Kindergarten Science

FOCUS: Self and others in the school and the neighborhood; how is my family similar or different from others?; how is my world affected by the past?

CONCEPTS: People’s jobs and their societal importance including the tools they use; diversity in the classroom and world; why change occurs as time passes.

SKILLS: Similarities and differences in people’s characteristics, habits and living patterns; differences between past and present.

First Grade Science

FOCUS: Rocky seashore; light and sound.

CONCEPTS: Using scientific knowledge to be helpful; biomes, habitats, and life cycles; light and sound sources and communication; investigable questions and experimentation.

SKILLS: Using scientific practices to be helpful; vocabulary development; using tools and technology to gather information; scientific observation; recording data; design and construction.

HIGHLIGHT: Pillar Point tide pools and Exploratorium field trips.

Second Grade Science

CONCEPTS: Science is the process of studying systems in order to help others, and scientists are people who study systems in order to help others. Topics we have studied in the past: worms, plants, bridges, and simple machines.

SKILLS: Identify parts and processes of a system or structure, observe and record information, work collaboratively to gain knowledge through research, observation, and hands-on experiments.

HIGHLIGHT: Maintaining a neighborhood garden.

Third Grade Science

FOCUS: Earth materials; human body and metric measurement.

CONCEPTS: Properties and characteristics of rocks and minerals; characteristics and knowledge of the basic structural systems of the human body and how these systems work together to provide movement; the use of appropriate tools in situations calling for measurement.

SKILLS: Asking questions; investigating, observing, predicting, recording, classifying and grouping; drawing conclusions from results; choosing correct tools to conduct investigation, using nonfiction text to gain knowledge and information.

HIGHLIGHTS: Building human joint models; dissecting owl pellets; Geology Rocks! play.

Fourth Grade Science

FOCUS: Weather and climate; electricity; models and design.

CONCEPTS: Energy sources and conversions; the relationship between geographical location and climate; factors that characterize weather; design and construct conceptual and physical models.

SKILLS: Asking questions, investigating, observing, predicting, recording, classifying, drawing conclusions from results, using and creating tools to collect scientific information, using technology to gather information, investigating properties and motion of objects.

HIGHLIGHTS: Electricity Generator Model Fair.

Fifth Grade Science

FOCUS: Science as the process of studying systems in order to help others; scientists as people that study systems in order to help others.

CONCEPTS: What plants need to grow; engineering simple plant growth systems; photosynthesis; digital modeling; circuitry.

SKILLS: Determining basic needs of plant systems; design plant growth systems for fictional space station; describe role of atoms and molecules involved in photosynthesis; create digital model to teach others about photosynthesis; program a computer-controlled lighting system to grow plants.

HIGHLIGHTS: Three-day field science program at Marin Headlands Institute; Scratch modeling and presentations; Arduino computer language.

Sixth Grade Science

FOCUS: Environmental science: River formation and the effects of rivers on Earth’s landscape including erosion, weathering, deposition, and the formation of soil; botany (plant structure and function, photosynthesis) and the role of plants in the cycles of matter; how water carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen move throughout the environment; ecology, energy, and natural resources including how energy and resources are used, moved and exchanged in the environment; climate change and the causes, correlations, and impacts of a changing climate; human impact on the environment and conservation of resources.

PROCESS & SKILLS: Observation and synthesis of data in order to draw clearly supported conclusions; use of hands-on laboratory experiences and projects to analyze the natural world and realize the role of scientists in science and the environment; becoming safe and productive participants in a science lab; keeping detailed lab journals with clear observations, questions, and evidence-based conclusions; investigating science developments in grade appropriate news stories through personal science blogs.

HIGHLIGHT: End of year culminating Environmental Changemaker Project.

Seventh Grade Science

FOCUS: Life science: cells and body systems, reproduction and heredity, natural selection, populations and ecosystems.

PROCESS & SKILLS: The central focus of the year is how we use our understanding of living things–from the smallest scale (cells and microbes) to the largest (marine mammals and ecosystems)–to construct evidence-based explanations of the natural world. Students ask questions and define problems, examining how human behaviors and decisions impact life around us. Project-based lab experiences and research projects are incorporated heavily throughout the year, as well as off-campus experiences that put students into the role of scientist-in-the-field. Student understanding is evaluated through project presentations, visual displays, model building, and design challenges.

HIGHLIGHT: Ocean Ambassador’s Marine Conservation Project.

Eighth Grade Science

FOCUS: Physical Science: waves and their applications in technology, energy, matter and its interactions, chemistry, simple machines, Newton’s Laws of motion in the universe.

PROCESS & SKILLS: Students engage in engineering design challenges, argument-driven inquiry, plan and carry out investigations, and are pushed to think about their place in the world as they analyze concepts and questions that have far reaching implications: Who gets access to energy in the world and who doesn’t? What are the physics of global temperature rise and what can we do about it in our time and place? Eighth grade science ties together many different fields of inquiry and prepares students to enter high school with the skills and knowledge they will need for success.

HIGHLIGHT: Global Energy We Share Solar Project.