2560 Soquel Avenue Suites 201, 204, 205, Santa Cruz, CA 96062 |   831-331-5611  |  santacruzlearningcenter@gmail.com

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Middle School: Life Science ​

Price: $600 per semester

Instructor: Malika Bell, MS

This course is a combination of direct instruction and hands-on lab exploration. Following the sequencing of the textbook, students will engage in group and independent work exploring the intricate world of life Science. Each week, we will transform our classroom into a research laboratory of learning through hands-on experimentation and project-based instruction.

This course is appropriate for all middle school students (grades 6-8).

Semester 1:

​Chapter 1: Nature of Science
Section 1: Method of Science
Section 2: Standards of Measurement
Section 3: Graphing
Chapter 2: Intro to Life Science
Section 1: The Science of Biology
Section 2: Lab Safety
Section 3: Scientific Research and Tools
Chapter 3: Principles of Ecology
Section 1: Nutrition and Energy
Section 2: Energy Flow in Ecosystems
Section 3: Cycles in Nature
Section 4: Organisms and their Environment
Section 5: Ecological Succession
Section 6: Biomes
Chapter 4: Population Dynamics
Section 1: Characteristics of Populations
Section 2: Human Populations
Section 3: Renewable & Nonrenewable Resources
Section 4: Biodiversity
Chapter 5: Cell Structure and Function
Section 1: The Discovery of Cells
Section 2: The Plasma Membrane
Section 3: Eukaryotic Cell Structure
Section 4: Prokaryotic Cell Structure
Section 5: Cellular Transport
Chapter 6: Cell Processes and Energy
Section 1: Photosynthesis
Section 2: Cellular Respiration
Section 3: Cell Cycle
Section 4: Phases of Mitosis
Section 5: DNA Structure and Replication
Section 6: Control System of Cell Cycle
Chapter 7: Genetics – The Science of Heredity
Section 1: The Work of Gregor Mendel
Section 2: Mendel’s Laws of Heredity
Section 3: Punnett Squares
Section 4: Meiosis
Chapter 8: Modern Genetics
Section 1: Complex Patterns of Inheritance
Section 2: The Genetic Code
Section 3: Human Genetic Disorders
Section 4: Advances in Genetics
Chapter 9: Change Over Time & Classification
Section 1: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
Section 2: Evolution of Populations
Section 3: The Fossil Record
Section 4: Classification
Section 5: Domains & Kingdoms
Chapter 10: The Microbial World
Section 1: Bacteria
Section 2: Viruses
Section 3: Protists
Section 4: Fungi
Chapter 11: Plants
Section 1: The Plant Kingdom
Section 2: Plants Without Seeds
Section 3: Seed Plants
Section 4: Flowering Plants
Section 5: Roots, Stems, and Leaves
Section 6: Plant Responses and Growth
Chapter 12: Animal Diversity – Invertebrates
Section 1: Introduction to Animals
Section 2: Animal Behavior
Section 3: Sponges, Cnidarians, & Worms
Section 4: Mollusks, Arthropods, & Echinoderms
Section 5: Insects
Chapter 13: Animal Diversity – Vertebrates
Section 1: Intro to Vertebrates – Fish & Amphibians
Section 2: Reptiles & Birds
Section 3: Mammals
Chapter 14: Human Body – Part 1
Section 1: The Skin
Section 2: The Muscular System
Section 3: The Skeletal System
Section 4: The Nervous System
Section 5: The Digestive System
Chapter 15: Human Body – Part 2
Section 1: The Respiratory System
Section 2: The Excretory System
Section 3: The Cardiovascular System
Section 4: Blood
Section 5: The Endocrine System


We will use the free Life Science textbook available here from Nitty Gritty Science along with a reader/workbook that will be provided by the teacher at the beginning of class. A majority of the assignments will come from the reader.

Materials Required for class:

For students attending class in-person

- teacher-provided reader

- 3-ring binder

- Bound notebook (may be a composition notebook or spiral notebook)

For students attending live via Zoom

- teacher-provided reader
- 3-ring binder
- Bound notebook (may be a composition notebook or spiral notebook)

- Lab Materials (will be provided by the teacher at the beginning of each semester. You can pick them up or arrange for it to be mailed)

- Colored pencils or pens, scissors, tape, glue stick

- Access to a printer