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Physical Science

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Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level math score required

Prerequisites: Completion of grade 5 math

Course Format: Individually paced

Course Length: Typically 3 months

Recommended School Credit: One-half academic year

Course Code: PHY

Course Description


CTY Online Programs' middle school science series includes individually paced Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth and Space Science courses. Students who are interested in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking are engaged through a vibrant online environment with graphics, animations, video, real-time feedback, activities, projects, and tests. Students apply knowledge and reinforce concepts learned in the lessons with “real world” interactive applications that build critical thinking and reinforce skills. The content in the middle school science series correlates to state and national curriculum standards and draws on software provided by Edmentum.

Physical Science is the study of matter and energy. In the first three units of the course, students describe the atomic and molecular structure of substances using models. They will investigate how chemical reactions involve energy and lead to changes in properties of substances. They’ll model different kinds of forces and the effect they have on the motion of objects. Students solve problems involving work and power and apply these principles to simple machines. In the last three units, students investigate gravitational, electric, and magnetic force fields and identify factors that determine their strength. In addition, they apply concepts of electricity and magnetism to explain how motors, generators, and electromagnets work. Students will discuss energy transformations in objects and systems, including how heat flows between objects that are at different temperatures. 

  • Unit 1: Structure and Properties of Matter
  • Unit 2: Chemical Reactions
  • Unit 3: Forces and Motion
  • Unit 4: Force Fields
  • Unit 5: Energy
  • Unit 6: Waves

This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in this course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

This course includes two hands-on projects, but the materials needed will be dependent upon which project options are chosen.

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

  • Apply the steps of the scientific method to explain phenomena involving matter and energy.
  • Classify matter by its composition and properties.
  • Model atomic and molecular structures of substances.
  • Explain the relationship between thermal energy and states of matter.
  • Describe the Bohr model of an atom. Research historical models of the atom developed by scientists.
  • Compare properties of reactants and products to determine whether a chemical reaction has occurred.
  • Describe energy changes that occur during a chemical reaction.
  • Describe the properties and uses of synthetic materials and how they affect society.
  • Identify and sketch forces that act on real-world objects.
  • Analyze the motion of objects using words, equations, and graphs.
  • Explain how the concepts of force and motion are related.
  • Analyze input and output forces in simple machines.
  • Solve problems involving work and power.
  • Construct arguments that support the law of universal gravitation.
  • Identify factors that determine the strength of forces created by electric charge and by magnets.
  • Describe how current flows through series and parallel electric circuits.
  • Differentiate between electromagnets, generators, and motors.
  • Identify different forms of energy and discuss how energy flows through systems.
  • Explain how the position of an object in a force field relates to its potential energy.
  • Compute the kinetic energy of moving objects.
  • Define the law of conservation of energy.
  • Analyze models that show how heat flows between objects at different temperatures.
  • Classify waves based on their characteristics and use mathematics to model them.
  • Interpret models of interactions of light and matter.
  • Assess how light from objects in space provides information about their temperature, composition, and distance.


Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

The student will need the Java Runtime Environment.

Zoom online virtual classroom
This course uses an online virtual classroom which can be used for instructor-student communication if the student has any questions about the course or curriculum. The classroom works on standard computers with the Zoom desktop client and also tablets or handhelds that support the Zoom Mobile app. Students will need a computer with the Zoom desktop client installed to watch any recorded meetings. The Zoom desktop client and Zoom Mobile App are both available for free download.

This course uses Respondus LockDown Browser proctoring software for designated assessments. LockDown Browser is a client application that is installed to a local computer. Visit the Respondus website for system requirements.

While Chromebook can be used to progress through the course, all exams must be completed on a PC or Mac.


Comments and Feedback from Students, Parents, and Teachers



"Fabulous course! The content is informative and appropriately challenging for this age level, well-organized and interesting. I think my daughter liked the experiments the best. I anticipate that she will also take the Biology and Chemistry courses in the future. Thank you!"

"The instructor was extremely positive and attentive. We especially loved her interactive 'question of the week' which challenged my son to do his own scientific research and inspired discussions about how science is applied to real life at our dinner table. Excellent course."

"The instructor is truly outstanding. She had a tremendously positive impact on my son. In addition to helping him build a richer understanding of the course material, she helped him to further develop self-confidence and determination."