6th Grade Science

Syllabus and Classroom Expectations

Teacher:  Mrs. Ashlie Arkwright


"Science is part of the reality of living; it is the what, the how, and the why for everything in our experience." 

~Rachel Carson


Welcome to middle school science!  I am excited to begin a new semester with SCAPA’s scientists. I would like take the opportunity to share with you the expectations for our science classroom, as well as what we will be studying this semester. I encourage you to keep this handout on file for future reference.


Contact Information

I welcome parent contact at any time, whether to address questions/concerns or just to share a success in your child’s life.  My e-mail address is ashlie.arkwright@fayette.kyschools.us and my school phone number is 381-3332, ext. 2204. E-mail is the easiest way for me to connect with parents, but I am happy to conference over the phone or to schedule a conference after 2:00 p.m. most any afternoon. Conferences with the entire 6th grade team may be scheduled by contacting Valerie Hairston, who will be serving as 6th grade team leader this semester.


Classroom Rules

In order for our class to run as smoothly as possible, I simply ask all students to be polite, organized, and punctual (POP).

ü  Agenda

ü  Unit folder with all required assignments

ü  Completed homework assignment

ü  Textbook

ü  Notebook paper

ü  Pencil


These, and other school rules, will be monitored according to SCAPA’s Code of Conduct. If a student receives three or more infractions (e.g., 2 gum infractions and 1 coming to class unprepared infraction) within a 4 ½-week grading period, a “N” (needs improvement) conduct grade will be issued on his/her report card or a comment regarding the problem will be issued on his/her mid-term report (conduct grades do not appear on mid-term reports). This is to let parents know where student improvement is needed to help our class run as smoothly as possible. 



Students should expect some type of homework assignment in science most evenings. Assignments will be posted daily on the board. Students are expected to copy assignments as written in their agendas at the start of every class. Once I return to school from my maternity leave I will also post assignments on my web site: http://staff.fcps.net/abeals/. Students should not rely exclusively on the internet to find out their homework assignments in science because there will be times when SCAPA’s server is down or when I will change an assignment that I posted in advance. This resource is mainly for students looking for makeup work when absent (only homework, not in-class work will be posted on the web) and for parents. 


In the event of an absence, students should refer to my website and/or call a reliable friend to find out what was missed in class. If a student is absent more than two consecutive days from class, I encourage parents to contact SCAPA’s office and request to pick up missed work (Please call before 10 a.m. to make a request to pick up work after 3 p.m. the same day).


Also, please note that students will only be permitted to make up missed lab activities during lunch within one week of their absence if their absence is excused. For unexcused absences, students who would like to earn credit for labs will need to obtain their own materials, complete the labs at home, and obtain a parent signature on the assignments. Some lab materials may be difficult/impossible to find, so please be aware it may not be feasible to complete some labs at home.


Late Assignments

It is critically important that homework assignments are completed on time. Homework is assigned so that students may either review a concept already covered in class or become familiar with a topic that will be covered in class the following day. When a student does not do his/her homework assignment, he/she will not receive the full benefits of participation in classroom discussions and the opportunity to ask questions about what he/she does not understand. In order to encourage homework completion, SCAPA’s middle school homework policy states that assignments that are one day late will be penalized 10%. Students will earn a zero for any assignment that is not turned in by the start of class the day after the assignment was originally due. Even if an assignment is not completed for credit, I still encourage students to complete it before they take a test and before I grade unit folders to avoid additional penalties.


Academic Grades

Students will be assessed in multiple ways, including the following:

SCAPA’s grading scale is as follows:




Unit folders

Extended response questions

Writing pieces

                                           A     92-100

                                           B     83-91

                                           C     74-82

                                           D     65-73

                                           F     Below 65


Classroom Supplies

I require only a few basic supply purchases for my class. Students should have at least one pencil and a hand-held pencil sharpener (we do not have a classroom pencil sharpener in the science room) or a pen with blue or black ink every day. They should also have a constant supply of notebook paper. Markers are nice to have for certain projects, but optional.  In addition, I also ask students to have at least one piece of poster board on hand at home for future projects. Students should be able to complete all other projects using household materials (my motto for completing projects, such as those required for building models, is “Cheap good, expensive bad!”). The lab fee SCAPA collects at the start of the school year covers most other consumable-related materials needed for class.



SCAPA’s science program is mainly inquiry-based. Generally our textbooks (published by the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Company) are only used for homework and, at times, no textbook is used. A lost textbook costs approximately $30 to replace. Because of recent changes to Kentucky’s science standards, we do not have hard copies of textbooks for some of the topics we will be studying this semester. However, for one topic (Earth, Moon, and Sun Interactions), fall semester students will each be given a copy of the textbook on CD ROM for use at home. The CD’s will need to be returned at the end of the unit of study in good condition and cost $15 to replace. If your student does not have a computer at home to use, please let me know as soon as possible and I will obtain a hard copy of the textbook for him/her.


Additionally, students will be given a copy of the Sciencesaurus reference book (published by Great Source, Inc.) to keep at home during the school year. The Sciencesaurus books will be collected at the end of the year and will cost $30 to replace if lost.  Please encourage your child to find a good location to keep this book so that he/she can easily locate it when it is needed.



We will be studying the following topics this semester:


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