KG2 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 a two to four-week NGSS launch. 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. It is 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

Skills:

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"
  • Use "I Can Statements":
    1. I can describe the job of a scientist.
    2. I can describe ways in which scientists work.
    3. I can identify tools that a scientist uses.

We Are Engineers!

Unit Sketch

In this unit, 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 that...

  • Design Thinking and Engineering both begin with defining a problem.
  • Design Thinking uses "empathy" and is focused more on human problems and solving them through creative thinking. Engineering uses math and is focused more on building a solution and proving that it works.
  • Both Design Thinkers and Engineers use a variety of tools and methods to solve problems through a design process.
  • An Engineer's design process includes these steps:
  1. Define the Problem,
  2. Do Research,
  3. Develop a Possible Solution,
  4. Design and Build a Prototype,
  5. Test,
  6. Evaluate the Design Solution
  • Engineers test solutions multiple times before succeeding at designing a solution that solves a problem.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Describe what engineering is
  • Apply engineering tools and practices (the design process)
  • Reflect on "doing engineering" via an engineering challenge
  • Use "I Can" Statements:
  1. I can describe the job of an engineer.
  2. I can describe ways in which engineers solve problems.
  3. I can identify the tools that an engineer uses.
  4. I can identify the steps in the Engineering Design Process.

Animals, Plants, and Their Environments

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive. They construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.

Students use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live. They communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.
  • Plants and animals can change their environment to meet wants and needs.
  • Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need. Humans use natural resources for everything they do.
  • Things that people do to live comfortably can affect the world around them. But they can make choices that reduce their impacts on the land, water, air, and other living things.
  • Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models. These representations are useful in communicating ideas for a problem’s solutions to other people.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Tell which things are living and which things are non-living.
  • Differentiate between a "want" and a "need".
  • Tell what animals need to survive. (observation-based)
  • Tell what plants need to survive. (observation-based)
  • Build a habitat for an animal and include what that animal needs to survive.
  • Make a claim about how my animal changes its environment and use evidence from my diorama/model to support that claim.
  • Show the relationship between the plants and animals in a habitat.
  • Describe the impact of human activity on animals.

Weather and Climate

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students become weather watchers, charting the daily observable weather phenomena throughout the year. This unit is first set up early in the year as a part of the classroom's daily routine. Then, later in the year, the data collected is used to more deeply study weather, forecasting, and sunlight's effects on the Earth. Students take part in Weather Activity Dice Explorations to respond appropriately to future weather events. Students participate in Sunlight Inquiries to test sun's effect on various objects on the Earth. Finally, as an Engineering Design Challenge, students brainstorm, design, build, and test a structure for protecting an ice cube from the sun.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • Patterns in the natural and human designed world can be observed, used to describe phenomena, and used as evidence.
  • Events have causes that generate observable patterns.

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Identify the components of weather (sun, wind, snow or rain, temperature)
  • Observe, collect data, and discuss local weather
  • Collect and discuss data related to winter break destinations
  • Use weather data (forecasts) to determine appropriate clothing and/or tools

Forces and Interactions: Pushes and Pulls

Unit Sketch

In this unit, students explore motion through a study of pushes and pulls. Using a variety of tools (yo-yos, cars, pull toys, dominoes, marble mazes, cardboard ramps), students experiment with decreasing and increasing the strength and distance of pushes and pulls on objects and gather observational data. Students test multiple design solutions to problems related to pushes and pulls. The unit concludes with a Push and Pull Interactive Museum in which students demonstrate the concepts they have discovered, explaining in words and in pictures what happens when various objects are pushed and pulled. Students will plan and conduct an investigation.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • Pushes and pulls can have different strengths and direction
  • Pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction of its motion and can start or stop it
  • When objects touch or collide, they push on one another and can change motion
  • A bigger push or pull makes things speed up or slow down more quickly
  • Pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction
  • Pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions
  • When objects touch or collide, they push on one another and can change the motion
  • A bigger push or pull makes things speed up or slow down more quickly

Skills:

Students will be able to...

  • Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
  • Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.