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Your second grader and science

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By GreatSchools Staff

Getting acquainted with the physical world

Parents can expect their second-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 scientific facts at this stage is children’s ability to observe, ask questions, plan and do investigations, and record and communicate what they experience. The teacher might encourage students to investigate the circulatory system by asking them to put their hands on their chests to feel their heartbeats, comparing their heartbeat rates before and after exercise. Or a second grader might identify metamorphosis and various stages of life by observing tadpoles as they turn into frogs.

"In second grade, students tend to be more socially adept, and can be expected to work cooperatively in groups on planning, doing and reporting their science investigations," says Fred Stein, our science curriculum consultant.

What to look for when you visit

  • Books about seasons, plants and animals, and the earth; space and the solar system; and the human body
  • Books about scientists who have contributed to science and technology
  • Hands-on areas that encourage experimentation and might feature microscopes, 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

Comments from readers

"This is wonderful knowlegde and exciting for my chid Thanks billy Breaux"