Science

The Lower School science program seeks to encourage children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. Students are engaged in interdisciplinary, experiential activities that help them develop proficiency in the processes of scientific inquiry. They observe closely and ask questions, design ways to generate and test hypotheses, conduct experiments, and discuss what they have learned. Integration of science with language, math, social studies, and the arts provides a rich, meaningful experience that helps children understand concepts in greater depth, with stronger retention and increased enjoyment.

In addition, Lower School science teachers strive to plan flexibly in order to respond to and facilitate the pursuit of children’s interests. Often, science learning results from unplanned observations or experiments designed to answer spontaneous questions. Such opportunities are the lifeblood of genuine scientific inquiry, and they are welcomed in this curriculum. Thus, this curriculum reflects only part of the science learning that takes place each year. The following are the major science goals for each grade level of the Lower School. For clarity of explanation, they are divided broadly into two categories—life science and physical science—and by grade level.

Science - Early Childhood

The major goals for early childhood students in Science are to:

Life Science

  • observe and compare different types of plants and animals
  • develop appreciation for the environment and learn ways to help preserve it
  • study the habitats and life cycles of various life forms
  • observe the development of plants over time
  • use science tools such as magnifying glasses to aid observation
  • investigate how seasonal changes affect living things
Physical Science


  • study the relative properties of various materials through experience with sand, water, play-dough, clay, etc.
  • use scales to experiment with and develop the concept of balancing
  • explore magnetism by experimentation with magnets to determine their properties
  • experience physical changes in the ingredients during cooking projects
  • design and assemble structures and environments

Science - Kindergarten & Grade 1

The major goals for kindergarten and first grade students in Science are to:

Life Science

  • observe, question, and predict various aspects of the life cycle of several animals and plants
  • study the adaptations of plants and animals to seasonal changes and varied climates
  • experiment with plants growing under varied conditions
  • study the structure of human and animal skeletons, and begin to understand how they function
  • analyze the relationship between proper nutrition and the well-being of living things

Physical Science

  • study the relative properties of various materials through experience with sand, water, play-dough, clay, etc.
  • use scales to experiment with and develop the concept of balancing
  • explore magnetism by experimentation with magnets and testing to find materials that are attracted to each other
  • experience physical changes in the ingredients during cooking projects
  • design and construct models, structures, and environments
  • identify and experiment with the various states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases)
  • examine the relationship between light, objects, and their shadows through experimentation and observation
  • learn the characteristics of different climates
  • observe the structure and properties of varying types of soil

Science - Grades 2-3

The major goals for second- and third-grade students in Science are to:

Life Science

  • study the anatomical structures of several plants and animals
  • observe how living things develop in and adapt to their natural environment
  • experiment with seeds and plants
  • study genetics and reproduction in plants and animals, including humans
  • study and explore tide pools
  • dissect and study owl pellets

Physical Science

  • practice the scientific method: hypothesize, observe, record, and draw conclusions,
  • practice safety and non-contamination procedures
  • conduct experiments
  • explore properties of certain solids and liquids
  • observe chemical reactions

Science - Grades 4-5

The major goals for fourth- and fifth-grade students in Science are to:

Life Science

  • study anatomical structures and their functions in various plants and animals
  • observe how living things develop in and adapt to several specific ecosystems, including the salt marsh, the desert, and the Arctic
  • examine salt marsh habitat as it changes throughout the seasons
  • conduct behavioral experiments with animals developing observational skills and record keeping
  • begin to understand the effects of experimental bias in data collection and interpretation

Physical Science

  • explore the characteristics of static and current electricity and learn to build basic circuits
  • understand the principles of physical properties through experimentation using all the components of the scientific method
  • invent ways to solve problems of everyday life by researching, planning, designing, and testing prototypes
  • examine dynamic forces within the earth, including plate tectonics, volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, and erosion through reading, observation, experimentation, simulation, and discussion
  • learn about the varying layers and composition of the earth
  • solve and explain solutions to problems involving weight, mass, capacity, volume, and density
  • build levers, wheels and axles, and gears and pulleys, using LEGO DACTA materials in order to understand concepts of simple machines

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