Science

ScienceThe SASD science curriculum is based on national, state and local science standards and provides an inquiry-based approach to learning science. Students experience science through active construction of ideas and explanations that are developmentally appropriate. Children investigate earth materials, organisms and properties of common objects and begin to develop concepts and vocabulary around these experiences.

Developing inquiry skills is central to helping children think as "scientists." As children begin investigations they learn to ask scientific questions, investigate the world around them, and use their observations to construct reasonable explanations for the questions that are framed for them. The role of the teacher is to guide children in the extending their scientific knowledge and to encourage children to communicate their learning, both orally and in writing, as a result of the inquiry process.

The science curriculum in the Souderton Area School District includes two or three units per grade level and is taught through an inquiry-based approach. Materials are prepared and restocked in kits for teachers, ensuring that all needed materials are available for student use. Students demonstrate what they have learned through performance assessments included in each unit. The units for each grade levels are listed below:

Kindergarten:

First Grade:

Second Grade:

Third Grade:

Fourth Grade:

Fifth Grade:

 


Animals Two by Two
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Goals
The Animals Two by Two Module provides young students with close and personal interaction with some common land and water animals. Appropriate classroom habitats are established, and students learn to care for the animals. In four activities the animals are studied in pairs. Students observe and care for one animal over time, and then they are introduced to another animal similar to the first but with differences in structure and behavior. This process enhances opportunities for observation, communication, and comparison.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the living world around them.
  • Observe and describe the structures of a variety of common animals—fish, snails, earthworms, isopods, and chicks.
  • Compare structures and behaviors of different pairs of animals.
  • Communicate observations and comparisons.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with the structure and behavior of animals.
  • Handle animals carefully, and participate in the care and feeding of classroom animals.

Wood and Paper
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Goals
The modern world is a wonderland of different materials for early-childhood students. Two of those materials are wood and the paper that is derived from it. Scores of different kinds of wood and paper fill students' environment. In the Wood and Paper Module students are introduced to a wide variety of woods and papers in a systematic way. They will observe the properties of these materials and discover what happens when they are subjected to a number of tests and interactions with other materials. Students learn that wood and paper can be recycled to create new forms of paper or wood that have new properties. Finally, they use what they know about the properties of these marvelous materials as they change wood and paper into a variety of products. Throughout the module, students have ample opportunities to compare different kinds of wood, different types of paper, and wood and paper. The concept of trees as natural resources is introduced.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the physical world around them.
  • Observe and describe properties of different kinds of wood and paper.
  • Compare different kinds of wood and paper to discover how they are alike and how they are different.
  • Observe interactions of wood and paper with water and other substances.
  • Become aware of natural resources in our world.
  • Communicate observations.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with the properties of materials.

Pebbles, Sand, & Silt
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Goals
The Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Module consists of four sequential investigations, each designed to introduce concepts in earth science. The investigations provide experiences that heighten students' awareness of rocks as earth materials and natural resources. They will come to know rocks by many names and in a variety of sizes. Pebbles and sand are the same material—just different sizes.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the physical world around them.
  • Observe, describe, and sort earth materials based on properties.
  • Separate earth materials by size, using different techniques.
  • Observe the similarities and differences in the materials in a river rock mixture: silt, sand, gravel, and small and large pebbles.
  • Explore places where earth materials are found and ways that earth materials are used.
  • Compare the ingredients in different soils.
  • Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with earth materials.

Solids & Liquids
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Goals
ScienceThe Solids and Liquids Module provides experiences that heighten students' awareness of the physical world. Matter with which we interact exists in three fundamental states: solid, liquid, and gas. In this module first and second graders have introductory experiences with two of these states of matter, solid and liquid.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the objects that make up their world.
  • Investigate materials constructively during free exploration and in a guided discovery mode.
  • Recognize differences between solids and liquids.
  • Explore a number of liquids.
  • Observe and describe the properties of solids and liquids.
  • Sort materials according to properties.
  • Combine and separate solids of different particle sizes.
  • Observe and describe what happens when solids are mixed with water.
  • Observe and describe what happens when other liquids are mixed with water.
  • Use information gathered to conduct an investigation on an unknown material.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with the properties of solids and liquids.
  • Use written and oral language to describe observations.

Insects
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Goals
The Insects Module provides experiences that heighten students' awareness of the persity of animal forms. They come to know firsthand the life sequences of a number of insects. In each investigation an insect is introduced, and students observe structures and behaviors, discuss their findings, and ask questions. Students observe life cycles of insects and compare the stages of metamorphosis exhibited by each species.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in insects and a respect for them as living things.
  • Experience some of the great persity of forms in the animal kingdom.
  • Become familiar with some of the life sequences that different types of insects exhibit (simple and complete metamorphosis).
  • Observe the behaviors of insects at different stages of their life cycle.
  • Provide for the needs of insects (air, water, food, and space).
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with insect life.

New Plants
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Goals
The New Plants Module provides experiences that heighten students' awareness of the persity of life in the plant kingdom. Students care for plants to learn what they need to grow and develop. They observe the structures of flowering plants and discover ways to propagate new plants from mature plants (from seeds, bulbs, roots, and stem cuttings). They observe and describe changes that occur as plants grow, and organize their observations on a calendar and in a journal.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in plants as living things.
  • Experience some of the persity of forms in the plant kingdom.
  • Provide for the needs of growing plants.
  • Observe and describe the changes that occur as plants grow and develop.
  • Become familiar with the structures and functions of flowering plants (root, stem, leaf, bud, flower, seed).
  • Discover various ways that new plants can develop from mature plants.
  • Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with the structures of plants.

Balance & Motion
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Goals
We live in a dynamic world where everything is in motion, or so it seems. But not everything is moving the same way. Some things move from one place to another. Other things go around and around in a rotational motion. Still other things are stationary, stable for a time, balanced on a thin line between stop and go. These are the global phenomena that students experience in this module, Balance and Motion.

Student Expectations

  • Develop a curiosity and interest in the motion of objects.
  • Investigate materials constructively during free exploration and in a guided discovery mode.
  • Solve problems through trial and error.
  • Develop persistence in tackling a problem.
  • Explore concepts of balance, counterweight, and stability.
  • Observe systems that are unstable and modify them to reach equilibrium.
  • Discover different ways to produce rotational motion.
  • Construct and observe toys that spin.
  • Explore and describe some of the variables that influence the spinning of objects.
  • Observe and compare rolling systems with different-size wheels.
  • Explore and describe the motion of rolling spheres.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with balance and motion.

Air & Weather
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Goals
The Air and Weather Module consists of four sequential investigations, each designed to introduce concepts in earth science. The investigations provide opportunities for young students to explore the natural world by using simple tools to observe and monitor change.

Student Expectations

  • Develop an interest in air and weather.
  • Experience air as a material that takes up space and can be compressed into a smaller space.
  • Observe the force of air pressure pushing on objects and materials.
  • Observe and describe changes that occur in weather over time.
  • Become familiar with instruments used by meteorologists to monitor air and weather conditions.
  • Compare monthly and seasonal weather conditions using bar graphs.
  • Observe the location of the Sun and the Moon in the sky over a day and the change in the appearance of the Moon over a month.
  • Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with properties of air and weather conditions.

Structures of Life
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Goals
The Structures of Life Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of organisms. Students observe, compare, categorize, and care for a selection of organisms, and in so doing they learn to identify properties of plants and animals and to sort and group organisms on the basis of observable properties. Students investigate structures of the organisms and learn how some of the structures function in growth and survival.

Student Expectations

  • Develop an attitude of respect for life.
  • Gain experience with organisms, both plants and animals.
  • Observe and compare properties of seeds and fruits.
  • Investigate the effect of water on seeds.
  • Observe, describe, and record properties of germinated seeds.
  • Compare different kinds of germinated seeds.
  • Grow plants hydroponically and observe the life cycle of a bean plant.
  • Observe and record crayfish and land snail structures and behavior.
  • Use knowledge of crayfish and snail life requirements to maintain the organisms in the classroom.
  • Organize data about crayfish territorial behavior.
  • Develop responsibility for the care of organisms.
  • Exercise language, art, social studies, and math skills in the context of life science.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Physics of Sound
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Goals
The Physics of Sound Module consists of four sequential investigations, each designed to expose a specific set of concepts. Students learn to discriminate between sounds generated by dropped objects, how sounds can be made louder or softer and higher or lower, how sounds travel through a variety of materials, and how sounds get from a source to a receiver. The investigations provide opportunities for students to explore the natural and humanmade worlds by observing and manipulating materials in focused settings using simple tools.

Student Expectations

  • Observe and compare sounds to develop discrimination ability.
  • Communicate with others using a drop code.
  • Learn that sound originates from a source that is vibrating and is detected at a receiver such as the human ear.
  • Understand the relationship between the pitch of a sound and the physical properties of the sound source (i.e. length of vibrating object, frequency of vibrations, and tension of vibrating string).
  • Compare methods to amplify sound at the source and at the receiver.
  • Observe and compare how sound travels through solids, liquids, and air.
  • Use knowledge of the physics of sound to solve simple sound challenges.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with the physics of sound.
  • Exercise language, social studies, and math skills in the context of the physics of sound.
  • Develop and refine the manipulative skills required for investigating sound.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Earth Materials
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Goals
The Earth Materials Module consists of four sequential investigations dealing with observable characteristics of solid materials from the earth—rocks and minerals. The focus is on taking materials apart to find what they are made of and putting materials together to better understand their properties. The module introduces fundamental concepts in earth science and takes advantage of the students' intrinsic interest in the subject matter and in the physical world around them.

Student Expectations

  • Develop an interest in earth materials.
  • Gain experiences with rocks and minerals.
  • Understand the process of taking apart and putting together to find out about materials.
  • Use measuring tools to gather data about rocks.
  • Collect and organize data about rocks.
  • Observe, describe, and record properties of minerals.
  • Organize minerals on the basis of the property of hardness.
  • Investigate the effect of vinegar (acid) on a specific mineral, calcite.
  • Use evaporation to investigate rock composition.
  • Learn that rocks are composed of minerals and that minerals cannot be physically separated into other materials.
  • Compare their activities to the work of a geologist.
  • Acquire vocabulary used in earth science.
  • Exercise language and math skills in the context of science.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Human Body
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Goals
The Human Body Module consists of four sequential investigations that engage students in thoughtful activities about the form and function of a most remarkable machine, their own body.

Student Expectations

  • Observe and investigate the human skeletal and muscle systems.
  • Become aware of the versatility of movement provided by an articulated skeleton.
  • Gain experience with the use of photographs, diagrams, and model bones to gather information.
  • Build mechanical models to demonstrate how muscles are responsible for human movement.
  • Compare the bones and muscles in their own bodies to photographs and models.
  • Investigate response time of hands and feet.
  • Develop an awareness of human bone and muscle structure and function and an appreciation for the versatility of the human body.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with the human skeletal and muscle systems.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Magnetism & Electricity
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Goals
The Magnetism and Electricity Module consists of five sequential investigations, each designed to introduce or reinforce concepts in physical science. The investigations provide opportunities for students to explore the natural and human-made worlds by observing and manipulating materials in focused settings using simple tools.

Student Expectations

  • Observe the interaction of permanent magnets with a variety of common materials.
  • Discover that magnets display forces of attraction and repulsion.
  • Measure the change in force between two magnets as the distance between them changes.
  • Identify materials that are conductors and insulators.
  • Understand and construct simple open, closed, parallel, and series circuits.
  • Learn how to make an electromagnet.
  • Experience the relationship between the number of turns of wire around an electromagnet core and the strength of the magnetism.
  • Use their knowledge of electromagnets to make a telegraph.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with magnetism and electricity.
  • Exercise language, math, and social studies skills in the context of magnetism and electricity investigations.
  • Develop and refine the manipulative skills required for making investigations in magnetism and electricity.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Water
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Goals
Water is the most important substance on Earth. Water dominates the surface of our planet, changes the face of the land, and defines life. These powerful, pervasive ideas are introduced here. The Water Module consists of four investigations in which students explore properties of water, changes in water, interactions between water and other earth materials, and how humans use water.

Student Expectations

  • Observe and explore properties of water in liquid, solid, and gaseous states.
  • Observe the expansion and contraction of water as it warms and cools.
  • Investigate factors that influence evaporation and condensation of water.
  • Consider components of the water cycle.
  • Observe and compare how water moves through different types of earth materials, including soil and gravel.
  • Consider the water quality of local water sources.
  • Investigate how water can be used to do work.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with water.
  • Record observations in writing and pictures.
  • Exercise language, social studies, and math skills in the context of science.
  • Become aware of the importance of water in their lives.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing.

Environments
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Goals
All living things depend on the conditions in their environment. The study of the relationships between one organism and its environment builds knowledge of all organisms. With this knowledge comes an awareness of limits. Changes in an environment can be hard on organisms. Such knowledge is important because humans can change environments. To do so without awareness of possible consequences can lead to disasters. The Environments Module consists of six investigations that introduce students to these basic concepts in environmental biology.

Student Expectations

  • Develop an attitude of respect and understanding for life.
  • Gain experience with the major environmental factors in terrestrial and aquatic systems.
  • Conduct controlled experiments with plants to determine ranges of tolerance.
  • Determine an organism's optimum conditions and environmental preferences.
  • Organize and analyze data from experiments and investigations with plants and animals.
  • Observe and describe changes in complex systems over time.
  • Relate laboratory studies to natural systems.
  • Apply mathematics in the context of science.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with environmental biology.
  • Exercise language, math, and social studies skills in the context of biology investigations.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.

Mixtures & Solutions
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Goals
Chemistry is the study of the structure of matter and the changes or transformations that take place in it. Learning about the makeup of substances gives us knowledge about how things go together and how they can be taken apart. Learning about changes in substances is important for several reasons: changes can be controlled to produce new materials; changes can be used to give off energy to run machines. The Mixtures and Solutions Module has four investigations that introduce students to these fundamental ideas in chemistry.

Student Expectations

  • Gain experience with the concepts of mixture and solution.
  • Gain experience with the concepts of concentration and saturation.
  • Gain experience with the concept of chemical reaction.
  • Apply an operational definition to determine the relative concentrations of solutions.
  • Use group problem-solving techniques to plan investigations.
  • Use measurement in the context of scientific investigations.
  • Apply mathematics in the context of science.
  • Acquire vocabulary associated with chemistry and the periodic table.
  • Be introduced to the concept that all matter is made of very small particles called atoms and that atoms combine to form molecules.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.

Variables (Reason)
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Goals
Some of the most important scientific concepts students learn are the result of their ability to see relationships between objects and events. Relationships always involve interactions, dependencies, and cause and effect. The Variables Module has four investigations that help students discover relationships through controlled experimentation. Students will fling, float, fly, and flip objects as they discover relationships in each investigation.

Student Expectations

  • Gain experience with the concept of variable.
  • Gain experience with the concept of system.
  • Design and conduct controlled experiments.
  • Construct materials that will be used in the investigations.
  • Acquire some understanding of the behavior of pendulums.
  • Gain experience with buoyancy.
  • Use data to make predictions.
  • Apply mathematics in the context of science.
  • Record and graph data concretely, pictorially, and symbolically to discover relationships.
  • Acquire the vocabulary associated with controlled experimentation.
  • Use scientific thinking processes to conduct investigations and build explanations: observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.