St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

New Science Curriculum Promotes Investigative Learning

Posted on March 30, 2017 at 5:45 PM

St. Patrick Elementary School is excited to begin to use the Battle Creek science program in the fall of 2017. It was time to change our curriculum after using the same model for many years. After researching a few options, we decided that the Battle Creek curriculum was the best fit to carry out our objectives. Money was given to purchase this program at the Shamrock Auction last April and we purchased the first part of the program this year. A special thanks to all those who donated at the auction; we would not be able to do it without you!


The Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center, a regional educational consortium in the state, has developed a kindergarten through seventh grade inquiry-based science curriculum that is aligned with the Michigan grade level content expectations. The purpose of the program is to provide hands-on science instruction in the classroom with opportunities for students to engage in all four areas of science (physical science, life science, earth science, and inquiry and technology). Inquiry-based instruction focuses on students answering a question through discovering and learning. Teachers may use discussions, experiments, or hands-on activities to lead students on the path to discovery.


The first unit we purchased is physical science. Here is a summary of what the students will be learning next year.


Kindergarten: Students explore the different effects of different strengths and directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of objects. To demonstrate this concept, students will design, analyze, and build a system to get an object from a starting position to a designated end position. The object must change direction and arrive in a specified amount of time.


1st Grade: Students explore the relationship between vibrations and sounds and design instruments or sound makers. They explore light in terms of light traveling in a straight path from one place to another and what happens when different objects are placed in the path of light. They will design different items such as a tree house and emergency warning system to demonstrate the concepts learned.


2nd Grade: Students explore the properties of matter and how different properties make material useful in designing and building items. They will design and build a structure to withstand wind and rain while keeping a figure inside dry.


3rd Grade: Students explore the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of objects. Their exploration includes non-contact forces using magnets and electricity in various projects.


4th Grade: Students explore how energy moves from place to place and is observable through sound, light, heat transfer, motion, and electric currents. Students will design a Rube Goldberg device that makes a sound at its conclusion. This device must include several examples of energy moving from place to place.


5th Grade: Students explore matter in terms of measurable properties. Students will develop an understanding that the number of particles and weight of matter does not change regardless of the changes it goes through. They will develop a model to demonstrate that matter is made up of particles too small to be seen.


We plan on purchasing the next unit, earth science, for the fall of 2018 and then the third and final unit, life science, for the fall of 2019.

 

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