• 8th Grade Science – Mrs. Petersen – S-4


    Dear Students/Parents/Guardians,

    Hello! My name is Shannon Petersen and I will be your/your child’s Science teacher this year. I look forward to a successful year here at Petaluma Junior High with all of my students. This letter is my introduction and an introduction to the 8th grade science.

    I have lived all over California. I grew up in Carmel, moved to Redding, attended high school in Santa Rosa, and studied Biology at California State University, Long Beach. I received my Bachelor of Science for Biology in 2006 and Teaching Credential from the same school in 2008. I then moved back to Sonoma County in 2008 and have been teaching in the district ever since.



    Unit(s) Topics

    Possible Projects


    The Scientific Method: Measurement, Forming and testing hypothesis


    Evolution/Genetics: History of Earth, Anatomical Similarities and Differences, Probability and Heredity, Inheritance of Traits, Genes and DNA, and Human Influences on Traits.


    Origami Birds: Make “birds” and fly after possible mutations

    Smork Lab: Construct generations using different variations of a made up species.



    Motion, Forces, and Energy: Speed, Velocity, Acceleration, Work, Kinetic and potential energy, Friction, Waves, Electricity and Magnetism

    Density, Buoyancy and Bernoulli’s Principle:

    How forces work in fluids


    Astronomy-Earth in the Solar System: Cycles-seasons, moon phases, day/night, Rockets, The solar system, Stars, Galaxies, the Universe, Space exploration

    Newton’s Scooter

    Construct a car that will show Newton’s 2nd and 3rd laws.

    The Slowest Flyer

    Construct a glider that stays aloft the longest


    The Solar System in the Palm of Your Hand: A folding booklet of the nine planets and the sun


    The Rules

    The classroom is a place of learning. That means that every student has the right to learn, and every teacher has the right to teach. To help everyone perform their best, here are my basic guidelines for classroom behavior:

    1. Treat all people and things in this room with respect.
    2. Finish all food and drink items BEFORE entering the classroom.
    3. Enter the room quietly, and remain quiet until your turn to speak.
    4. Be in your seat with all class materials at the beginning of class.
    5. Be in your seat with your desk area clean at the end of class.


    Grades will be calculated on a strict percentage of points earned. In other words, 90%= “A”, 80%=”B”, 70%=”C”, 60%=”D” and below 60% is an “F”. Each type of assignment has its own point value.


    Type of Assignment


    Point Value


    2-3 times per week

    5-10 points each


    2-3 times per week

    Up to 20 points each

    Laboratory Activities

    1-2 times per week

    20-40 points each


    Once every two weeks

    50-100 points each

    Questions of the Day


    2 points each


    1-2 times per quarter

    50-100 points each



    ¼ of the total grade 

    What to bring to class

    Bring a smile and an enthusiasm for learning. Class materials that I expect students to bring to class every day are: Pencils, pens, notebook and charged iPad. Items that I do not require, but strongly recommend are: A ruler with metric measurements, a scientific calculator, a set of coloring pencils or markers, a pair of scissors, glue stick, and a planner.           

    What I will provide 

    I will issue two things: The Textbook and a spiral – bound notebook to be used as a science journal. When that journal is full I expect students to buy their own replacement.

    What if I don’t get my work in on time?

    I will accept late work for half credit only to the end of one grading period (approximately 4-5 weeks.) If absent, students have an extra day to turn in the assignment for every day that they are absent and will receive full credit for that assignment if the absence is excused. Unexcused absences will be treated as late work.

    I wish you and your child a fantastic year! If you have any other questions, please contact me by calling the school or email spetersen@petk12.org

    Class website: Google Classroom

    Thank You,


    Shannon Petersen

    Science Teacher

    Petaluma Junior High School

    Room S-4