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Lincoln Public Schools

Science & Engineering




Mairead Curtis ~ K-8 Faculty Curriculum Leader for Science


The terms and circumstances of human existence can be expected to change radically during the next human life span. Science, mathematics and technology will be at the center of that change-causing it, shaping it, responding to it. Therefore, they will be essential to the education of today's children for tomorrow's world.
~ Project 2061, a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
 

Introduction

 
The primary purpose of the Lincoln Public Schools science curriculum is to promote an understanding of the principles, concepts, and processes of science used for decision-making, problem solving, and communicating in a technological society. Children's curiosity and sense of wonder provides a starting point for learning. Children are natural inquirers and problem solvers and science presents a framework for students to learn about, understand and interpret the world around them. Moreover, learning about science enables them to explore and investigate, see inside things, find out how things work and find answers to their questions. Since students learn best when they become personally involved in their learning - not just when they mechanically follow a set of steps or read and hear about things learned and done by others - great efforts are taken to encourage and stimulate children's science learning by nurturing their sense of wonder through a strong foundation of sequenced experiences and skills upon which future learning can be based.
 
As tomorrow's adults, today's students will face many challenges that cannot be predicted. But they will be prepared to meet those new challenges if they have received a sound, basic education and secure sense of themselves as learners. From a blood cell to a star, from the bottom of the sea to the depths of the universe, science pervades every area of our lives. It is the study of everything that exists. To think of any human undertaking that does not involve science is impossible. The descriptions that follow provide information about the essential scientific concepts students will learn as they progress through the grades.

K-5 CONTENT OVERVIEW

The District's K-5 science curriculum has been organized to facilitate students' understanding of the central themes, concepts, and skills in the earth, life and physical sciences, with each grade responsible for teaching a "core" unit in each domain (see table). These domains offer a rich source of topics for developing questions, problems and issues, and afford starting points for inquiry and problem solving. By engaging in the search for answers, solutions and decisions, students have a purpose for learning and an opportunity to develop concepts and skills within a meaningful context. Students will develop a systematic approach to scientific inquiry, formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting, organizing, and interpreting data, and presenting research findings.
 
The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks provide the foundation for the curriculum and Lincoln's Lincoln Science Learning Expectations offer a common language and vision that enables teachers to meet the objective that all students achieve a high degree of "scientific literacy." More than a decade ago, in an effort to improve student learning, high standards for achievement were distinguished. Clear standards define exactly what students should know and be able to do. The teaching of these areas is designed to expose students to experiences which reflect how science should be valued, to enhance students' confidence in their ability to do scientific processes, and to help students learn to communicate and reason scientifically.
 

Science Inquiry

 
As they learn information and concepts related to each of these four strands, students will also develop a systematic approach to scientific inquiry. They will formulate questions, observe, plan, collect, organize and interpret data and present research findings. They will develop an understanding of science in everyday life and apply previously acquired knowledge in practical or new ways. They will also learn to work safely and will learn to use information technology to collect, store, retrieve and present scientific information.
 

Earth & Space Science

In earth and space science, students study the origin, structure, and physical phenomena of the earth and the universe. Through a study of earth and space, students learn about the nature and interactions of oceans and the atmosphere, plate tectonics, changes in topography over time, and the place of the earth in the universe.
 

Conceptual Themes

There are many changes and predictable patterns in earth and sky (which affect the Earth and its organisms) that can be observed, recorded and measured.
 

Essential Questions

  • How do external and internal processes and cycles affect the Earth?
  • How does the position of the Earth affect what we see and do?

Grade K Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Wind Weather Earth's Movement in Space
Rocks, Minerals, Soils Sun, Moon, & Stars
Meteorology & Weather Systems


 

Life Science

The life sciences investigate the diversity, complexity, and interconnectedness of life on earth. Students are naturally drawn to examine living things, and as they progress through the grade levels, they become capable of understanding the theories and models that scientists use to explain observations of nature.
 

Conceptual Themes

All living things have needs and characteristics.

Essential Questions

  • How are organisms structured to ensure efficiency and survival?
  • What are the processes responsible for life's unity and diversity?

Grade K Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Five Senses Habitats Life Cycles: Butterflies Marine Life: Whales Life Cycles: Plants Classification & Adaptations
of Living Things

 


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Physical Science

The physical sciences (physics and chemistry) examine the physical world around us. Using the methods of the physical sciences, students learn about the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter and the relationships between matter and energy
 

Conceptual Themes

All objects have characteristics and properties, but don't all respond the same way to what is done to them.
 

Essential Questions

  • How does the structure of matter affect the properties and uses of materials?
  • What makes objects do the things they do and move the ways they do?

Grade K Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Balance Solids & Liquids Simple Machines Magnets Sound Electricity

 



Science Enrichment: Unit Extensions and Elementary Engineering


Science enrichment classes are offered to elementary students once a week in grades 1-3 at Hanscom and grades 1-4 in Lincoln. Half of the enrichment classes extend the science units being taught in the classrooms with project-based learning and an emphasis on inquiry skills. The other half of enrichment classes focus on engineering and address the Massachusetts Technology/Engineering standards for the elementary grades.

Students in primary grades are naturally fascinated with technology. While learning the safe uses of tools and materials that underlie engineering solutions, these young students are encouraged to manipulate materials that enhance their three-dimensional visualization skills–an essential component of the ability to design solutions. They identify and describe characteristics of natural and human made materials and their possible uses, and identify uses of basic tools and materials (e.g., glue, scissors, tape, ruler, paper, toothpicks, straws, spools). In addition, students learn to identify tools and simple machines used for specific purposes (e.g., ramp, wheel, pulley, lever). They also learn to describe how human beings use parts of the body as tools.

Students in grades 3 and 4 learn how appropriate materials, tools, and machines extend our ability to solve problems and invent. They identify materials used to accomplish a design task based on the materials’ specific properties, and explain which materials and tools are appropriate to construct a given prototype. They achieve a higher level of engineering design skill by recognizing a need or problem, learning different ways that the problem can be represented, and working with a variety of materials and tools to create a product or system to address the problem.


Click on the links below to view the Engineering Learning Expectations in each grade.
 

Science Enrichment Learning Expectations
Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5
Sturdy Structures
Inventions
Building Robots
Robotics Using Sensors
Engineering Design

 
 

6-8 CONTENT OVERVIEW


Investigations and scientific inquiry are used throughout all units to learn about the natural world. Students will understand that certain types of questions can be answered by investigations, and that methods, models, and conclusions built from these investigations change as new observations are made. Models of objects and events are tools for understanding the natural world and can show how systems work. They have limitations and are constantly being modified - based on new discoveries - to more closely reflect the natural world. Students should know how science has built a vast body of changing and increasing knowledge described by physical, mathematical, and conceptual models, and also should know that science may not answer all questions.

 

At each grade, students learn about science in four domains. Teachers guide students to integrate understanding about the nature of science in each of the main units listed below. Click on the underlined unit to view the Lincoln Learning Expectations for each grade, which are fully aligned with Massachusetts Curriculum Standards.


Science Inquiry
Scientific Thinking and Methods
Life Science
Structures and Systems of Living Things
Physical Science
Matter and Motion
Earth & Space Science
Change Over Time
Technology/ Engineering
The Engineering Design Process
Grade 6
Methods and Measurements in the Science Lab
Grade 6
Classification and Cell Structures
Grade 6
Motions, Forces, and Energy
Grade 6
Astronomy
Grade 6
Transportation Systems Construction Systems
Grade 7
Inquiry skills are embedded in all units.
Grade 7
Ecology, Heredity
Grade 7
Heat Energy
Grade 7
Earth's Changing Surface
Grade 7
Manufacturing Systems Construction Systems
Grade 8
Inquiry skills are embedded in all units.
Grade 8
Systems of Living Things
Grade 8
Properties of Matter
Grade 8
Dynamic Earth
Grade 8
Bioengineering Systems
 
 
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Last Modified on May 30, 2016
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