As usual, I'd like to encourage you to buck the trend, especially as a middle or high school teacher. Tradition would tell you to spend the first day of school waxing poetic about all of your expectations and rules, establishing procedures so you, too, can be the next Harry Wong. I operate under a different assumption I assume that my 7th graders have enough of a grasp of school rules and procedures that I don't have to bore them on the first day.
How would the tone of your class be different if you started school with a demonstration, a discrepant event, or even (gasp) a hands-on activity? I'm not suggesting that you never discuss rules or procedures. I'm just suggesting that you make your first impression count.
Because of my background in elementary education and as a school librarian, I like to begin my classes with a read aloud. Each year I try to pick one that connects to science but also encourages and empowers my students. This year, I've chosen Rosie Revere, Engineer.
Regardless of what you do on the first day, please throw out that Scientific Method unit so that you won't be tempted to launch into it this year. For more information about why to avoid teaching the scientific method, see my article on page 3 of this newsletter. Good luck encouraging, inspiring, and empowering your learners this year.