Course Syllabus


In “Physical Sciences” students will learn basic fundamental concepts in chemistry and physics. These topics will form a foundation for learning additional chemistry and physics-related subjects in high school. Students will also learn about the Scientific Method (asking questions, forming a hypothesis, developing an experiment, evaluating the data, and developing a theory), proper measurement techniques, and lab safety.


Topics Covered

8th grade Physical Science consists of two subjects: Physics and Chemistry. In the first semester we will focus on Physics, where students will learn about engineering, energy, waves, motion, and forces. In the second semester, we will shift to Chemistry and learn about the atomic theory, the Periodic Table, chemical reactions, ionic and covalent bonds, and balancing chemical equations.


Students in middle school are expected to be more responsible and less dependent on their teachers and parents. In other words, students are expected to be on-time, to obey all rules, follow all procedures, complete all assigned work, and to study after-school without the constant reminders from teachers and parents!

Attention Students: You are no longer in elementary school… now is the time to be the mature and responsible young adult that your teachers and parents expect you to be!

Class Rules

1) Quietly be in your assigned seat before the tardy bell rings.

2) Bring all necessary supplies and have all work ready to turn in.

3) Raise your hand and wait to be called by the teacher.

4) Give your full attention to the person who is speaking.

5) Respect everybody and everything in the classroom. Bullying, theft, and vandalism will NOT be tolerated.

Note: The ARIS school-wide rules will be enforced at all times. This includes (but is not limited to) gum chewing, dress code, no tolerance policy on weapons / violence / threats, etc. For more information on the ARIS school-wide rules, look inside the daily agenda planner.

Grade Scale

Grades are divided into the following categories:

  • Homework / Classwork (20% of overall grade)
  • Labs / Projects (20% of overall grade)
  • Science Notebook (30% of overall grade)
  • Tests / Quizzes (30% of overall grade)


Letter grades are broken down in the following scales:

A+ : 97%
and above
A : 93 – 96% A- : 90 – 92%
B+ : 87 – 89% B : 83 – 86% B- : 80 – 82%
C+ : 77 – 79% C : 73 – 76% C- : 70 – 72%
D+ : 67 – 69% D : 63 – 66% D- : 60 – 62%
Fail (F) : 59.9%
and below


Students are expected to be in their assigned seat before the bell rings. The only exception is if the teacher excuses the student from their seat or if they have a written note from another teacher or administrator that excuses their tardy. All tardies will be recorded on the online gradebook (“StudentConnect” and “ParentConnect”).


Regular attendance to all lectures and labs is necessary for success in this class. The student is responsible for all work missed, regardless of the reason why the student missed school. If a missed assignment can not be done at home (for instance, a lab activity), it may be necessary for the student to stay after-school to complete the missed assignment. Alternate activities may be used to substitute for the missed assignment.

Due-Date Extensions and Late Work Policy

Each and all homework assignments will have a specific due-date, and students are expected to submit their homework on or before that assigned due-date. Extensions will automatically be granted for excused absences only. Excused absences require the parent/guardian to notify the ARIS Attendance Office by phone or e-mail so that it can be documented as such in “Q” (our online gradebook and attendance system). The length of the due-date extension is as follows: The student has ONE additional day for each excused absence (e.g., a student that misses 3 school days due to illness and has all 3 days marked as “excused” in their attendance record will be granted 3 additional school days to complete the missed homework assignment). If a student was absent when the homework was first assigned, it is their responsibility to find out what they missed. Homework assignments (and their due-dates) will be posted in a dedicated location on the classroom whiteboard, written on the Teacher’s Daily Planner (located near the classroom entrance), AND will be posted on the teacher’s class website (

Homework that is turned in late (including absent work that is turned in beyond the extended due date) is subject to a reduction in points earned. Students will have an opportunity to receive full credit if they attend “Wolfie Weekend” (more information on “Wolfie Weekend” will be announced by the ARIS Administration soon).

If a student misses a test, quiz, or a lab activity, they may make it up at their earliest convenience, but it must be done after-school. It is the student’s responsibility to find out what they missed and to arrange with the teacher when they can make up the test, quiz, or lab activity.

Projects are due on or before the due-date. Projects are typically assigned 2-4 weeks before their assigned due-date. Projects are not subject to due-date extensions, even for excused absences (extensions may be granted for emergencies, and this will be determined on a case-by-case basis). LATE PROJECTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. If a student is absent the day that a project is due, it is the student’s responsibility to have another person turn in the project before the end of the school day.

Required Supplies

Students must always have these necessary supplies with them at all times:       

  • 3-ring binder (1" thickness, D-style rings w/clear front pocket)*
  • 2 pens (black or blue ink only; no metallic colors)
  • 2 sharpened pencils (mechanical pencils OK)
  • Coloring pencils
  • Daily Agenda Planner

* Students must have a dedicated 3-ring binder exclusively for this class that will be used as their Science NoteBook (SNB), which makes up 30% of their final grade. They will still need a binder for their other classes. Students are NOT allowed to store work from other classes in their SNB.



E-mail Communication

E-mail is the quickest and most effective way to reach your teachers. Mr. Varela can be reached via email:
[email protected] Please include your name, student's name, and class period number in your message.



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I look forward to this new school year and helping your child become successful!