The world is our classroom
Chestnut Talented and Gifted Middle School

GROWTH IS THE MINDSET

CURRICULUM

 

Massachusetts has moved to an "integrated approach" to middle school Science.  In eighth grade, students will study topics the serve as an introduction to Earth Science, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering.

We will be following a curriculum called KnowAtom, which has been designed to involve students in doing science inquiry.  Students will engage with text, participate in conversation, conduct lab experiments, and design solutions to problems.

Additionally, eighth grade students will have a Science acceleration class to supplement the core curriculum.

GRADING

 

Chestnut TAG uses a grading policy that prioritizes skill and content acquisition over work completion.  80% of a student's grade is based on assessments like tests, quizzes, projects, and lab work

 

Although homework and classwork represent only 20% of a student's grade, students that fail to complete homework and classwork regularly will probably struggle to achieve on assessments.It is essential that students attend class and complete required work to be successful on assessments. 

 

Each unit's assessment will include:

  • 2-3 lab activities

  • 1 unit test

  • 1 vocabulary test

  • 2-3 section quizzes

  • 5-10 exit tickets 

UNITS OF STUDY

Unit 1: Molecules to Materials

Unit 2: Natural Resources

Unit 3: Climate Change

Unit 4: From Molecules to Organisms

Unit 5: Inheriting Traits

Unit 6: Human Genetics 

Unit 7: Changing Environments

Unit 8: Transforming Energy

Unit 9: Waves and Information Transfer

ABOUT MR. LESSARD

I am a Springfield native who cares deeply for our community.  I developed a love of educating and working with youth as a lifeguard and swimming instructor.  During college at the State University of New York at Buffalo, I had set out to become a chemical engineer, but soon realized that I wanted to work with people.  I wanted to make a difference in people's lives, but most importantly, I wanted to be able to see the impact I was making.  I became a Science teacher because this career gives me the opportunity to make a real impact, and to see the progress of my students each and every day.

My philosophy of education has been shaped by my own education and by my experiences in the classroom.  I started as a teacher in 2012-13, and over the years I have tried to make my classroom more and more student-centered.  As a student, my teachers usually lectured and students usually took extensive notes.  Now that I am the teacher, my focus is to put the students at the center of the learning, in an active role.  Therefore, students will be actively engaged in exploration, discussion, and research on a daily basis.  In my classroom, we are much more concerned with big picture questions than we are about memorizing facts. 

In 2020, I began my role as Advance Teacher for Science at both Chestnut TAG and Chestnut Impact Prep. It is my sincere desire to turn around the state of Science education in Springfield and ope doors in STEM for my students who are generally underrepresented in these fields.  I hope that all of my students are challenged and supported in everything that they do. 

CONTACT MR. LESSARD

Chestnut Talented and Gifted Middle School 

355 Plainfield Street, Springfield MA 01104

lessardj@springfieldpublicschools.com

School Phone: 413-750-2333

Email is my preferred method of communication.  I will try to respond to all emails within one business day.