Typical First Grade Science Curriculum

Caucasian boy looking a spider in classroom with magnifying glass

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Science encompasses several different topics, which include health and safety in the early grades in school. Other than health and safety, science topics that first graders can expect to study are the physical sciences, earth science, life science, and environmental science. These are the same sciences that children begin exploring in their kindergarten science studies. In first grade, they build on what they have learned in kindergarten.

Your child will learn more than just scientific facts. He will also continue to build on the skills needed for scientific inquiry, such as making observations, organizing data, thinking analytically, and developing problem-solving skills. Here is what you can expect your child to learn by the end of first grade.

Physical Sciences

What topics are included in the physical sciences? Everything about the physical world: chemistry, physics, and astronomy. Earth sciences are also often included under the physical sciences, but they are also sometimes included as a separate topic. Some of what children learned in kindergarten about science will be covered again in first grade, usually in more detail. Children will begin to explore topics in more depth, expanding their knowledge and understanding of the properties of certain materials and the ways in which these properties can be observed, measured, and predicted.

  • Recognize that objects are made of one or more materials (paper, wood, metal, cloth, etc.)
  • Use scientific words to describe physical properties (size, color, shape, and texture)
  • Identify similarities and differences in physical properties
  • Sort materials according to their properties
  • Recognize that solids and liquids are states of matter and have properties that can be described.
  • Recognize the differences between solids and liquids and describe their properties
  • Conduct an Investigation on an unknown material to gather information on its properties
  • Observe how batteries work and how magnets attract and repel
  • Recognize how vibrating objects produce sound and how sound travels

Observe and describe (orally or in writing):

  • How properties can be observed, described and measured
  • How heating and cooling can change states of matter
  • How water changes from a liquid to a solid or from a solid to a liquid
  • What happens when solids are mixed with water
  • What happens when different liquids are mixed with water

Earth Sciences

Earth sciences include all the science involving the earth. That includes learning about the earth itself and learning about what affects the earth. Children will learn about the solar system and Earth's position in it. They will also learn about the sun and how it affects the Earth's climate and weather. They will also learn about the Earth itself, the rocks, soils, and bodies of water that make up the Earth's surface.

  • Observe the movement of the sun during the day
  • Observe the changes in the moon during the month
  • Describe cloud formations
  • Identify and describe the four seasons
  • Observe changes in weather changes from day to day and from season to season
  • Recognize the role of the sun in changes in weather
  • Learn the instruments used by meteorologists to monitor air and weather conditions
  • Measure the weather by noting temperatures
  • Use scientific words to describe the properties of air and weather conditions
  • Identify the planets in the solar system and their positions around the sun
  • Recognize that the Earth is made up of solid rocks and soil
  • Recognize that rocks and soils and rocks have properties of color and texture
  • Recognize that different soils retain different amounts of water
  • Observe the results of air pressure force on objects and materials
  • Identify ocean activities such as waves and currents
  • Use drawing and writing to organize and share observations
  • Describe ways to care for the earth

Life Sciences

The life sciences are about life on the planet, both plant and animal life. Children will learn the difference between living and non-living things and what living things need in order to survive.

  • Distinguish between living and non-living things
  • Recognize the parts plants and animals that allow them to survive
  • Recognize that all living things go through stages of development, from birth to adulthood to reproducing to death
  • Identify and describe the life cycle plants and animals
  • Recognize that most living things come from a male and a female parent
  • Identify what living things need to survive (air, water, food, sunlight)
  • Recognize the diversity of life forms in the animal kingdom
  • Define the term "animal habitat" and describe some habitats
  • Identify the life sequences of some different types of insects (simple and complete metamorphosis).
  • Observe the behaviors of insects at different stages of their life cycle

Health and Safety

As children get older, they need to become more responsible and to become more responsible, they need to learn more about their bodies and how to take care of them. That includes learning about nutrition, exercise, and safety.

  • Identify the systems that make up the human body (circulatory, muscular, skeletal, nervous, and digestive)
  • Discover how the body works (how does a cut heal?)
  • Build vocabulary for describing pain and symptoms of illness and learn how to use it
  • Identify some sources of food
  • Recognize the importance of good nutrition
  • Engage in physical activities
  • Recognize safety rules for the playground and the street
  • Recognize car and fire safety rules
  • Identify the purposes of safety rules
  • They also participate in and enjoy a variety of physical activities;

Scientific Investigation and Experimentation

When children study science in school, they begin to learn about scientific methods. They learn to:

  • Observe and measure
  • Classify and establish order
  • Design and conduct an experiment
  • Predict
  • Investigate
  • Question
  • Explain data
  • Represent data on graphs or in tables
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