Grade 2 Science

Within the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), there are three distinct and equally important dimensions to learning science. These dimensions are combined to form each standard—or performance expectation—and each dimension works with the other two to help students build a cohesive understanding of science over time.

We Are Scientists!

Unit Sketch

"We are Scientists!" is the first part of the NGSS launch. During the first weeks students learn about what scientists do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to develop explanations related to natural phenomena. They launch their Science Notebooks and use them to collect and analyze data from various observational activities and/or investigations. The focus is on observing and asking questions as well as trying one or more scientific practices to explore their scientific question.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Science is a way of knowing. Its purpose is to explain the natural and material world. Is it both a set of practices and the historical accumulation of knowledge.

  • Science involves wondering, investigating, questioning, data collecting and analyzing.

  • Scientists use a variety of tools and practices to answer questions about the world and its phenomena.

  • The scientific process is not linear. It is an ongoing process that may include one or more of these practices:

1. Asking questions

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information


Students will be able to...

  • Reflect on what science is and what scientists do

  • See, think, and wonder about a picture of nature

  • Apply scientific tools and practices

  • Reflect on "doing science"

"I Can Statements":

I can describe what science is and what scientists do.

I can describe ways in which scientists work.

I can tell the difference between an observation and an inference.

I can identify tools that a scientist uses.

We Are Engineers!

Unit Sketch

Students learn about what engineers do and what tools, practices, and processes they use to design solutions to problems. Students launch their Engineering & Design Notebooks and use the Design Process to participate in an Engineering Challenge.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Engineering begins with a problem.

  • Engineers use a variety of tools and methods to solve problems through a design process.

  • An engineer's design process includes these steps: Define the Problem, Do Research, Develop a Possible Solution, Design and Build a Prototype of the Solution, Test, Evaluate the Design Solution.

  • Engineers test solutions multiple times before succeeding at designing a solution that solves a problem.


Students will be able to...

  • Identify what engineering is and what it isn't

  • Apply engineering tools and practices (the design process)

  • Reflect on "doing engineering" via an engineering challenge

Structure and Properties of Matter

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students will develop an understanding of observable properties of materials. Students at this level will gain understanding through analysis and classification of different materials and formulating answers to questions around the structure and properties of matter. The Performance Expectations of this unit expect students to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, and analyzing and interpreting data.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • The structures of materials determine their properties.

  • Matter can be described, organized, and classified for understanding.

  • Science is the method of observation and investigation used to understand our world.


Students will be able to...

  • Plan and conduct an investigation to describe and classify different kinds of materials by their observable properties.

  • Ask questions to determine structure and function in an AMP (awesome materials phenomenon). (Use Question Formulation Technique to do this).

  • Classify materials based on similarities and differences and/or patterns of their properties (structure).

  • Make observations to show how objects can be constructed in different ways using the same materials.

  • Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.

Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students will explore how animals and plants rely on each other to live and grow. They will investigate what plants need in order to grow. Students will develop an understanding of how plants depend on animals to pollinate plants or disperse their seeds. They will develop a model that mimics how an animal functions in the dispersal of seeds or in the process of pollination.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Plants depend on water and light to grow.

  • Plants and animals depend on one another for survival.

  • The form and function of plant and animal structures are purposeful.

  • Scientists look for patterns and order when making observations about the world.


Students will be able to...

  • Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.

  • Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.

  • Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Earth's Systems: Processes That Change the Earth

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students explore the effects of wind and water on the Earth. They begin by looking at effects of wind and water over time, some of which happened quickly and some which happened slowly. Students make claims about these Earth changes, using observational evidence to justify their claims. The unit continues with a closer look at wind and water using hands-on inquiry lab experiences. Again, students make claims and use observational evidence to justify them. After students explore the effects of wind and water, they design and test multiple solutions for lessening their effect on land. The final bend focuses on Earth's water and landforms, culminating in a 2-D physical map.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand...

  • Earth changes over time through a variety of events. Some events are cyclical (tides) and some have a beginning and an end (landslide).

  • Processes that change the Earth can happen quickly or slowly.

  • The shape of land changes by natural forces such as wind and water.

  • Earth can change, but dikes, windbreaks, and natural resources can hold back the land.

  • Maps help to locate where kinds of land and bodies of water are located. Water can be found in oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds.


Students will be able to...

  • Make observations from several sources to explain natural phenomena

  • Compare and contrast pictures of slow and quick Earth changes, making claims and describing observational evidence

  • Explore the effect of wind and water on various landforms via Inquiry Labs

  • Explore the effect of vegetation and a variety of Earth materials on the rate of erosion

  • Identify forms of water on Earth

  • Identify various landforms on Earth

  • Create a map of water and landforms