Science Curriculum

K-4 Science Curriculum

Kindergarten

Earth Science

scienceTrees and Weather: The Trees and Weather Module provides systematic investigations of trees and leaves over the seasons to bring students to a better understanding of trees’ place at school and in the community. Students will observe day-to-day changes in weather over the year, as well as the impact weather has on living things.

Students will:

  • Observe and compare trees, using the senses.
  • Observe and compare the shapes of leaves; compare leaf shapes to geometric shapes.
  • Identify trees as resources that are used in everyday life.
  • Observe weather by using senses and simple tools.
  • Communicate observations made about different kinds of trees, leaves, and weather conditions orally and through drawings.
  • Observe and record seasonal changes to living things.

Physical Science

Materials in our World: The Materials in Our World Module provides experiences that heighten students’ awareness, curiosity, and understanding of the physical world as they observe and compare the properties of a variety of kinds of wood, paper, fabric, and earth materials. Students discover what happens when they subject the materials to a number of tests and interactions.

Students will:

  • Observe and compare physical properties of different kinds of wood samples, using the senses.
  • Observe and compare properties and structures of different kinds of paper and fabric.
  • Observe how wood, paper, and fabric interact with water.
  • Explore the technology of making wood products.
  • Observe and describe how and where fabrics are used.
  • Observe, describe, and mix earth materials with water to observe properties.
  • Communicate observations made about different kinds of materials, orally and through drawings.
  • Use knowledge of the properties of materials to create useful and/or aesthetic objects.

Life Science

Animals 2by2: Animals Two by Two provides young students with close and personal interaction with some common land and water animals. Students observe differences in structure and behavior and learn about basic needs of animals.

Students will:

  • Observe and describe the structures of a variety of common animals–fish, snails, earthworms, and isopods.
  • Compare structures and behaviors of different pairs of animals.
  • Observe interactions of animals with their surroundings.
  • Communicate observations and comparisons orally and through drawings.
  • Handle animals carefully, and participate in the care and feeding of classroom animals. Describe the basic needs of animals.

First Grade

Earth Science

Pebbles, Sand and Silt: The Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Module provides experiences of Earth’s natural resources– rocks, soil, and water–and provides opportunities for students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Students explore the natural world by using simple tools to observe and describe properties of earth materials.

Students will:

  • Observe and compare physical properties of rocks and soils, using various tools.
  • Rub rocks together and observe that they break into smaller pieces.
  • Use screens to separate and group river rocks by particle size, and investigate properties of pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, and clay particles.
  • Explore places where earth materials are naturally found and ways that earth materials are used.
  • Use sand to make sculptures and clay to make beads, jewelry, and bricks.
  • Find, collect, record, and compare samples of soil outside the classroom.

Physical science

Balance and Motion: We live in a dynamic world where everything is in motion in different ways, as objects, move from one place to another, vibrate, or rotate around and around. Still other things are stationary, stable for a time, balanced on a thin line between stop and go. These are the global phenomena that students experience in the Balance and Motion Module.

Students will:

  • Create and use representational models to demonstrate stable balanced systems.
  • Plan and execute examples of stable balanced systems.
  • Discover different ways to produce rotational motion.
  • Construct and evaluate toys that demonstrate spinning, and explain how they operate.
  • Design runways to control or change the motion of marbles.
  • Communicate observations and compare stability and motion, using precise vocabulary.
  • Plan and carry out investigations with sound and with magnetic force.
  • Analyze and interpret observational data.

Life science

Plants and Animals:  The Plants and Animals Module provides experiences with structures of plants, so that students discover ways to propagate new plants from mature plants (from seeds, bulbs, roots, and stem cuttings). Students build a terrarium and provide for the needs of both plants and animals living together in a classroom habitat.

Students will:

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in plants as living things.
  • Provide for the needs of growing plants and animals.
  • Observe and describe the changes that occur as plants grow and develop.
  • Observe and describe structures of flowering plants (root, stem, leaf) and become familiar with their functions.
  • Discover various ways that new plants can develop from mature plants.
  • Compare the basic needs of common plants and animals.
  • Experience some of the diversity of forms in the plant and animal kingdoms and become aware of features that help plants and animals thrive in different habitats.
  • Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.

Second Grade

Earth Science

Air and Weather:  The Air and Weather Module provides experiences that heighten primary students’ awareness, curiosity, and understanding of Earth’s dynamic atmosphere, and provides opportunities for young students to engage in scientific and engineering practices. Students explore the natural world by using simple instruments to observe and monitor change.

Students will:

  • Discover properties of air by observing interactions of air with objects.
  • Demonstrate that compressed air can be used to make things move.
  • Construct parachutes, pinwheels, and kites, and observe how they interact with air.
  • Use weather instruments, including a thermometer, an anemometer, and a wind vane, to measure air conditions.
  • Observe and describe daily weather on a calendar; record observations using pictures, words, and data.
  • Graph weather observations to look for patterns in local weather conditions, precipitation, and temperature throughout the seasons.
  • Monitor and record the changing appearance of the moon over a month.

Physical science

Solids and Liquids: The Solids and Liquids Module provides opportunities for students to observe, describe properties and behaviors of solids and liquids, as well as engage in scientific and engineering practices. Students observe that matter exists in three fundamental states: solid, liquid, and gas.

Students will:

  • Investigate and sort objects based on their properties.
  • Observe, describe, and compare the properties and behaviors of solids and liquids.
  • Record observations with pictures, numbers, and words.
  • Recognize the properties of solid materials that make them appropriate for tower construction; build towers.
  • Combine and separate solid materials of different particle sizes using tools.
  • Observe, describe, and record what happens when solids and water are mixed and when liquids and water are mixed.
  • Use knowledge to conduct an investigation on an unknown material (toothpaste).
  • Observe and describe changes when solids and liquids are heated and cooled.

Life Science

Insects and Plants: The Insects and Plants Module provides experiences with the life sequences of a number of insects so that students learn that organisms reproduce offspring of their own kind. At the same time, students grow a plant from seeds and observe brassica go through its life cycle to produce new seeds.

Students will:

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in insects and flowering plants and an appreciation for them as living things.
  • Provide for the needs of insects and plants and observe them over time.
  • Observe the similarities and differences of the life sequences that different types of insects exhibit (simple and complete metamorphosis).
  • Compare the life cycles of different kinds of animals and learn that organisms reproduce offspring of their own kind.
  • Observe variations within a group of insects.
  • Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing and use bar graphs to record data.
  • Use magnifiers to observe and draw organisms.
  • Write or draw a sequence of steps for an event.

Third Grade

Earth Science: Water

Water is the most important substance on Earth. Water dominates the surface of our planet, changes the face of the land, and defines life. The Water Module provides students with experiences to explore the properties of water, changes in water, interactions between water and other earth materials, and how humans use water as a natural resource.
DSC_0842
Students will:

  • Conduct surface-tension experiments.
  • Observe and explain the interaction between masses of water at different temperatures and masses of water in liquid and solid states.
  • Construct a thermometer to observe that water expands as it warms and contracts as it cools.
  • Investigate the effect of surface area and air temperature on evaporation, and the effect of temperature on condensation.
  • Investigate what happens when water is poured through two earth materials–soil and gravel.
  • Design and construct a waterwheel and use it to lift or pull objects.
  • Use field techniques to compare how well several soils drain.

Physical Science

Measuring Matter: Measurement, the process of quantifying observations, compares nature to a standard unit allowing the organization of the world to become more comprehensible. The Measuring Matter Module introduces students to tools and procedures for comparing matter in its common states of solid, liquid, and gas.

Students will:

  • Apply the conventions of measurement– accuracy, position, orientation, and repetition.
  • Use tools to make accurate measurements and represent measurements by using numbers and units; use measurement data to construct explanations.
  • Plan a procedure, and apply it to solve a problem.
  • Use tables and graphs to organize and display data for analysis.
  • Weigh materials to confirm conservation of matter.
  • Investigate the relationship between phase change and heating and cooling.
  • Make and separate a number of simple mixtures; mix materials to observe solutions and reactions.

Life Science

Butterflies and Moths: Students explore the colorful, captivating world of moths and butterflies. From tiny larvae on beds of food to fluttering adults in a mesh tower, butterflies and moths grow and develop.

Students will:

  • Observe the complete life cycle of two species of insects.
  • Describe the structure and function of the insect body parts.
  • Compare and contrast the patterns of growth.
  • Provide for the needs of a living organism over time.

Fourth Grade

Earth Science

Sun, Moon and Planet: The Sun, Moon, and Planets Module focuses on Earth’s place in the solar system. Students collect and analyze shadow data. Students make and interpret a model of the Earth, Moon, and Sun system as well as observe changes in the Moon’s appearance over time.

Students will:

  • Observe and compare shadows during a school day.
  • Relate the position of the Sun in the sky to the size and orientation of an object’s shadow.
  • Use celestial models to explain day and night.
  • Observe and record changes in the Moon’s appearance every day for a month.
  • Analyze observational data to discover the sequence of changes that occur during the Moon’s phase cycle.
  • Make and interpret a model of the Earth, Moon, and Sun system.
  • Record and display the organization of the solar system graphically.
  • Identify several constellations as stable, predictable patterns of stars.
  • Use models to build explanations.
  • Use tools to collect and analyze data to develop logical conclusions about planetary objects in the sky.

Physical science

Electricity and electromagnetism: The electricity and electromagnetism module introduces or reinforces concepts in physical science dealing with energy and change. Students experience electricity and magnetism as related effects and learn useful applications of electromagnetism in everyday life.

Students will:

  • Ask questions that can be answered about electricity and magnetism.
  • Plan and conduct investigations about electromagnetism; record and organize data using appropriate tools for the task.
  • Analyze observations; build reasonable explanations; discuss and justify the merits of explanations.
  • Conduct an experiment to determine how the force of attraction between two magnets changes with the distance between the magnets.
  • Conduct an experiment to determine how the number of winds in an electromagnet coil affects the strength of the magnetism.
  • Design and build a model telegraph system.
  • Use tools and techniques to make observations and build explanations about light.

Life Science

Structures of life: In the Structures of Life Module, students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms. Students observe and describe the life cycles of plants and animals, observe the characteristics of the human body, and explore food chains.

Students will:

  • Observe and compare properties of seeds and fruits.
  • Investigate the effect of water on seeds.
  • Observe, describe, and record structures of germinated seeds and learn their functions for the growing plant.
  • Describe and compare different kinds of germinated seeds.
  • Grow plants hydroponically and observe the life cycle of a bean plant, focusing on structures and functions.
  • Observe and record crayfish structural and behavioral adaptations.
  • Use knowledge of crayfish requirements to maintain the organisms in the classroom.
  • Organize data about crayfish territorial behavior.
  • Study skeletal systems using bones, images, and models.
  • Collect, organize, and analyze data from life science investigations to build explanations.

Middle School Science Curriculum

5th and 6th Grade

scienceUpperSoil, rock and land forms: Geology is the study of our planet’s earth materials and natural resources. The Soils, Rocks, and Landforms Module provides students with firsthand experiences with soils, rocks, and minerals, and modeling experiences to study changes to rocks and landforms at Earth’s surface.

Students will:

  • Investigate the processes of physical and chemical weathering of rocks and minerals.
  • Investigate the composition of soils from four different locations; observe and compare local soils.
  • Use stream tables to investigate how the slow processes of erosion and deposition alter landforms; predict the results of a student designed stream-table investigation, and then compare actual results to predictions.
  • Use physical tools and a table of diagnostic properties to make observations and identify minerals in common rocks.
  • Make observations and interpret them to develop explanations in the way that scientists do.
  • Observe how earth materials are used in the community around school, and consider the ways people impact natural resources.

Weather on Earth: The constant renewal of water on Earth’s land surfaces by the activities in the atmosphere is one of the defining characteristics of Earth, the water planet. The Weather on Earth Module provides students with experiences to explore the properties of the atmosphere, energy transfer from the Sun to Earth, and the dynamics of weather and water cycling in Earth’s atmosphere.

Students will:

  • Investigate properties of air.
  • Describe the atmosphere, using visual displays.
  • Use weather instruments to measure temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed.
  • Conduct experiments with heating of earth materials and with solar water heaters to build explanations.
  • Investigate the conditions that cause condensation and evaporation as part of the water cycle.
  • Interpret the data displayed on weather maps and look for patterns over time.

Physical Science

The Motion, Force, and Models Module focuses on the physical science concepts of motion and force. Students observe different systems, consider energy movements, and develop models to explain how something works.

Students will:

  • Ask questions about systems in the natural and designed worlds including pendulums, springs, pulleys, and ramps and balls.
  • Design and conduct controlled experiments to find out what variables affect the transfer of energy.
  • Use data and logic to construct and communicate reasonable explanations about forces and motion.
  • Work with others as scientists and engineers to create conceptual and physical models to explain how something works.
  • Plan designs, select materials, construct products, evaluate, and improve ideas to meet specific criteria

Mixtures and Solutions: Chemistry is the study of the structure of matter and the changes or transformations that take place within those structures. The Mixtures and Solutions Module introduces students to the properties and behaviors of substances and changes in substances–fundamental ideas in chemistry.

Students will:

  • Make and separate mixtures, using screens, filters, and evaporation.
  • Measure solids and liquids to compare the mass of a mixture to the mass of its parts.
  • Use a balance to determine relative concentration. Layer solutions to determine relative density (concentration).
  • Plan and conduct saturation investigations.
  • Compare the solubility of substances in water.
  • Identify an unknown substance based on the properties of solubility and crystal form.
  • Observe and compare reactants and products of several chemical reactions.

Life Science

Environments: Through the study of different ecosystems, students build an understanding of the relationships between organisms and their environments. The Environments Module focuses on the concepts that organisms need energy and matter to live and grow, and that living organisms depend on one another and on their environment for their survival and the survival of populations.
DSC_0840
Students will:

  • Determine an organism’s environmental preferences for various nonliving environmental factors to better understand the environment in which it will survive.
  • Maintain organisms in the classroom in a classroom environment to develop concepts of environmental factor, range of tolerance, and optimum conditions for survival.
  • Observe and record changes in organisms and their environment over time.
  • Identify and describe ecosystem feeding relationships.
  • Use modeling to construct representations of the natural world and make predictions about changes in populations.
  • Conduct controlled experiments with organisms to discover their range of tolerance for environmental factors.
  • Graph and interpret data from multiple trials from experiments, and build explanations from evidence.

Diversity of life: This course introduces students to the big picture of life on Earth. Students discover that all living things, despite their complexity, share the same basic characteristics. Students learn that all organisms (bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals) are composed of cells, and that a single cell is the fundamental unit of life. Students explore the relationship of organisms to their environment, and recognize life as a temporary condition experienced for various lengths of time by all living things. It is our hope that, in their efforts to answer the question “What is life?” students will develop an appreciation for the awesome diversity of life on Earth and a personal interest in life in all its forms.

Grades 7-8

Earth Science

Planetary Science: The study of the relationship between Earth, Sun, and the Moon is expanded so that students develop a more thorough understanding of the local cosmos, including the organization of the solar system and the reason for the seasons.

Earth History: Students investigate sedimentary rocks and fossils from the Grand Canyon to discover clues that reveal Earth’s history. They study the processes that created the rocks. Students then use the knowledge and data from rock observations to make inferences about organisms, environments, and events that occurred over Earth’s history.

Physical Science

Energy, Chemistry, Life Science: In collaboration with the Technion Institute in Israel, learning units are being developed to teach chemistry concepts in correlation with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Life Science

Populations and Ecosystems: An ecosystem is the largest organizational unit of life on Earth, defined by a physical environment and the organisms that make their living there. Students learn that every organism has a role to play in its ecosystem, and has structures and behaviors that allow it to survive. This course provides the first steps of ecological understanding for students, with the hope that their future steps will be considered and measured, with the interests of all life being served.