Your first grader and science
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By GreatSchools Staff
Getting acquainted with the physical world
Parents can expect their first-grade scientists to learn about the physical world. To understand that air actually has a weight, they might compare the weights of a full and empty balloon on a balance. Likewise, a teacher might introduce life cycles by setting up an area where students watch caterpillars spin cocoons and become butterflies.
Emphasizing skills over facts
More important than the scientific facts at this stage is children’s ability to observe, ask questions, record, and communicate what they experience. For example, a first-grade teacher might introduce the concept that sound is caused by vibration by asking students to explore with rubber bands, tuning forks and other sound makers what they can see, hear, and feel.
"In first grade, students can be expected to record in words as well as drawings what they've done and what they think," says Fred Stein, our science curriculum consultant.
What to look for when you visit
- Books about the seasons, plants and animals, and the earth as well as the human body
- Hands-on areas that encourage experimentation and might include water tables, models, and skeletons
- Safety glasses, thermometers, magnifying glasses, mirrors, bar magnets, and rulers
- Aquariums, gardens, or other areas that allow kids to learn about the life cycles of plants and animals
- Posted examples of student work, including lists of observations, questions, or drawings
- Guest experts from museums, zoos, and botanical gardens
Updated April 2010