The PRAXIS II Middle School: Science Exam (5440) is designed for individuals, who would like to teach science at the middle school level. You will be given two and a half hours to complete 125 multiple-choice questions. The test can be broken down into seven sections:
Scientific Inquiry, Methodology, Techniques, and History – 15 questions
Basic Principles of Matter and Energy – 15 questions
Physical Sciences – 28 questions
Life Sciences – 30 questions
Earth and Space Sciences – 22 questions
Science, Technology, and Society – 15 questions
Science, Technology, and Society
In this section of the exam your knowledge of the economic, social, political, and ethical issues of human technologies such as prenatal testing, prolonging life, cloning and their impact on human affairs will be assessed. Questions regarding the application of science and technology to daily life regarding energy production and storage, consumer products, natural resources, nutrition, and public health issues will be included in this section of the exam.
Basic Principles of Matter and Energy
This section of exam will assess your knowledge of the structure and properties of matter, the basic relationships between energy and matter, and the basic structure of the atom.
Earth and Space Sciences
This section of exam will assess your knowledge of astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, historical geology and physical geology. Questions in the astronomy section will cover asteroids, comets, the solar system, the sun, the lifecycle of stars, units of distance, and theories regarding the origin and structure of the universe. Questions in the meteorology section, will cover how humans are affected by climates, local and regional factors that affect climate, weather forecasting, air circulation, frontal systems, high and low-pressure systems, air masses, temperature, cloud formation, precipitation, humidity, frost, atmospheric conditions, global wind belts, seasonal and latitudinal variations of solar radiation, the chemical composition of the atmosphere and atmospheric layers. The oceanography questions will cover the influences on chemical and physical properties of seawater, topography, land forms of the ocean floor, shore lines, surface and deep water currents of the oceans, factors that influence tides, and the geographic locations of oceans and seas.
Questions under historical geology will cover the sequence of events in the earth’s history, the geological time scale, the formation of fossils, relative and absolute time, stratigraphy, and the principle of uniformitarianism. Questions under physical geology will cover the process of weathering erosion, deposition, the Hydra logical cycle, plate tectonic theory, earthquakes, volcanoes, and folding and defaulting of the earth, the physical characteristics of layers of the earth, classification of different types of minerals, soils, and rocks and the process of mineral and rock formation.
This section of the exam will assess your knowledge of ecology, plants, animals, diversity of life, evolution, genetics, and the cell. Questions in the ecology section, will assess your knowledge of types and characteristics of biomes, bio geo-chemical cycles, energy flow, stability and instability of the ecosystem, succession, intraspecific relationships and interspecific relationships such as mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism and; social behaviors such as altruism, dominance, territoriality and population dynamics. Question regarding animals will cover homeostasis, animal responses to stimuli, the anatomy and physiology of organisms in the animal kingdom along with reproduction and development, the endocrine system, immunity, the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, respiration, excretion, digestion, and circulation of organisms in the animal kingdom. Questions regarding plants will cover asexual and sexual reproduction, water and nutrient transport systems, hormones, tropisms, photoperiods, the structure and function of leaves, stems, and the components of vascular and nonvascular plants. Questions regarding diversity of life will cover the viruses, animals, plants, bacteria, fungi, protists, the classification system of phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. Questions regarding evolution will cover the scientific hypotheses for the origin of life, and evidence that supports the theory of evolution. The genetics questions will cover protein synthesis, genetic mutations, DNA replication and, the construction and usage of recombinant DNA,
Your knowledge of the interaction between the environment and heredity, genetic and chromosomal aberrations that result in human genetic disorders, the Mendelian inheritance model, and aspects of non-Mendelian inheritance will be assessed in this section of the exam. Questions regarding this cell will cover mitosis and meiosis, photosynthesis and the chemical reactions of respiration, cytokinesis and a cell cycle, eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, and the function of organelles.
This section of the exam will cover physics and chemistry. The chemistry questions will cover solutions and solubility, chemical reactions, states of matter and the kinetic theory, chemical bonding, the mole, and periodicity. Your knowledge of pH and buffers, physical and chemical properties of salts, bases, and acids, the effect of pressure and temperature on solubility of a solute, solvents and the dissolving process will be assessed. In the chemical reactions section your knowledge of electrochemistry; the effect of concentration, pressure, temperature and catalysts on chemical reactions; exothermic and endothermic chemical reactions, and balancing chemical equations will be assessed. In the state of matter and kinetic theory section, questions concerning formation of crystals, phase changes, kinetic molecular theory; and the relationship between volume, pressure, temperature and the number of molecules of a gas will be included. Questions regarding chemical bonding and the mole will assess your knowledge of bonds, structural formulas, electron dots, the nomenclature of organic and inorganic compounds, chemical formulas, chemical composition and the mole concept. Questions regarding periodicity will assess your knowledge of periodic trends of chemical and physical properties, and the definition of chemical periodicity.
Scientific Methodologies, Techniques, and History
This section of the exam will cover topics like methods of scientific inquiry and how they are used in basic problem solving, the processes involved in scientific data collection and manipulation, how to interpret and draw conclusions from data presented in tables and graphs, safety and emergency procedures in the laboratory, and how to use standard equipment in the laboratory.
PRAXIS II Middle School: Science Practice Questions
1. Middle school students come to school with what information about science?
A. Background knowledge
B. Understanding of how things work
C. Perception of the physical world
D. All of the above
2. Science disciplines include:
D. All of the above
3. Which of the following is not a unifying principle in biology?
A. Cell theory
4. Which of the following is not part of the study of the earth sciences?
5. Astronomy studies:
A. the origins of the universe
B. the shape and structure of the planets
C. the measurement of time
D. All of the above
Answer Key For Middle School Science
1. Answer: D
Adolescents come to school with background knowledge and a basic understanding of how things work. They have reached conclusions based on their perception of the physical world and what they learned in previous classes. A wise teacher uses students’ knowledge and natural curiosity when introducing and explaining complicated scientific concepts. He builds on ideas already known and corrects any misconceptions.
Science has a history. Students need to be familiar with the socioeconomic environment in which a theory was introduced in order to truly understand why something did or did not work, why it may have been proven wrong, or why a better way was discovered with later experimentation.
In a science classroom, safety must always be a priority. Since it is an interactive area, it needs to be ventilated and appropriate safety equipment available, such as water, a fire extinguisher, protective gear, etc. The students need to understand how to operate the instruments in a safe manner, so instructions should be provided in writing as well as given verbally. Questions should be asked and answered before any activity is started.
2. Answer: D
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines science as “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.” Its Latin root is “scientia,” which means knowledge.
NATURAL SCIENCE is concerned with the natural world, while SOCIAL SCIENCE studies human behavior. Both may make use of empirical evidence, which is observable data that can be verified by other scientists working in similar situations under the same conditions.
FORMAL SCIENCE is the systematic study of a specific area It is essential to developing hypotheses, theories, and laws used in other scientific disciplines, i.e., describing how things work (natural science), how people think, and why they do what they do individually and as a society (social sciences). It is based on a priori evidence, which proceeds from a theory or assumption, rather than observable phenomena.
APPLIED SCIENCE makes use of the results of scientific research in any of the natural, social, and formal sciences and adapts it to address human needs.
3. Answer: B
Life science, or biology, is the study of living organisms, their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution. The word biology is Greek: “bio” means life, and “logos” means speech. Biology literally means, “to talk about life.” It became a separate science in the late nineteenth century when researchers discovered that all organisms shared basic traits.
Biology studies how living things began, divides them into species, describes what they do, and how they interact with and relate to each other and the rest of the natural world. There are four unifying principles in biology: cell theory, evolution, genetics, and homeostasis.
The disciplines in the life sciences are grouped by the organisms they study. Botany studies plants, zoology studies animals, and microbiology studies microorganisms. These groups are further divided into smaller, specialized categories based on the level at which they are studied and the methods used to study them. For instance, biochemistry studies the chemistry of life, while ecology studies how organisms interrelate in the natural world. Applied fields of the life sciences, such as medicine and genetic research, combine multiple specialized categories.
4. Answer: A
The earth sciences, or geosciences, study the earth, the only known life-bearing planet. This field is concerned with the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, and the atmosphere. These three working together create the conditions needed to sustain the biosphere, which is composed of all living organisms, i.e., life science or biology.
GEOLOGY is the study of the “origin, history, and structure of the earth,” its lithosphere. This earth science looks at when the earth was formed, how and why it formed as it did, and how and why it changes through the millenni. It studies soil and minerals, the core and mantle, and tectonic and seismic activity.
OCEANOGRAPHY is the “exploration of the ocean and its phenomena,” while HYDROLOGY studies the “properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth’s surface, soil, rocks, and atmosphere.” Both disciplines study water systems and marine life-the earth’s hydrosphere.
ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES study the “gaseous mass surrounding the earth,” its atmosphere. This field includes meteorology, climate and weather, and how they affect the earth and its organisms.
(NOTE: Definitions are from The American Heritage College Dictionary.)
5. Answer: D
Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. Man has been studying the sky for thousands of years When the telescope was invented sometime around 1600, the layman’s observation of the heavens gradually developed into the science of astronomy. It is one science where amateurs have made notable contributions while gazing at the sky through the backyard telescope.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines astronomy as “the study of matter in outer space, such as the positions, dimensions, energy, and evolution of the stars and planets.” It studies the evolution, physics, chemistry, and motion of celestial objects. Astronomy examines the origins of the universe, the shape and structure of planets, comets, asteroids and meteors, and how planets and their moons interact. It is concerned with the life span and traits of stars and galaxies and the measurement of time.
Astronomy is divided into two areas. Observational astronomy collects and analyzes data. Theoretical astronomy develops analytical models to explain celestial objects and phenomena. The two often work together: Theoretical astronomy explains observations, while observations confirm theoretical results.