Elementary Science

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are the anchor for the Science Curriculum.  The curriculum relative to these standards is still evolving.  Embedding science practices (the behaviors of scientists), crosscutting concepts (those ideas that link all domains of science), and disciplinary core ideas (the science content) is the work that has and will continue to happen relative to the written curriculum.  Including strong, real-world science phenomena has been essential to the development of successful units of study.

The heart of the shift in curriculum has been ensuring that students are the ones “doing the science”.  In part, this includes having students observe, model their thinking visually, collaborate, engage in discourse, trial and experiment, and revise their thinking based on a science phenomenon.  The chosen science phenomenon is introduced at the beginning of a unit prior to students reading or otherwise learning about the science content associated with the phenomenon.  The infusion of science content then happens in doses over the course of the unit.  This sequencing is often the reverse of previous science instruction where students would be given the science content first, and then conduct an experiment or activity that matches the content.  Having students “do the science” has strong alignment to the overarching emphasis on developing self-directed learners and certainly engages them in complex thinking.

Elementary Science Content/Unit Overview

Grade K

  • Weather
  • Pushes and Pulls
  • Plants and Animals

Grade 1

  • Properties and States of Matter
  • Soil
  • Plants

Grade 2

  • Weather
  • Force and Motion: Lift a Lion
  • Life Cycles

Grade 3

  • Habitats
  • States of Matter: Heating and Cooling
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Rocks and Minerals

Grade 4

  • Force and Motion: Push and Pull, Mass and Motion
  • Electrical Circuits and Energy Transformations
  • Magnet Properties, Movement, and Testing
  • The Role of Water: Cycles, Sun, System, Sources & Earth Interactions
  • Ecosystems: Living and Nonliving Interactions, Survival, and Extinction

Grade 5

  • Living Things
  • Earth Systems
  • Changes in Matter
  • Earth, the Moon, and the Stars

Grade 6

  • Earth’s Place in the Universe
  • Ecosystems
  • Earth and Human Activity
  • Earth’s Systems
  • Molecules to Organisms
  • Waves