Curriculum Director

Elizabeth Baker - Science, Health, Technology Education (617) - 993-5975


During the course of grades 5, 6, 7 and 8, the science program at Chenery Middle School spirals through three main domains of science: Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth and Space Science. Students return to common themes in these disciplines each year, exploring different aspects of the standards-based content while developing scientific practices including 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, and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information. The 5-8 science curriculum is aligned with the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Learning Standards, which are a state-based adaptation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Technology/Engineering is an integral part of our curriculum too. FInd more information about the Technology/Engineering program here

Lower School

  • GRADE 5
  • GRADE 6


  • What is an ecosystem?
  • How do matter and energy move in an ecosystem?
  • What makes an ecosystem healthy or unhealthy?
  • How do ecosystems change?
  • How do humans change ecosystems?

Green Living/The Earth’s Systems

  • What are Earth's four systems?
  • How does water cycle on earth?
  • How do earth’s systems change the earth’s surface?
  • How do people affect earth’s systems?

Changes in Matter 

  • What is matter made of?
  • How can substances be identified?
  • What causes substances to change?
  • How do engineers improve materials?

Earth, Moon, and the Stars

  • What does gravity do on Earth?
  • Why is the sun brighter than other stars?
  • Why is there day and night?

Matter & Energy

  • How can we explain chemical reactions that create and absorb heat?
  • How can we explain why an aircraft carrier floats and a brick sinks?
  • What are the differences and similarities between sound and light waves?

Earth and Space Science

  • How can we model and explain the phases of the moon?
  • What roles does gravity play in organizing the structure of the universe?

Life Science

  • What evidence supports the claim that Earth and all life on it has changed over time?
  • How do the structures of a cell describe its function?

Upper School

  • GRADE 7
  • GRADE 8

Matter & Heat

  • How does thermal energy affect matter? How do properties of matter affect movement of thermal energy?

Earth Science

  • How does energy from Earth’s interior drive the processes that create the dynamic surface structures of the Earth?
  • How does energy from the Sun cause atmospheric instability and therefore drive weather and climate phenomenon of Earth?


  • How do energy and matter link organisms to each other and their environments?
  • How can human activity impact the diversity and stability of ecosystems?


  • How can one explain the structure, properties and interactions of matter? 
  • How do particles combine to form the variety of matter one observes? 
  • How do substances combine or change (react) to make new substances? 
  • How does one characterize and explain these reactions and make predictions about them? 


  • How can you describe and quantify motion?
  • How do the forces that act on an object determine its motion? 
  • How does the force of gravity play a role in our solar system? 
  • What are forms of energy and the relationships between these forms?


  • How do organisms live, grow, respond to their environment and reproduce? 
  • How do specific molecules provide the building blocks and energy needed for life?
  • How do the structures of organisms enable life's functions?
  • How are characteristics of one generation passed to the next? 
  • How can individuals of the same species and even siblings have different characteristics? 
  • How are the characteristics of one generation related to the previous generation?
  • How does genetic variation among organisms affect survival and reproduction?