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Developing and using models is an important skill for scientists. Model diagrams, 3-D models, computer modeling, and mathematical models are all used to help explain how the world works. Basically, models allow scientists to describe and explain concepts that are difficult to understand or visualize. This may be because the subject is too small, too big, or too far away. It may be something that is too rare or too dangerous. It might be too complicated, and the model could simplify the process, or could be something that is invisible to the eye.
Regardless of why we scientists use a particular model, the point of the model is to show relationships between the variables involved in a particular phenomenon. This is a little different than what we might think of as models in the world outside of science. For example, a model car is actually not a very good scientific model. It has very little to do with a car, other than what the car looks like. The models we will be using in science class will help us to understand how variables affect one another, and allow us to make predictions. If our predictions come true, we know that we have a more accurate model.
The rubric shows what the expectations are for 8th graders in this class. The first three rows (M-1, M-2, and M-3) are what is expected during the first semester, and student grades will reflect this. During second semester, students will be held accountable for all six items on the rubric.