The purpose of this unit is to develop critical thinking skills, make the science curriculum more exciting for students, incorporate the scientific method, and encourage students to make connections between school science and real life. It is designed for second grade, for which the study of liquids and solids is an important aspect of the science curriculum. This is one of four units of study required by the district and incorporates the use of an STC (Science and Technology for Children) science kit, which contains suggested lessons and materials for the students to explore. The study of kitchen science will add in-depth understanding and real life applications that go beyond the learning they achieve through participation with the science kit.
This unit will help the students understand the scientific principles that affect matter. The students will use scientific inquiry, experiments, and observations to understand different states of matter. The experiments included in this unit will be designed to challenge and expand student comprehension by demonstrating exceptions and changes that apply to the traditionally defined categories of liquids and solids. Furthermore, learning about the science of the kitchen will allow students to apply their learning in the classroom to everyday materials they see at home.
This unit is designed for second grade at Davis Street Inter-District Magnet School. The school is a "Title 1" school with a majority of its student body comprised of families from low socioeconomic background. Since many of the students lack the extracurricular experiences their suburban counterparts enjoy, there is a great need to provide interesting lessons that actively capture their attention while they are in school. It is especially important to teach science in an engaging way that will inspire students to think critically and prepare them for more advanced science and state mandated testing of science in their near academic future.
There has been a great emphasis recently on reading and writing in order to address a need to improve scores on state-mandated tests, so the science activities need to be integrated with the literacy curriculum. Therefore, this unit will incorporate the use of second grade reading material for students to learn from and respond to. They will read and write about the various states of matter and the physical changes matter goes through. The students will always be required to write about what they have observed. Writing helps students to remember and reflect on what they have just learned and how their understandings have developed over time. The integration of science with language arts and other subject areas, as well as the hands-on nature of the activities included, will activate the various learning styles and academic strengths of individual students. Therefore, this unit contains writing and reading comprehension activities that correspond to the objectives of the required literacy curriculum.
This curriculum unit is designed for second grade students, but the content could easily be extended to teach students from second to fifth grade. In order to adapt the curriculum for older children, the reading selections might be supplemented with more challenging and longer texts. The students could delve much deeper into terminology and learn more about the scientific principals. They would be expected to write with much more depth, but the content would be very similar.
The unit will consist of two main sections. The first section will provide various opportunities for students to sort and observe various properties of solids and liquids. The second section will provide hands on experiments to challenge some of the generalizations they may have made during the first section. The experiments will help students to understand how liquids and solids react under certain circumstances. Students will understand how energy affects matter and they will begin to understand how the movement of molecules affects the materials we see, touch and eat. The students will have opportunities to observe situations in which solids can be made to flow and act like a liquid, as well as observe situations that create changes in state from solid to liquid or vice versa. The students will use foods and other familiar materials to make these observations. This unit will provide multiple opportunities for scientific inquiry, and will leave students with both questions and answers. Group and class discussions will follow each experiment to address and correct assumptions and misunderstandings. The activities will address several New Haven Science Standards, as noted in Appendix 1.