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 two, these topics are SOILS, THE LIFE CYCLE OF BUTTERFLIES, and BALANCING AND WEIGHING.
In SOILS, using simple tests, students learn to identify sand, clay, and humus in soil. They also study how water affects different kinds of soil. Through long-term experiments, they explore how roots and plants grow in various soils and how, with the help of worms, old plants decompose and become part of soil. Then, applying what they have learned, they investigate their own local soil.
In the LIFE CYCLE OF BUTTERFLIES, children are introduced to the concept of life cycles by using the Painted Lady butterfly. The students will learn observational and recording skills and add to their scientific vocabulary. They will relate this information to other living organisms. BALANCING AND WEIGHING introduces students to the relationship between balance and weight. Experiences with a beam balance introduce students to the concept that amount of weight, position of weight, and position of the fulcrum affect balance. This unit also provides students with a variety of experiences and materials that help them build conceptual models for further investigations in the physical sciences.
Always building upon prior knowledge and understandings, students will use the following vocabulary words in the study of science in grade two:
- life cycle
- life span
- balance (scale)