Degrees and Certifications:

Mr. Owen


Phone: 547-474-5750 ext. 50137


8th Grade Science Syllabus


Course Overview:  Throughout the year this course provides the opportunity for the student to develop scientific skills, laboratory techniques, and an understanding of the fundamental principles of the life science, earth science and physical science.  Students will explore the three branches as a process, utilizing hands-on activities, vocabulary, reading and writing strategies and scientific inquiry. Since 8th grade is a state testing year for science, integration of 6th and 7th grade concepts and vocabulary is included.


Course Standards: Topics covered in class covering NGSS standards include:

  •         Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
  •         Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  •         Earth’s Place in the Universe
  •         Earth and Human Activity
  •         Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
  •         Energy
  •         Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
  •         Engineering Design


Late or Missing Work:  Students must complete assignments and submit them to the teacher in order to demonstrate that they are working toward proficiency prior to taking assessments.


Reassessment:  To demonstrate proficiency, all students are expected to pass each assessment with a C- or better. Students will be given opportunities to retake assessments they fail in order to demonstrate proficiency.   One retake will be offered on a specific date designated by the teacher. To retake a failed assessment, students must demonstrate that they have practiced by submitting a completed study guide and may be required to complete missing work.  Additional retakes may be requested by the teacher.


Required Texts and Other Supplies/Fees:  Students must bring their issued Science Unit Workbook to class daily.

Science Policies:  Students are expected to act and think like scientists.  They will be open-minded and willing to listen to new ideas, curious, careful and accurate in everything they do.  Students will develop questions and think about what they read and observe while being enthusiastic participants in class.  To maintain a safe laboratory students are asked to be in their science bodies and be aware of themselves, others and science equipment. Students will be in their assigned seats with all required supplies, working on the daily prompt when the tardy bell rings.




My name is Mr. Owen and I will be teaching 8th grade science! I am very excited to be teaching a subject I am very passionate about. In 8th grade science there is something for everyone and I will make it my mission this year to get the kids excited about science! A little bit about me, I have been living in the area for about ten years. I visited one summer, met my wife and never left! We are very blessed to live in such a beatiful part of the country. I was born in the US but I grew up overseas in a country in East Africa called Kenya. I lived in Kenya until I graduated high school. I went to an international school in Nairobi with a very diverse student body. My hope is to use my unique experiences growing up abroad as an asset in my classroom to to make a richer learning envrionment!





District Grading Policy

Middle School Sound Grading Practices

2017 – 2018


Grants Pass School District believes a student’s academic grade should reflect his/her academic achievement in a specific course and/or subject of study.  Providing students and parents with accurate and timely information related to the individual student’s level of mastery as measured by the standards is key to ensuring student success in school.  We are firmly committed to the following:

  • Teacher teams (specifically in like courses) will clearly define what is to be learned in the course of study based on the standards established by the state.  The teacher team will establish the best sequence and pacing of the content to achieve essential learning.
  • Teacher teams will identify clear learning targets for each unit of study and determine how learning will be measured.  
  • Grades will be an accurate reflection of a student’s achievement.  In addition, the grade will be meaningful, and will support student learning.
  • Grading practices will be consistent across content areas and specifically in like classes.  


Power Standards

For all courses offered in GPSD7, power standards will be developed and used to report student progress to parents.  See rubric scale below to be used when reporting on power standards.

Final Grade Scale

For the purpose of final grades, the following grade scale shall be used.  Teachers may override the final grade at any time and use their professional judgment to determine a student’s final grade.  


Identified elective courses shall be graded pass/fail.  All study skills courses (including resource room study skills) will be graded pass/fail.  All other resource room courses will use the final grade scale unless the IEP team has specifically identified pass/fail as the method of grading for the individual student.  Modified grades will continue to receive an * in the gradebook.  Teachers should work with the student’s IEP case manager and/or counselor to develop clear learning objectives for each student and how outcomes will be measured.  





90 – 100%


80 – 89%


70 – 79%


0 – 69%


Power Standard Rubric Scale

For the purpose of reporting on Power Standards, the following scale shall be used.  




Mastery:  Superior academic performance through evidence of in-depth understanding and demonstration of skill/standard.


Approaching Mastery:  Consistently meets and sometimes exceeds the basic standard and has a complete understanding, and can demonstrate the standard.


Proficient:  Meets the standard with basic knowledge and demonstration.  Some errors may be present.


Working Toward Proficient:  Not yet passing.  Occasional demonstration of skill/standard.


Not Proficient/Insufficient Evidence:  Limited achievement of the course standards.  Can’t determine grade due to missing assignments, and/or length of time in school.



Teacher teams in like courses shall collaborate on the use of gradebook.  When entering grades for assignments, teachers must use a point value system.  Like courses will ensure same categories are being used in the gradebook as well.

Common Assessment

There shall be a minimum of one common summative assessment per semester for all like courses.  PLC teams are encouraged to come around the data from the common assessments to discuss student performance, target student needs, and review instructional practices.


The purpose of retaking an assessment is to demonstrate improved knowledge and skills.   It should not be assumed that a student will automatically have the opportunity to retest.  

  • Students must complete additional practice/preparation (i.e. homework, classwork, study group, etc.) that demonstrates their increased knowledge/skill before submitting a request for reassessment.  
  • Students should be given a specified time frame (i.e. one week, end of the unit, etc.) for these activities and should not be allowed to reassess beyond what is designated by the teacher.  
  • Students will be awarded the highest score they’ve achieved.
  • Students may be given only one opportunity for reassessment unless otherwise determined by the teacher.

Final Grades

Teachers will use a minimum scale where at least 70% of the grade reflects content knowledge and skills, and no more than 30% of their grade reflect formative assessments.

Content Knowledge and Skills

At least 70% of grade total

Formative Assessments

No more than 30% of total grade

  • Tests and quizzes on knowledge and skills
  • Alternative assessments (verbal, demonstration of skills, etc.)
  • Writing samples/inquiry labs/math problem solving (state work samples)
  • Projects (if the teachers knows it is the student’s own work or when an individual student’s contribution can be assessed based on their understanding of the knowledge and skills
  • Lab reports
  • Other summative assessments
  • Openers/warm-ups
  • Daily work
  • Practice
  • Notes
  • Quizzes
  • Class work
  • Homework
  • Projects (when a teacher cannot be certain that it is a student’s own work)
  • Turning in grade printouts/progress reports
  • Other formative assessments


Non-Academic Factors

For the purpose of the overall letter grade:

        1. Attendance – reported separately
        2. Group Scores – individual student achievement only
        3. Academic dishonesty – behavioral consequences and do it again honestly
        4. Extra credit – not provided, can retake assessments
        5. Effort, participation, attitude, being prepared – may be included in the 30%
        6. Late work –  Late work may be penalized in the portion of the grade representative of the assigned task
        7. Zeros in Grading - If a student takes an assessment and earns zero points, a zero will be placed in the gradebook.  If a student does not take an assessment, the teacher should use a DA (did not attempt) and the mark will calculate as a zero in the overall grade.