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 Kindergarten, children will expand their awareness of their natural environment through the study of trees throughout the seasons. Additionally, children will expand their awareness of solids and liquids. Their experiences introduce them to the following concepts, skills and attitudes:
- Solids and liquids can be described by their properties.
- Some properties of solids are color, shape, ability to roll or stack, hardness, magnetic attraction and whether they float or sink
- Some properties of liquids are color, tendency to flow, degree of viscosity or fluidity, whether they are miscible with water, and whether they float or sink in water.
- Tests can be performed to investigate properties of solids and liquids that cannot otherwise be observed.
- Observe, compare, and describe structures of trees throughout the seasons.
- Observing and describing the properties of solids and liquids.
- Conducting tests to investigate the properties of solids and liquids.
- Sorting solids into groups on the basis of their properties.
- Comparing similarities and differences among solids.
- Comparing similarities and differences among liquids.
- Applying tests to investigate new solids and liquids.
- Comparing the properties of solids with the properties of liquids.
- Communicating ideas, observations, and experiences through writing, drawing and discussion.
- Comparing shapes, sizes and characteristics of trees and leaves.
- Planting and caring for trees.
- Describing observations using drawings and oral language.
- Accepting that there is more than one way to describe solids and liquids.
- Recognizing the importance of organizing information and results on charts.
- Developing an interest in investigating the physical world.
- Developing a curiosity of living things in our world.