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STC-Middle School™, STC3 Edition: Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer (©2018) 5-Class Unit Kit

(in stock)


Grades 6–8. Unit Driving Question—How do the properties of electricity and waves influence the technology of information transfer? Unit Highlight—Applying what they know about energy transfer, students design and build a solution to maximize or minimize thermal energy transfer. As part of the unit assessment, students research and present information about neurological disorders that affect sensory receptors and the storage or use of information. During this unit, students design and test real-world technologies, excellent contexts for investigating electricity, information transfer, and wave characteristics.

STCMS™: Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer supports students' growth in science and engineering through engagement in these types of investigations and activities. This unit addresses Next Generation Science Standards* (NGSS) performance expectations, disciplinary core ideas, associated science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts for grades 6 through 8. It allows students to develop an understanding of concepts, test ideas, and gain engineering skills through experimentation with electric circuit components and optical fibers.

To structure and scaffold the development of students' knowledge, skills, and cognitive reasoning, this unit includes three primary lesson types: pre-assessment, skills and knowledge building, and assessment. The pre-assessment lesson allows educators to assess students' preconceptions, misconceptions, and skills. Skills and knowledge building lessons provide multiple opportunities for students to grow and learn through formative assessment. The assessment lesson includes both performance and written assessment activities that function together as a summative assessment of students' learning.

The Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer 5-Class Unit Kit comes with a Teacher Edition, teacher access to Carolinascienceonline.com, 16 reusable hardbound Student Guides (item #512823), student eBook access, and the materials needed for a teacher to teach up to 5 classes of 32 students per day.

Next Generation Science Standards*
Performance Expectations

  • MS-PS2-3. Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
  • MS-PS2-5. Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
  • MS-PS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design, construct, and test a device that either minimizes or maximizes thermal energy transfer.
  • MS-PS3-4. Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
  • MS-PS3-5. Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
  • MS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
  • MS-PS4-2. Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
  • MS-PS4-3. Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.
  • MS-LS1-8. Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
  • MS-ETS1-2. Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • MS-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS2.B: Types of interactions
  • PS3.A: Definitions of energy
  • PS3.B: Conservation of energy and energy transfer
  • PS4.A: Wave properties
  • PS4.B: Electromagnetic radiation
  • PS4.C: Information technologies and instrumentation
  • LS1.D: Information processing

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Developing and using models
  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
  • Connections to nature of science: Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and effect
  • Scale, proportion, and quantity
  • Systems and system models
  • Energy and matter
  • Structure and function
  • Stability and change
  • Connections to engineering, technology, and applications of science: Influence of science, engineering, and technology on society and the natural world
  • Connections to nature of science: Science is a human endeavor

Lesson Summaries
Lesson 1: Pre-Assessment

Focus Question: What do you know about electricity, waves, and information transfer? Students observe and investigate electric devices, sources of waves, and simple examples of energy transfer and transformation. They also construct explanations and consider how humans sense light and sound, and the role electricity plays in the body.
Lesson 2: Electricity Basics
Focus Question: What is electricity, and how is it measured?
Students use models to represent electrical systems and construct circuits using different battery arrangements. Students also plan and carry out investigations using ammeters and voltmeters. Students ask questions, generate hypotheses, and make predictions about how batteries and different battery arrangements affect current and voltage in a circuit.
Lesson 3: Resistance in Electric Circuits
Focus Question: How can components in an electric circuit affect current and voltage?
Students ask questions and make predictions about how different resistors affect the voltage and current in a circuit, and they investigate how different properties of wire affect their resistance. They also use models and graphs to describe the mathematical relationship between voltage, current, and resistance (Ohm's Law). Students observe and explain phenomena related to resistance and electrical power and use their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships to generate hypotheses and make predictions about electrical systems.
Lesson 4: Electricity in Motion Focus Question: How do components in an electrical system transform electrical energy into kinetic energy?
Students observe phenomena and use evidence to support claims about the relationship between electricity and magnetism. Students also build an electromagnet and investigate factors that affect its strength. Next, students disassemble a manufactured electric motor and consider how electromagnets can be used to transform electrical energy into kinetic energy. They also build a spinning coil motor and use data as evidence to construct explanations and make claims about the source of the motor’s kinetic energy.
Lesson 5: Transforming and Transferring Electrical Energy
Focus Question: How can energy transfer be maximized or minimized?
Students use energy transfers and transformations to describe energy flowing into, out of, and within systems. Students use light bulbs and metal cans to investigate how system components can affect energy transfer. They also use evidence and scientific reasoning to support claims and apply what they learn about thermal energy transfer to design, build, and test a device that maximizes or minimizes it.
Lesson 6: Modeling Waves
Focus Question: How can we use models to understand wave properties?
Students use models to investigate the properties of transverse and longitudinal waves, including wavelength, frequency, and amplitude.
Lesson 7: Wave Transmission
Focus Question: How can we use waves to encode and transmit information?
Students observe light and sound waves interacting with different types of matter and create models describing absorption, transmission, reflection, and refraction. Students apply their knowledge of electromagnetic waves to construct an explanation about whether light waves always travel in straight lines. Students also apply their understanding of mechanical waves to construct an explanation about how sound waves move through different states of matter.
Lesson 8: Communicating and Storing Information with Waves
Focus Question: How can electricity and waves be used to communicate information from one place to another?
Students listen to a portable radio and use evidence to support claims about the reliability of analog and digital methods for storing and transferring information. Next, students investigate sending light signals along optical fiber and practice encoding and transmitting messages. Students also apply what they have learned to design, build, and test prototypes of technological systems that utilize electricity and waves to communicate information.
Lesson 9: The Electric Body
Focus Question: How does your body use electrical signals to detect and respond to your environment?
Students investigate and model how neurons use electrical signals to transmit information from the sense organs to the brain and from the brain to muscles and organs so that the body can detect and respond to its environment and store information in the form of memories. Students also obtain, evaluate, and communicate information on how the structures of the nervous system support the functions of transmitting and storing information.
Lesson 10: Assessment
Focus Question: What have you learned about electricity, waves, and information transfer?
The unit concludes with a two-part assessment. The first part is a performance assessment in which students apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired to research and report on a medical condition affecting the nervous system. Students will describe how the problem affects job functions of a celebrity and alters the cause-effect relationship between sensory receptors and the use or storage of information. In the second part, students complete a written assessment covering the performance expectations, disciplinary core ideas, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices covered in the unit.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


What’s Included:
  • Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer Teacher Edition
  • 16 Electricity, Waves, and Information Transfer Student Guide
  • 8 Ammeter, DC, Panel, 0–500 mA
  • 4 Battery, Alkaline, Size AA
  • 36 Battery, Industrial, Size D
  • 24 Battery Holder, Plastic, Size D
  • 12 Blade, Fan, Plastic, 4"
  • 16 Bookend, Nonslip Base, Small
  • 2 Bottle, Nalgene®, 250 mL
  • 16 Cable, Fiber Optic, 1 m
  • 12 Capacitor, 1.0 F, 5.5 V
  • 8 Chain, Beaded, 5 ft
  • 10 Chipboard, 8-1/2 x 11"
  • 8 Clamp Lamp, with Reflector
  • 16 Clip, Binder, Medium
  • 8 Compass, Liquid Filled
  • 2 Container, Plastic, Clear, 30 dram
  • 3 Container, Storage, Red, King
  • 16 Copper, Strip
  • 3 Copper (II) Sulfate, 250 g
  • 12 Cup, Plastic, 10 oz
  • 12 Film, Diffraction
  • 10 Filter, Gel, Red, 7.5 x 7.5 cm
  • 8 Flashlights, LED, 72 LM (with AAA batteries)
  • 16 Foamboard, 10 x 12"
  • 1 Generator, Hand-Operated
  • 12 Knife Switch, Single Pole-Double Throw
  • 8 Knife Switch, Single Pole-Single Throw, Screw
  • 20 Lamp, Incandescent, 6.3 V, 0.5 A
  • 1 Laser Pointer, Red
  • 1 Light Pipe, Acrylic, 24" L x 1/2" diam
  • 8 Light Transmission Set
  • 8 Lightbulb, 72 W, Economy, Soft White
  • 20 Lightbulb, Grain of Wheat
  • 16 Lightbulb Holder, Mini
  • 32 Magnet, Flexible, with Hole
  • 8 Mirror, Flexible, 4 x 6"
  • 36 Mirror Support
  • 16 Motor, DC
  • 8 Mount, Fan Motor
  • 15 Nail, 12 D
  • 5 Paper, Blotter, #100, 9-1/2 x 11"
  • 1 Pliers, Cutting
  • 2 Potentiometer, 5 K Ohm
  • 8 Prism, Rectangular, 75 x 50 x 15 mm
  • 8 Radiation Can Set
  • 3 Radio, Portable
  • 1 Radiometer
  • 3 Remote Control, Universal
  • 24 Resistor, 10 Ohm, 1/2 W
  • 12 Resistor, 12 Ohm, 1/2 W
  • 12 Resistor, 15 Ohm, 1/2 W
  • 12 Resistor, 18 Ohm, 1/2 W
  • 60 Rubber Band, #16
  • 16 Ruler, Reaction Time
  • 4 Sandpaper
  • 1 Screwdriver, Precision, Set
  • 8 Slinky®, Giant
  • 2 Solar Cells, 1.0 V, with Leads
  • 16 Thermometer, Digital
  • 8 Tuning Fork, Large, Low Pitch
  • 8 Tuning Fork, Small, High Pitch
  • 8 Voltmeter, DC, Panel, 0–5 V
  • 1 Wire, #20, B.C., AWG, 50-ft Roll
  • 8 Wire, #28, MAG PE, 75-ft Roll
  • 80 Wire, Connector, Insulated, Black
  • 1 Wire, Nichrome, 20-gauge, Roll
  • 1 Wire, Nichrome, 22-gauge, Roll
  • 16 Zinc, Strip
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.