After eight years of teaching physical science, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to pace out my physical science units. I’ve had some pacing guides from my district in the past, but the units never seemed to line up the way I wanted. This left me to do things my own way and create a physical science pacing guide that worked for me.
If you’re interested in how I teach physical science or how you can switch up your own physical science pacing guide, keep on reading!
Unit 1: Lab Safety, Scientific Investigations & Inquiry
Lab Safety. We all have to teach it, right? I use at least a week for this unit, especially in 6th grade, because they are learning the information for the first time. I use these lab safety activities (which are free, by the way) that include a set of warm ups, 24 task cards, and a choice board. Basically, all you need for a lab safety unit…for free!
Next, I focus on Scientific Investigations and Inquiry. I teach this in isolation, especially in 6th grade, where the vocabulary is new. I explicitly teach this unit in the beginning and then infuse it in my labs and other physical science units throughout the year. My students always struggle with these concepts, so I don’t expect mastery the first go-round. Instead, I make sure to review, review, and review some more.
Unit 2: Matter
For the matter physical science unit, I always start with atoms and the atomic theory. Then I move into properties of matter. Next, we discuss mass, volume, density, and other physical and chemical properties of matter.
Those concepts naturally lead to physical and chemical changes, as well as changes in states of matter. Lastly, I teach the periodic table and pure substances and mixtures. You can grab a done-for-you matter unit to make teaching these concepts even easier.
Unit 3: Waves
The waves unit is my personal favorite. Most students have no prior knowledge of waves, so it can be a tough physical science unit, but I find it really fun. We start by discussing what a wave is, what they do, and the properties of waves.
Then, students learn the difference between mechanical and electromagnetic waves as well as go into more depth with the electromagnetic spectrum. We end the unit with interactions of light waves. My waves bundle resource has everything you need to teach this unit
Unit 4: Energy
Next in the physical science curriculum map is energy. This unit begins with what energy is and the different forms of energy. After talking about each form, we go into energy transformations and the law of conservation of energy. If you want to make this unit a total breeze, check out my energy unit bundle.
Unit 5: Forces and Motion
Our last physical science unit starts with a review of potential and kinetic energy. Then, we learn about motion, speed, and acceleration. Lastly, I save forces for the end of the year.
We cover the different types of forces, including unbalanced and balanced forces, calculating net force, and more. We also review Newton’s Laws of Motion. With the forces and motion unit bundle, you’ll have everything you need to teach this unit.
If the thought of planning your physical science curriculum map, and all of the activities, lessons, and assessments for the units sounds terrifying, the Physical Science Year-Long Bundle is perfect for you. This bundle has activities for every unit in my pacing guide, including waves, energy, and more. You’ll find lessons, guided notes, warm ups, task cards, assessments, labs, and PBLs for every single unit, so you can feel confident walking into each lesson.