Elementary Science

Overview

Children are naturally curious. Why is night dark? Why is grass green? Why do astronauts need a space suit? Curiosity about the world is is at the heart of the human experience.

Learning about science allows children to both satisfy and fuel their curiosity. Everything is connected, so a question answered springs forth a dozen more. Students ask what things are made of, how things came to be, what happened before, what will happen next, and so on forever.

Our approach to science enables children to ask and answer questions in a way that is empowering. Building knowledge and connections for an integrated whole of knowledge, not just a string of disconnected “random facts.”

The goals of a rigorous science curriculum are two-fold

  • Learn “stuff.” Foundational content of biology, earth and space science, physics, chemistry, geology and anatomy. This information should be presented in a structured way, so as to be useful.
  • Engage in focused, evidential thinking. How to ask a good question, how to gather information, how to test a hypothesis, and come up with a conclusion. This scientific method helps not only scientists, but all critical thinkers in any field. From determining the speed of light, to the veracity of a news story.

Program Elements

“Progress and advancement in science did not depend merely on seeing things, but on seeing them armed with special preparation, special mental training.”

Maria Montessori, Creative Development in the Child, P. 82

Science isn’t a body of knowledge, it’s a way of thinking. A way of systematically interrogating the universe to discover what is true.

Our approach to science rests upon the scientific method, the process and pursuit of truth.

Our students practice careful observation will all five of their senses. They learn how to record their observations in a variety of ways- charts, sketches, writings- and then make inferences from those observations.

“He does it with his hands, by experience, first in play and then through work. The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.”

Maria Montessori

In our classrooms, science is primarily taught through hands-on experiments and activities. Children are naturally curious and we encourage their questions and help them find the answers.

The science area of the classroom is prepared in such a way that children can explore any topic of interest to them and to conduct experiments.

Further content is taught through demonstrations, experiments, stories, charts, and books. The curriculum moves through content units in a specific sequence (with lots of opportunity for passion projects based on the child’s individual interest), providing a solid foundation of scientific knowledge.

“We must fundamentally redesign how we teach reading by taking the focus off excessively practicing skills and strategies and putting it on deliberately building background knowledge of the world.”

Natalie Wexler, The Knowledge Gap

In recent years, especially through the outstanding work of Natalie Wexler in The Knowledge Gap, knowledge and content-rich curriculum has be identified as one of the most important components of a quality educational program- this has been the foundation for the Montessori Method education for over 100 years!

The science curriculum at Rhyme and Reason Academy isn’t a special “add-on,” separate from the “important” academic subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, science is a foundational pillar of knowledge that children draw upon to practice those skills. When a particular kind of writing needs to be practiced, we look to our science and history materials to find something of interest, perhaps a biography of Isaac Newton? Or maybe a research report about the fastest animal? The child could write a haiku about a sprouting seed.

Without our science curriculum, reading, writing, and arithmetic would be hollow.

“Children indeed love flowers, but they need to something more than remain among them and contemplate their colored blossoms. They find their greatest pleasure in acting, in knowing, in exploring, even apart from the attraction of external beauty.”

Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child, P. 74

Though the child may never need to distinguish between a White Oak tree and a Red Oak tree in his or her adult career, the scientific skills developed in our botany curriculum will serve them for life.

Botany is an ideal gateway science because of its accessibility and familiarity to the child. Plants can be observed with all of the senses, they can be dissected, they can be looked at under a microscope.

Meaningful experiments can be accomplished with plants, manipulating variables and seeing outcomes, such as watering a plant with water or oil, or putting seeds in the refrigerator to sprout. What will happen?

Everyday Experiments

As part of the prepared environment, children may choose science experiments at any time.

Lower Elementary Curriculum

Sprouting seeds for the garden

Biology

The Plant
First Knowledge of Plants
Parts of the Plant
Fundamental Needs of the Plant
How Plants Grow and Reproduce
Plant Life Cycles

The Leaf
Function and Parts of the Leaf
Types of Leaves
The Leaf as a Food Factory
Plants Grow Towards the Light, Leaf Arrangement
Plants Release Oxygen and Moisture

The Root
Function and Parts of the Root
Types of Roots
Roots Take Up Water for the Plant
Roots Secure Plants, Keep Soil in Place

The Stem
Function and Parts of the Stem
Stems Hold the Leaves Up to the Light
Stems Carry Water from the Roots and Nutrients from the Leaves
Geotropism

The Flower
Function and Parts of the Flower
Types of Flowering Plants
How Plants Ensure Pollination
The Plant and its Reproductive Parts

The Fruit
The Function and Parts of the Fruit
Types of Fruits

The Seed
The Function and Parts of the Seed
Types of Seeds Seed Dispersal

Animal Stories
First Knowledge of Animals
Who Am I? Stories Sorting Animals by Question


External Parts of Vertebrates
Adaptation Life Cycles of Animals
Beginning Animal Research

The Human Body
The Great River Story
Simple Body Systems

Relative proportion of the Sun to the Earth

Earth & Space Science

Composition of the Earth
Layers of the Earth
Functions of Earth’s Layers
Plate Tectonics
Mountain Formation
Rock Cycle and Formations

Sun and Earth
Relative Proportion of the Sun and Earth
Rotation of the Planets and Centrifugal Force
The Sun’s Energy

Planets of the Solar System
Names, Properties and Order of Planets
Interplanetary Distance
Rotation and Orbit of the Solar System

Earth’s Movements
Parts of the Day
Time Zones: Sunrise and Set
Lines of Latitude and Longitude
The International Date Line

Work of Air
Air Occupies Space
Warmer Air Moves Upward
Wind is Moving Air Circulating in a Pattern
Changing Seasons and Winds Erosion

Work of Water
The River and Its Parts
River Flows from Highlands to Low Lands
Erosion The Water Cycle

Weather and Climate
Rain and Water Vapors
Condensation
Local Conditions for Rain, Hail, Snow
Climates Around the World

Timeline of Life and The Long Black Strip

Physical Science & Scientific Inquiry

Great Stories
The Story of the Universe
The Coming of Life
Timeline of Life

Combining
Mixture, Suspension, Solution
Chemical Change Separating Saturation and Crystallization

States of Matter
Properties and Classification of Solids, Liquids, Gases
Which Way Solids, Liquids, Gases Push
Attraction and Gravity

Light and Sound Waves
Sources of Light Transparent
Translucent
Opaque Mirrors
Shadows
Sound
Vibration

Love of the World
Observation
Identifying and Describing Patterns
Asking Questions, Curiosity of How and Why It Works
Develop Models and Drawings

Scientific Process
Lab Safety
Structure of Scientific Testing Cycle
Collecting and Analyzing Data from Key Lab Experiments

Research Reports

Upper Elementary Curriculum

Field hikes

Biology

Research and Timelines
Evolution of Life
Kingdoms of Life

Plant Classification
Introduction to Plant Classification
Dichotomous Key
Planting a Research Garden

Advanced Study of the Plant
Further study of Types and Specialization
Plant Reproduction and Propagation of Seeds, Roots

Animal Classification
Introduction to Animal Classification
Characteristics of Living Things

Body Functions of Vertebrates
Introduction to the Five Classes
Comparing Classes and Their Characteristics
Naming and Understanding the Purpose of Body Functions

The Human Body
Humans are Mammals
Cell Biology
Digestive System
Circulatory System
Respiratory System
Muscular System
Nervous System

Evolution and Adaptation
How Evolution Works
Species Adaptation in the Context of the Theory of Evolution
Darwin’s Theory
Tree of Life and Cladograms
Mutation

Biosphere and Biomes
Life at Levels from Atom to Biosphere
Types and Characteristics of Biomes
Trophic Levels and Food Chains
Interactions Between Species

Matter Cycle and Ecosystems
Elements and Cycle of Life
Matter Cycle in an Ecosystem
Energy Transfer Through Trophic Levels of an Ecosystem
Ocean Ecosystem

Interdependencies
Connection Between Earth’s Natural and Man-Made Systems

Antares rocket launching.

Earth & Space Science

Research and Timelines
History of the Universe
Eons of Earth’s Geologic Process

Composition of the Earth
Advanced Work on Earth’s Layers, Plate Tectonics and the Rock Cycle
Continental Drift
Isostatic Balance
Hot Spots, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Geysers
Natural Disasters

The Seasons
Unequal Day and Night
The Poles Solstices and Equinoxes
Length of the Seasons
Relating Seasons to Latitude

Temperature Zones
Variation within Temperature Zones

Winds
Global Winds
High and Low Air Pressure
Deflections and Planetary Winds
Wind Erosion
Connection Between Changing Seasons and Winds
Interactions of Heated Land/Water and Wind

Waters
Erosion by Rain, Waves, and Ice
Sedimentation Flow of Rivers
The Water Cycle
Saltwater and Freshwater
Water’s Impact on Living Things

Climates
Around the World
The Ocean’s Impact on Climate
Connection Between Climate and Biome
Research of Climate Zones

Solar System and Beyond
Universe, Galaxies, Stars
Comets and Meteors
Eclipses
Astronomers and Their Tools

Space Missions
How Do Rockets Work?
The Fundamental Needs of Astronauts
Field trip to Wallops Island Launch Facility

Collecting and displaying insect specimens

Physical Science & Scientific Inquiry

States of Matter
Effect of Temperature
Movement of Particles
Liquids: Fluid, Viscous
Solids: Rigid, Elastic, Plastic
Measuring Mass and Weight

The Elements
Origins of Atomic Theory
Relative Properties of Elements
Periodic Table
Chemical Groups of Elements
Electron Attraction and Repulsion

Forces and Interactions
Force Motion Patterns
Relationships Between Objects and Force
Electric and Magnetic Forces
Experimentation with Simple Machines

Energy
Concept of Energy
Speed
Transfer
Electrical Currents
Natural Energy Sources
Experimentation with Circuits

Love of the World
Observation
Identifying and Describing Patterns
Asking Questions, Curiosity of How and Why It Works
Developing Models with Technology

Scientific Thinking
Formation of Hypothesis
Scientific Design
Theories and Laws Optional
Science Fair

Design Thinking
Defining a Design Problem
Generating and Comparing Solutions
Project Management

Education for life

If you think Rhyme and Reason Academy would be a good fit for you and your family, then let’s start a conversation!