Lower School

Science Curriculum by Grade Level


First Grade

  • Physical Science: Balance and motion
  • Life Science: Living vs non-living, life cycles (habitat, stages, basic needs-butterflies), animal groups and behavior
  • Earth Science: Local weather patterns, sun/moon/stars, amount of daylight and effect of sun on objects
  • Engineering: Design a structure to withstand natural forces and test them

Second Grade

  • Physical Science: Matter (solid, liquid, gas), properties of objects (sink, float, magnetic or not, transparent or opaque), properties of light (color, waves, heat)
  • Life Science: Plants - basic anatomy and life cycle of flowering plants
  • Earth Science: Reduce, reuse, recycle, Earth's surface (landforms, volcanoes, erosion, earthquakes) focus on topography and geology
  • Engineering: Identify and describe a problem that can be solved with a special object or tool; draw/design a new object or tool; test and compare them to one another; related properties of materials

Third Grade

  • Physical Science: States and properties of water; electricity (electromagnets and circuits)
  • Life Science: Habitat unit: (populations, food chains, reproduction and adaptations)
  • Earth Science: Meteorology: use graphs and tables to represent weather patterns, compare Minnesota to other climates; storms - tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, thunderstorms
  • Engineering: Design and build circuits; design a solution to a weather related hazard; build and test

Fourth Grade

  • Physical Science: Waves (electromagnetic, sound, physical); elements and atoms (Neils Bohr model)
  • Life Science: Human body (circulatory, skeletal, nutrition, puberty/hygiene)
  • Earth Science: Basic geology: (types and properties of rocks); structure of the Earth, (continents/oceans/plates, pangea, minerals, fossils, erosion); earthquakes and volcanoes; use maps to find geologic patterns; astronomy: solar system, moon phases, stars/constellations, gravity
  • Engineering: Design and build a structure that either uses the energy in waves or protects against the energy in waves

Fifth Grade

Fifth graders become scientists as they engage in hands-on explorations that help guide their understanding of scientific concepts that they come across in the real world. This year in science, units of study include:

  • Physical Science: Properties and States of Matter, Intro to Physics (Simple machines: work, force, motion, gravity, friction)
  • Earth Science: Solar Energy: Types of energy sources, impacts on the environment, how energy transfers
  • Engineering opportunities include: Designing and building water desalination systems and Rube Goldberg machines