll
devise ways to harness and control energy for human benefit.
By the end of this course, you will be able to do the following:
Investigate patterns of inheritance, and identify the causes and effects of genetic mutations.
Explain how some traits increase an individual’s probability of surviving.
Gather and use information to explain how technology has changed the way humans
influence the traits of organisms.
Explain why genetic diversity allows a species to adapt to its environment, and
create an explanation to show the causes and effects of shifting genetic diversity.
Model the geological process that makes fossils from leaves.
Explain how the characteristics of living and extinct organisms can be used to
construct an evolutionary lineage.
Classify organisms based on their shared characteristics.
State why embryos and certain anatomies of different species provide evidence of evolution.
Classify organisms based on their shared characteristics.
Describe the interactions of energy between the four spheres of Earth.
Explain particle motion of matter and the composition of substances.
Use evidence to explain that natural geological processes result in uneven
distribution of Earth’s natural resources.
Design a device that harnesses energy from the Sun.
Use historical evidence of natural hazards to determine the disaster risk for a region.
Engineer a structure to protect the public from a natural hazard.
To participate in this course, you should be able to do the following:
Complete basic operations with word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
Complete basic operations with presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint
or Google Docs presentation.
Perform online research using various search engines and library databases.
Communicate through email and participate in discussion boards.
For a complete list of general skills that are required for participation in online courses,
refer to the Prerequisites section of the Plato Student Orientation document, found at
the beginning of this course.
Science 8A is a 0.5-credit course.
computer with Internet connection and speakers or headphones
Microsoft Word or equivalent
Microsoft PowerPoint or equivalent
equipment listed in Appendix B
Course Pacing Guide
This course description and pacing guide is intended to help you stay on schedule with
your work. Note that your course instructor may modify the schedule to meet the
specific needs of your class.
Unit 1: Genes
This unit discusses the important aspects of genetics. You’ll begin by reviewing the
process of scientific inquiry. Then you’ll explore how genetic characteristics are related
to genes, chromosomes, genotype, and phenotype. You will evaluate your own genetic
characteristics and determine the probability of inheriting certain traits. You’ll learn
about dominant and recessive traits and the difference between homozygous and
heterozygous genes. Next, you’ll explore the types, causes, and effects of genetic
mutations. In a hands-on activity, you’ll research the adaptations of two different
organisms and compare them. Finally, you’ll determine the effects of natural and
artificial selection and see how genetic diversity plays a significant role in helping a
species adapt to its ever-changing environment.
Unit 2: Evolution
This unit focuses on the evolution of different organisms. At the beginning of the unit,
you will use real leaves and sticks to model fossil formation to learn more about how
they are formed. Then you’ll be introduced to evolution and how to classify organisms
based on their characteristics. You’ll compare the embryonic development and anatomy
of different species and explain how anatomical similarities give evidence of evolution.
Finally, you’ll apply your knowledge of fossils to understand how rock strata in Earth’s
crust hold clues about how life-forms have changed and evolved over time.
Unit 3: Energy and the Earth
The focus of this unit is understanding and managing energy on Earth. You’ll begin by
modeling the energy flow among Earth’s four spheres. You will apply these ideas in a
hands-on activity as you build a model of a watershed. Next, you’ll explore matter at the
atomic level and analyze how substances, such as water, go through three states of
matter: solid, liquid, and gas. You’ll create a model of Earth’s oceans and engineer a
structure to control the energy of a tsunami. You’ll also investigate other methods that
scientists use to protect and warn the public about natural hazards. Finally, you’ll
examine the processes that change the distribution of Earth’s natural resources and
build a device that depends on one of our most common natural resources—the Sun.
Appendix A: Safety Notes and Disclaimer
Each Course Activity and Unit Activity that includes a lab/experiment component will
highlight key safety guidelines using the safety icon (), which appears directly in the
activity. In addition to adhering to those guidelines, you must ensure that you follow
these general safety practices:
Work slowly and safely at all times, and abide by the safety notes and icons.
Pay attention and be alert at all times. Limit any distractions.
Keep your hands away from your nose, eyes, mouth, and skin. Wash your hands
before and after experiments.
If you don’t understand something, ask a teacher or an adult before proceeding.
Wear the required protective gear.
Adult supervision is required for all activities involving an experiment/lab component.
Do not perform experiments that have not been approved. Follow the procedure.
Follow good housekeeping practices. Keep your work area clean.
Abide by all disposal instructions and icons to protect yourself and our planet.
Report any problems or complications to an adult.
Note: Edmentum assumes no liability for personal injury, death, property damage,
equipment damage, or financial loss resulting from the instruction included in this