Students in kindergarten through fifth grade develop an understanding of the physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences. They engage in the scientific practices of asking questions; developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; analyzing and interpreting data; developing explanations; engaging in argument from evidence; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
In kindergarten, students formulate answers to such questions as What happens if you push or pull an object harder? Where do animals live, and why do they live there? What is the weather like today, and how is it different from yesterday? Students develop understanding of patterns and variations in local weather and the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather. They investigate the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of objects. Students also develop understanding of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive and the relationship between their needs and where they live.
In first grade, students formulate answers to such questions as What happens when materials vibrate? What happens when there is no light? What are some ways plants and animals meet their needs so that they can survive and grow? How are parents and their children similar and different? What objects are in the sky, and how do they seem to move? Students develop understanding of the relationship between sound and vibrating materials as well as between the availability of light and ability to see objects. They investigate the idea that light travels from place to place by determining the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light. They also develop understanding of how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs as well as how behaviors of parents and offspring help the offspring survive. Students observe that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly the same as, their parents. They also observe, describe, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the sky.
In second grade, students formulate answers to such questions as How does land change, and what are some things that cause it to change? What are the different kinds of land and bodies of water? How are materials similar and different from one another, and how do the properties of the materials relate to their use? What do plants need to grow? How many types of living things live in a place? Students develop understanding of what plants need to grow and how plants depend on animals for seed dispersal and pollination. They also study and compare the diversity of life in different habitats. They develop understanding of observable properties of materials through analysis and classification of different materials. Students investigate how wind and water can change the shape of the land. They also identify and represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area and where water is found on Earth.
Third-grade students formulate answers to such questions as What is typical weather in different parts of the world and at different times of the year? How can the impact of weather-related hazards be reduced? How do organisms vary in their traits? How are past plants, animals, and environments similar or different from current plants, animals, and environments? What happens to organisms when their environment changes? How do equal and unequal forces on an object affect it? How can magnets be used? Students organize and use data to describe typical weather conditions expected each season. They learn about weather-related hazards and how impacts might be reduced. They develop an understanding of the similarities and differences of organisms’ life cycles. They also learn that organisms have different inherited traits and that the environment can affect these traits. They learn that variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may be advantageous. Students develop an understanding of types of organisms that lived long ago and their likely environments. They also develop an understanding that when the environment changes, some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die. They investigate the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object and the cause-and-effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
In fourth grade, students formulate answers to such questions as What are waves, and what are some things they can do? How can water, ice, wind, and vegetation change the land? What patterns of Earth’s features can be determined with the use of maps? How do internal and external structures support the survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction of plants and animals? What is energy, and how is it related to motion? How is energy transferred? Students describe patterns of waves in terms of amplitude and wavelength as well as the ability of waves to cause objects to move. The students develop understanding of the effects of weathering or erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation and how those effects can be reduced. Students analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features. They also develop an understanding that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. By developing a model, they describe that an object can be seen when light reflected from its surface enters the eye. Students use evidence to construct an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object. They also develop an understanding that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions.
Fifth-grade students formulate answers to such questions as When matter changes, does its weight change? How much water can be found in different places on Earth? Can new substances be created by combining other substances? How does matter cycle through ecosystems? Where does the energy in food come from, and what is it used for? How do lengths and directions of shadows or relative lengths of day and night change from day to day, and how does the appearance of some stars change in different seasons? The students describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen through the development of a model. They develop an understanding that regardless of the type of change that matter undergoes, the total weight is conserved. They determine whether the mixing of two or more substances results in new substances. Using a model, students describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. They describe and graph data to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth. Students develop an understanding that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water. They describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment and that energy in animals’ food was once energy from the sun. Students develop an understanding of patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
Students in middle school continue to develop an understanding of the physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences. They continue to understand science concepts by engaging in the same scientific practices they used in kindergarten through the fifth grade: asking questions; developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; analyzing and interpreting data; using mathematical and computational thinking; constructing explanations; engaging in argument from evidence; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
Students are engaged in scientific practices as they study physical and earth/space concepts. They investigate the physical science concepts of structure and properties of matter as well as the forces on and interactions between moving objects (and the resulting change). The earth/space concepts include Earth-sun-moon relationships; Earth’s structure, materials, and geologic processes; and the resulting surface features as well as weather and climate patterns.
Students are engaged in scientific practices as they study life and physical science concepts. They investigate life science concepts of structure and function as well as the cycling of matter and flow of energy in organisms and ecosystems. The physical science concepts include energy, energy transfer and conservation, types of interactions involving forces at a distance (i.e., electric, magnetic, and gravitational), and wave properties and applications.
Students are engaged in scientific practices as they study life and earth science concepts. They investigate life science concepts of the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on population dynamics, natural selection and adaptation, and the inheritance and variation of a species’ traits. The earth science concepts include Earth’s geologic time scale and human impacts on Earth’s systems, both positive (e.g., predicting and diminishing catastrophic natural events) and negative (e.g., global climate change and depletion of natural resources).
Students in high school continue to develop their understanding of the physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences. The concepts allow high school students to build on the middle school ideas and scientific practices. Students articulate a more in-depth understanding as they continue to understand science concepts by engaging in the same scientific practices they used in kindergarten through the eighth grade: asking questions; developing and using models; planning and carrying out investigations; analyzing and interpreting data; using mathematical and computational thinking; constructing explanations; engaging in argument from evidence; and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
Integrated Science IA/Conceptual Physics
Students develop an understanding of forces on objects, their interactions and Newton’s Second Law, both conceptually and mathematically. Students also develop understanding that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force acting on it. Using scientific laws, students describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects. They investigate energy transfer and conservation, and they develop the understanding that energy depends on the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within a system. Students also understand that the energy change in a system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of that system. They understand that this energy can be accounted for as either motions of particles or energy stored in fields. Students also study waves, their properties, and how technological devices use waves to transmit and capture information and energy. Students apply this knowledge to explain how shifting of light spectra provides evidence for the Big Bang Theory and an expanding universe. They also develop understanding of the relationships among interior thermal convection, plate tectonics, and Earth’s land and sea-floor features.
Integrated Science IB/Chemistry
Students develop an understanding of the substructure of atoms and use the understanding to provide explanations of the properties of substances. Chemical reactions, including rates of the reaction and energy changes, are understood by students in the terms of collisions of molecules and rearrangement of atoms. Students develop mathematical understanding that mass is conserved before and after a chemical reaction. They use the periodic table as a tool to explain and predict the properties of elements. Students also develop an understanding of nuclear fission, fusion, and radioactive decay. With this expanded knowledge of chemical reactions, students explain important biological and geophysical happenings in the world. Students apply this chemical knowledge to explain the Big Bang Theory in terms of the composition of matter in the universe—and to understand how stars produce elements throughout their life cycle. The students also develop an understanding of how carbon cycles through the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. They apply this knowledge to describe how Earth’s climate has been impacted over the years by changes in human activity.
Students develop an understanding of cellular function and the essential role that proteins play in the work of cells and living systems. They also investigate photosynthesis, respiration, and the cycling of matter and flow of energy in organisms. Students develop understanding of the genetic variation in a population and why individuals of the same species vary in how they look, function, and behave. Students also investigate the role this variation plays in the process of natural selection. They understand the mechanisms of genetic inheritance and describe the environmental and genetic causes of gene mutation. The students apply this knowledge to understand the complex interdependencies and significant environmental impacts of human activities.