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Conant's Science Program

Kindergarten Students are given many opportunities to interact with materials, animals, and plants. They learn to describe objects, to observe scientifically, and to ask questions about their environment and how things work.

Nutrition (Life Science) - Students study the food pyramid, what foods should be included in well-balanced meals, and what good choices they can make for healthy eating.

Schoolyard Science (Life Science) - The focus of this unit is on observing plants, animals, and non-living things in the schoolyard. Students are actively involved in the classifying, observing, and feeding of backyard birds, and they discuss spring versus winter birds and the effect of seasonal migration. They also discuss the components necessary for successful planting and growing, and they plant fall bulbs and seeds.

The Changing Seasons (Earth/Space Science) - Students discuss different types of weather and the characteristics of each season of the year.

Floating/Sinking (Physical Science) - Children predict which objects will sink or float, experiment with the objects at a water table, and discuss characteristics that may affect whether the objects sink or float.
Grade 1 Organisms (Life Science) - Our theme in first grade is "Organisms," based on a STC (Science and Technology for Children, 1993) unit of the same name. The major focus of the unit is observing plants and animals in the classroom and watching how they grow. Life, birth and death of fish and snails are observed in the classroom aquariums, terrariums are built for pill bugs, mosses, and millipedes, and plants are grown from seeds. Students are asked to compare and contrast plants/ animals from both habitats.

Major Concepts: organism, habitat, birth, death, decay, male, female, plant, animal?

Solids and Liquids, Ball and Ramps, & Weather (Physical/Earth Science) - We have several themes in first grade physical science involving hands-on explorations. One major unit is "Solids and Liquids", based on a STC unit of the same name. The focus is on learning to compare and contrast the properties of solids and liquids through a series of experiments. The second major unit is "Balls and Ramps", based on an Insights kit of the same name. The focus is on the characteristics and properties of balls and their motion with and without ramps. We are also using a STC physical/earth science unit called "Weather". In this unit students observe and record weather data and then use the data to draw conclusions and make predictions.

Major Concepts: solid, liquid, temperature, weather features, weather tools, properties of objects, scientific testing.
Grade 2 Life Cycles (Life Science) - One of our themes in second grade life science is "Life Cycles". The major focus of this unit is why amphibians are important, special features of amphibians, and what we can learn about amphibians from nature. Students have the opportunity to observe the changes in an amphibian's life cycle as they watch tadpoles become frogs.

Major Concepts: life cycle, adaptation, habitat?

Plant Growth and Development (Life Science) - The second life science unit focuses on plants. Students learn where seeds come from, how different plant parts help the plant grow, and what we can learn about plants from nature. Children plant and pollinate Wisconsin Fast Plants™ and have the opportunity to observe them grow.

Major Concepts: life cycle, metamorphosis, seeds, behaviors, properties, pollination

Balance and Motion (Physical/Earth Science) - We have several themes in second grade physical science. One major unit is "Balance and Motion", based on a STC unit "Balancing and Weighing" and the FOSS unit called "Balance and Motion." Students are introduced to the physics of motion. They are provided with developmentally appropriate science and math experiences that encourage inquiry and that accentuate the natural connections between math, science, and technology, specifically the concepts of balance and equality and their relationship to mathematical equations.

In addition, there are two mini-units for Grade Two entitled "Sounds" and "Rocks, Mineral and Fossils." Each unit includes hands-on investigations.

Major Concepts: balancing, weighing, mixtures, properties of objects, pitch, vibration, magnetism, poles, rocks, fossils
Grade 3 Life/Earth Science - Our theme in third grade physical science is "Food Webs: Soil and Owls," based partly on the STC "Soils" unit. The major focus of the unit is on understanding that complex systems, such as the soil, are made up of a number of living and nonliving things. Students conduct tests which allow them to observe and compare properties of earth materials. They learn that earthworms help plant material decompose. Also, they examine the contents of an owl pellet to learn about food webs in nature. In addition, there is one mini-unit for Grade Three in which the students study the differences between birds and mammals.

Major Concepts: soil, decomposition, properties of earth materials, predator, prey

Physical Science - We have two units in third grade physical science entitled "Chemical Tests" and "Electric Circuits," based on STC units of the same name. Students learn lab techniques for testing a variety of white mystery powders and use their logic and mathematical skills to solve the mystery. They learn how to make and to work with electrical circuits.

Major Concepts: science processes, changes (both physical and chemical), mixtures, properties of objects, interaction, evaporation, filtration, electricity, circuit
Grade 4 Life Cycle of Plants (Life Science) - Students study the life cycle of plants from seed to seed. Using various seed samples (lima beans, radish seeds) and flower specimens, students observe and record the parts of a seed, parts of a flower, and the effects of different types of tropisms. The interdependency of plants and honeybees is also discussed. A major component of this unit is the parent-led Nature Walks, where students learn to identify trees by their branches and leaves or flower buds, and observe them during the winter and early and late spring

Major Concepts: How to distinguish living from non-living things, life cycles as spirals, photosynthesis, tropisms, interdependency, producers vs. consumers, functions of the parts of a plant.

Land and Water, Astronomy, & Weather (Earth/Space Science) - There are three earth/space science units in fourth grade. The focus of the astronomy study is on the relative movements of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. Observation and experimentation is done with shadows. Students observe the moon and the shadows cast by the sun through the different seasons. They also learn to identify two major constellations and find the North Star. In the "Land and Water" unit students work with stream tables to study land formations and the effects of water on land. The "Weather" unit, an interdisciplinary study, is integrated into the North American social studies units. Skills students learn in this unit are recording daily weather using a thermometer, barometer, and Beaufort Scale, reading and interpreting a weather map, and observing and identifying clouds.

Major Concepts: constellations, daytime, nighttime, rotation, revolution, seasons, time, erosion, river formation, weather, climate, the water cycle.
Grade 5 Ecosystems (Life/Earth Science) - Our theme in fifth grade life science is "Ecosystems", based on a STC unit of the same name. The major focus of the unit is on the interactions of plants and animals in a community, such as a pond, a forest, or a classroom aquarium/ terrarium system. Students experiment with and observe the carbon-dioxide/oxygen cycle, the food/mineral cycle, and the water cycle. They build "eco-columns", and, once their communities are established, they design experiments to test the effects of a variety of pollutants. (Living animals are removed before pollution experiments begin.)

Major concepts: ecosystem, community, food web, pollution, decomposition, ocean?

The Transport Systems (Life Science) - Our theme in fifth grade life science is "The Transport Systems." The major focus of this unit is on identifying and labeling the major structures of the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems. For all systems, students identify problems of the systems related to health, describe environmental conditions that may affect the transport systems of the body, and understand how exercise affects the body.

Major concepts: digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system

Simple Engineering (Physical Science) - Our theme in fifth grade physical science is "Simple Engineering." Students explore simple machines and the engineering/technology design process. In the first ten lesson students are provided with an introduction to simple machines and investigate the wheel and axle as a simple machine. The culminating project for this portion of the unit is designing and building a vehicle that will carry a load and solve a problem. In the last fourteen lessons, students explore other simple machines (e.g., wedge, gear, inclined plane, screw, lever, pulley, and wheel and axle). The culminating activity for this section is designing and building a machine that incorporates two or more simple machines.

Major Concepts: inertia, momentum, friction, force, variable
Grade 6 Microworlds (Life Science) - One theme in sixth grade life science is "Microworlds," based on a STC unit of the same name. The major focus of the unit is on learning to use magnification to observe and to record information about things that are too small to be observed with the naked eye. Students use magnifiers and microscopes to observe living and nonliving things.

Major concepts: magnification, observation of microbes, cells, plants, and animals?

Science and Engineering (Physical Science) - "Science and Engineering" is a two-part unit designed to introduce students to the workings of both the Scientific Method and the Engineering Design Process. Students are introduced to the basics of both processes in order to give them a foundation for future questioning and learning.

Energy Sources (Physical Science) - The physical science unit for grade six is "Energy Sources," based on a SCIS (Science Curriculum Improvement Study) unit. Students use a variety of hands-on materials to investigate the concepts of energy source, energy receiver, and energy chains.

Major concepts: energy source, energy receiver, energy chain, insulation, evidence, alternative energy sources
Updated: October 2006