In the 21st century a person must be armed with a science overview to adapt to the extraordinary changes that will occur, to be employed by the new industries that will emerge, and to participate in the decisions that society will make. The key is education and programs such as Science and Technology for Children (STC) and Full Option Science Systems (FOSS) to give every student science content and science process needed to develop scientific literacy.
Our elementary science program places an emphasis on acquiring skills, knowledge and attitudes toward science through active involvement in hands-on activities. The heart of the program is problem solving. Students are actively engaged in situations which begin with their questions and take them through the process of inquiry. Students gather information to help them find answers to their questions using the data they have collected.
Because many of the ideas being studied have direct relation to other disciplines, students are encouraged to make connections. We provide literature and other resources to foster such connections. Teachers are encouraged to enrich science instruction with topics of interest to their students and themselves. The catalyst for such studies may be student-generated questions, teacher or parent interest or current events. Problem solving is the common thread which ties these topical studies to our core curriculum.
Teachers assess student progress by observing their development as observers, hypothesizers, careful data gatherers and generalizers and by watching them work, reviewing their journals, and assessing their written and oral responses.
Our core program includes a unit of study that includes hands-on activities, specific scientific skill development (observing, measuring, comparing, predicting, estimating, and describing), problem solving, and assessment.
In grade one these topics are CHANGES and ORGANISMS. In the CHANGES unit, students expand their understanding of solids, liquids, and gases by exploring changes in state. They investigate freezing, melting, evaporation, and condensation of water. In a se-quence of lessons, students produce a mixture of two solids and a mixture of two solids with liquids and observe the results. This unit focuses on the foundations of scientific inquiry as students conduct simple investigations to observe everyday changes. Students make and record observations, mix substances, and observe the formation of new substances. They explore concepts from physical science, such as the ability of objects to react with other substances and changes of state.
ORGANISMS gives children the opportunity to explore the likenesses and differences between plants and animals and thereby, to become more aware of the diversity of life. As they investigate a variety of organisms, students discover that organisms have certain basic needs, such as food and water. In addition, they learn that organisms have certain specific needs–needs specific to the type of organism–such as type of water, range of temperature, and type of food. In observing and taking care of a number of different plants and animals, students begin to develop positive attitudes and a sensitivity toward living things.
Always building upon prior knowledge and understandings, students will use the following vocabulary words in the study of science in grade one: