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Middle School Grade Level (6-8)
Tasks

Tasks for the middle school grade levels have two components.

  1. Phase I, Learning Experiences, is a suggested series of TEKS-based lessons and performances to be used in large groups, in small groups, and/or individually. Phase I allows students to work with advanced content and processes through a discipline-based research model. Phase I is developmental and formative.
  2. In Phase II, Independent Research, students utilize and extend their learning from Phase I to develop a product. The product provides students with opportunities to synthesize learning, apply knowledge to a novel situation, and provide an advanced, high-quality demonstration of the student’s knowledge and skills.

In order for students to have the necessary support to complete their projects, users are encouraged to support student completion of the learning experiences and independent research as described in each of the task descriptions. Two or more students may collaborate in Phase I and/or Phase II. When there is collaboration, each student’s individual learning must be documented.

7E Model

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) is redesigning the TPSP tasks to reflect a 7E framework. Currently, approximately half of the TPSP tasks have been restructured to reflect a 7E instructional framework. These tasks have been included on this website for download via the link that appears just below the original TPSP task download button.

The 7E model is an extension of the original 5E model developed by a team of educators at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study to maximize student engagement in learning. The seven “Es” of the model are as follows:

  • Elicit—Access and ascertain prior knowledge and understanding
    • Teacher can frame “What do you think?” questions.
  • Engage—Generate enthusiasm and stimulate interest and thinking
    • Teacher can surprise students, get students thinking, or raise questions through compelling demonstrations or presentations.
  • Explore—Provide opportunities to observe, record data, design experiments, interpret results, organize findings
    • Teacher can frame questions, suggest approaches, provide feedback, and assess understanding.
  • Explain—Introduce models, laws, and theories
    • Teacher can guide students toward generalizations and provide terminology and questions that help students explain their explorations.
  • Elaborate—Provide opportunities to apply knowledge to new domains
    • Teacher can introduce new variables and pose new questions/scenarios in which students practice transfer of knowledge.
  • Evaluate—Provide formative and summative assessment opportunities, including self-reflection
    • Teacher can conduct ongoing assessment of student learning through all phases.
  • Extend—Provide additional challenges that allow students to apply knowledge
    • Teachers can provide new contexts for application of knowledge that allow students to go one step further.1

For those TPSP tasks adapted to the 7E format, Phase I Learning Experiences provide suggested activities aligned with Elicit, Engage, Explore, and Explain. Phase II Research Process provides suggested activities to Elaborate, Explain, Evaluate, and Extend. While 7E tasks will always begin with Elicit and Engage and end with Evaluate and Extend, the sequence of Explore, Explain, and Elaborate can vary, often with recurrences of Explore and Explain throughout the task.

1For more information on the 7E model, see Eisencraft, A. (2003). Expanding the 5E model. The Science Teacher, 70(6), pp. 56–59. Retrieved from http://its-about-time.com/htmls/ap/eisenkrafttst.pdf

 

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Everyone’s a Winner:
A Study of Conflict and Mediation

Grade 6

Grade 6 Social Studies Task: Everyone’s a Winner

This task provides an introduction to mediation and the ethics behind it by way of examination of historical and contemporary conflicts. Students learn various mediation techniques and apply their new knowledge and skills. In their investigations, they will consider political and historical conflicts and derive alternative solutions. In their independent research, students will participate in a group simulation of a current conflict of local, state, national, or international interest. Students will then reflect on the process and what the future might hold.

Final Product Option(s):

  • For each issue, prepare to hold a conflict resolution meeting. Students should come to the meeting prepared to play the role they have chosen and researched, with talking points, background information, and decisions about what is negotiable and what is not negotiable.

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Instant Millionaire

Grade 6

Grade 6 Mathematics Task: Instant Millionaire

This task builds student understanding of the relationship between fractions, decimals, and percentages. Students create and present a budget for a real school or class activity by estimating the costs and presenting their product graphically and tabularly. Then students will identify a large-scale dream/goal and conduct research using their identified resources to develop a $1 million budget for reaching this dream/goal.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Each student will create a poster showing graphically and tabularly how the money will be spent. The table should show the category of expense and the amount with the relation to the whole shown in fractions, decimals, and percentages. Students will present their proposal to a panel/teacher who will determine who "wins" the million dollars.

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Products in Motion

Grade 6

Grade 6 Science Task: Products in Motion

In this task, students study force, motion and energy and the application of these scientific principles through simple machines. Students explore the differences between potential and kinetic energy, various sources of energy, the conversion and transfer of energy in a system/circuit and real-world applications. Student learning culminates in the development of a machine that moves an object (product) from one point to another.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A machine or system that moves an object from one point to another

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Culture Shock

Grade 6

Grade 6 Social Studies Task: Culture Shock

In this task, students will explore a different country. Students become familiar with the culture, geography, and landmarks that are significant in that country. Students will create a trip to the country including a guidebook, maps, and important language phrases. Students will complete a travel blog to record the events of their journey.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A long-term trip itinerary including a guidebook, maps, and important language phrases
  • A travel blog to record the events of their journey

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Rites of Passage

Grade 7

Grade 7 Social Studies Task: Rites of Passage

In this task, students choose a Texas Native American or immigrant group and study that group’s rites of passage. They compare and contrast those rites of passage with their own contemporary experiences. Then, students will look at rites of passage across generations within their own families, including conducting an interview. In their final products, they will predict how rites of passage will be different 100 years from now.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A museum exhibit that shows rites of passage from the past, present, and future
  • A journal from 100 years in the future—the student documents major personal events

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Lifestyles of the Fit and Famous

Grade 7

Grade 7 Interdisciplinary Task: Lifestyles of the Fit and Famous

This task will generate awareness of healthy lifestyle choices among students and community members. Students begin by looking at a sport or a sports figure and analyzing the important aspects of math and science utilized in that sport (e.g., the physics behind different pitches in baseball). Students will also investigate the social implications of participating in sports. Finally, they will conduct an in-depth investigation of a chosen health issue.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A brochure or article
  • The creation of a new sport or game
  • A learning center

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Game of Life ™

Grade 7

Grade 7 Interdisciplinary Task: Game of Life

In this task, students will begin to explore their career options. Students develop a three to five year life plan that includes completion of higher learning, a family, career, community involvement, and a residence of choice.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A portfolio that includes his or her resume, career goal plan, personal budget, My Life at a Glance, and a sketch of his or her home
  • A five-minute presentation marketing himself/herself

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Tell a Tale of a Trail

Grade 7

Grade 7 Social Studies Task: Tell a Tale of a Trail

Students will choose a Texas historical trail and research the physical and historical impacts of the trail. Students will explore how the route affected the development of the state. For the final product, students will create an interactive website about the trail they chose.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A website that conveys the information about their trail that is both user-friendly and easy to navigate

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Figure It Out!

Grade 8

Grade 8 Mathematics Task: Figure It Out!

This task allows students to explore the uses of statistics in everyday life and to develop survey research skills. Students identify an issue to investigate using survey research and then write an article that summarizes the results. Students will have the option to submit the results for publication.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Brief, formal presentation for the class

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Analyzing Awesome Authors

Grade 8

Grade 8 English Language Arts and Reading Task: Analyzing Awesome Authors

In this task, students study an author and his/her influences, motivations, and experiences. Students conduct an in-depth investigation of a selected author in order to understand ways in which culture, history, and society influenced the author’s style and voice.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Student-delivered book talk, assuming the persona of the author studied

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Challenging the System

Grade 8

Grade 8 Science Task: Challenging the System

This task allows students to explore living and non-living systems and the roles those systems play in the environment and society. Students use technical writing and statistics to produce a scientific paper and formal presentation.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A letter (in which they present their proposed solution(s)) to a person or organization with responsibility for the problem

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Sudden Impact

Grade 8

Grade 8 Social Studies Task: Sudden Impact

This task allows students to study influential individuals, groups, ideas, and documents from various periods of history. Students investigate provocative questions about the life of an influential contributor to history. The subject of student study must be from American history from the time of colonization to 1877.

Final Product Option(s):

  • Museum exhibit with approximately 10 artifacts that highlight the impact of this person or group on American history

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Time Travel

Grade 8

Grade 8 English Language Arts and Reading Task: Time Travel

This task allows students to explore an historical event through a piece of literature. Students conduct an in-depth investigation about the role a particular character portrayed in a historical novel. After reading the novel, students will use primary and secondary resources to verify the accuracy of the role as portrayed in the fictional account.

Final Product Option(s):

  • A talk show in which the students portray the character they studied

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Pursuit of Passion

Grades 6—8

Grade 7 Mathematics Task: Time Travel

This task allows students to explore the relationship between their personal interests and future opportunities. By connecting the two, students will gain well-rounded perspectives that help guide them toward professional or academic future goals.

Final Product Option(s):

  • An original product that includes the student’s point of view, voice, reflection, and examination of the relationship between topic and the real world

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