• Year Two with Mrs. Benjamin

    This title is deceiving since students are in years two and three of the program.  However, it does not change the curriculum requirements for the Living Environment course!
    The Living Environment
    Students are placed into these courses based on language level.  Each language level receives curriculum that aligns with their past school experiences as well as their ability levels and what they need.  Students in grade 8 sit in the same class as high school students, but receive modified curriculum to meet the needs of the science 8 NYS curriculum standards.
    Like Mr Skinner's class, the topics that are covered at each level are the same but the depth that we go into will differ based on ability.  The topics of focus during year 2 are:
    Topic 1.  Science and Engineering Practices
       This is a continuation of the same topic from year 1 but at a more advanced depth.  Some vocabulary will be repeated and there will be additional, higher conent area vocabulary and concepts added.  These will be used throughout the year.
    Topic 2.  Genetics
       This unit will focus on DNA and its relationship to living things.  Within this unit we look at proteins and how they impact trait expression, reproduction and how traits are passed between generations, and how DNA can be used as evidence for evolutionary relationships.
    Topic 3.  Evolution
       This topic takes the unit on genetics and looks at how genetics has shaped the diversity of life on Earth.  During year 1, students looked at the different characteristics of living things so now they will look at why all those differences exist and how the environment influences those characteristics through natural and artificial selection.  In addition, we will look at the topic of immunity through the lens of evolution.
    Topic 4.  Ecology
       This unit focuses on the different ecosystems found around the world and how those different environments relate to the things that live there.  Inclusive in this unit are feeding relationships, the role that limiting factors take on populations, and the impact that other changes have on living things.
    Topic 5.  Human Impact
       This topic will tie all of the work that the students have done over the past 2 years.  We will take an in depth look at how people have effected environments (both positively and negatively) around the world and what that means to our future and future generations.
    All students coded Living Environment will be sitting for the Regents exam in June.  With this, students need to complete a minimum of 1200 laboratory minutes to quailfy to take the exam.  Students will have differing success with the exam:  the exam is written at a 9-11th grade reading level (measured through lexile scores) and the students that will be sitting for the exam read anywhere from grade 1 through grade 8.  But remember, success is not based on a test score, but on the growth and what students can show you they did learn throughout the year!
    Students who are coded grade 8 will sit for the 8th grade science exam and will face the same challenges of those sitting for the Living Environment exam.  Success should be based on growth, not on an exam grade.
    General Chemistry
    Students who are close to graduating and have passed the Living Environment class will take general chemistry.  This is a lab based course but ends with a local final not a regents exam.  This does not make the course any less rigorous than a regents course and the topic is a much more difficult science topic. 
    General Chemistry will be broken down into the following units of study:
    Topic 1.  History of the Atom
       In this unit students will learn how chemistry developed from Aristotle's time to modern thinking.  We will walk through how people used observation in order to develop the current atomic model.  Students will also learn about the structure of atoms, experimentation that lead us to understand atomic structure, properties of different elements and how those properties determine the behavior of the elements.  Properties of matter will also be placed in this unit as it is in direct relation to atomic structure.  This unit makes up the majority of the course and will be divided into sub-topics.
    Topic 2.  Chemical Reactivity
       Students will focus on how elements join together in order to make compounds.  They will also learn about the different types of bonds that are formed and how those bonds will determine chemical reactions.  This unit will also include a lot of the math involved in chemistry, but not to the level of a Regents chemistry course.
    Topic 3.  Electrochemistry
       This topic draws right off of the chemical reactivity unit where students will learn how to determine half reactions and how electricity relates to chemical mixtures.  This unit will be covered in
    Topic 4.  Nuclear Chemistry
       This final unit of study is based on how far we get with the other 3 topics.  We take a look at the basics behind nuclear reactions, rates of decay, and how these can be applied to real word problems.
    Benji Dept Page
    Click on the link above to visit
    Mrs Benjamin's Home Page
    ALL Living Environment students should use the resources under Regents Review AND the Video link sections in order to prepare for the Regents Exam!