Students in the elementary grades, kindergarten through grade four, have a rich curriculum that provides learning experiences that allow students to build understanding of science processes skills and content knowledge through active involvement with materials and equipment in hands-on activities. These skills start with age appropriate observations made through measuring, questioning, and recording. They then examine the patterns that exist in those observations, and build understanding of how those patterns lead to scientific principles or “Big Ideas” in science. Understanding science requires that an individual integrates many types of knowledge including: The fundamental principles of science, the interconnectedness between these principles, the use of these principles to explain and predict natural phenomena, and ways to transfer this knowledge to other related situations.
Students study processes such as the inquiry nature of science, and concepts in the domains of physical science, life science, earth and space science, and technology.
In kindergarten there are two life science units. Students learn to compare and contrast characteristics of themselves and others in Myself and Others. In The Senses they learn how to make observations and collect data using their five senses.
In grade 1 physical science unit, Sound & Lights, science students investigate these essential questions:
- What makes sound?
- What affects can sound have on different materials?
- How can sound be used to communicate in different ways?
- How does light interact with different materials?
- How does a shadow form?
Students explore the unit Insects in the Life Science Strand. What do insects need to survive? How do parts of insects and insect behaviors help them survive and grow? How are the life cycles of insects alike/different? How are plants and insects dependent on one another? They also investigate the properties of air and what makes weather in the unit Air and Weather in the Earth/Space strand.
In grade 2, Physical Science strand, science students investigate different types of materials and how and why things balance in Balancing and Weighing unit. In Plant Interactions in the World, they look at seeds and the life cycle of a plant in the Life Science unit, Reading the Landscape.
- Where and in what form can water be found on our planet?
- What types of landforms make up our planet?
- How can we communicate the types of landforms and bodies of water there are in a given area?
- How does water and wind affect the shape of our land?
- How can humans reduce the impact of wind and water on our land?
In grade 3, students investigate electric current and construct circuits, switches, and fuses in the Circuits and Pathways unit of the Physical Science strand. In the Life Science strand students study the behaviors and habitat of the crayfish in Animal Adaptations: Crayfish. Students study the properties of water in all of its phases in the Water unit of the Earth Science strand. Students may participate in an astronomy program, StarLab.
In grade 4, in the Physical Science unit, Sound, students explore pitch, volume, frequency and amplitude of sounds made on instruments they make in the classroom. Students investigate what makes plants grow and do Experiments with Fast Plants in the Life Science strand. Students study Landforms and Earth Materials in the Earth Science strand as they engage in inquiry-based activities to investigate earth materials, rocks and minerals, and the processes of erosion and deposition.
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