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What to teach in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is such an important year in a child’s learning journey. And as such, deciding what to include in the curriculum is key. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) included Kindergarten in their work. 

What are the Next Generation Science Standards

In general, the current science education standards are grouped into three distinct groups about teaching and learning. The first category is practices. In this set of standards, the overarching goal is for children to understand how scientists and engineers go about investigating phenomena and problems.

There are eight practices are:

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

The second category is disciplinary core ideas. These are the minimum scientific ideas children should master in each of these disciplines:

  1. Physical sciences
  2. Life sciences
  3. Earth and space sciences
  4. Engineering, technology, and application of science

In each discipline, the standards gives list of concepts/ideas children should be able to explain using age appropriate sources of evidence.

The third category is crosscutting concepts. These are the standards that guide instruction to help learners notice patterns and concepts/ideas across multiple disciplines. In other words, this category is the thread that joins practices and disciplinary core ideas.

You can purchase the Next Generation Science Standards and its companion book on Amazon. {Affiliate links at no additional cost to you.}

What to Teach

Kindergarten science can be grouped into 3 main themes/units. Are you trying to do Montessori at home but you feel overwhelmed when it comes to science teaching? 

The first theme/unit combines Plants and Animals and should take place mostly outdoors. The goal is for children to be able to:

  • Describe that all animals need food in order to live and grow.
  • Gather evidence to claim that animals and plants obtain their food from plants, other animals, and or the environment.
  • Collect evidence to claim that plants need water and light to live and grow.
  • Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals need to survive.

The second theme/unit is, Weather. In this theme, children are invited to notice relationships and cause and effect phenomena. 

Specifically, in this theme/unit children should be able to:

  • Describe that weather is the combination of sunlight, wind, snow or rain, and temperature in a particular region at a particular time.
  • Notice weather patterns over time.
  • Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals can change the environment to meet their needs.
  • Recognize that humans impact the environment.

Finally, the third theme/unit is, Earth’s Systems. These standards are the most abstract but blend wonderfully to many engineering projects.

  • Collect evidence that sunlight warms Earth’s surface.
  • Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.

Hope these basic descriptions help you plan your Montessori rotations. If you would like a more detailed scope of the units, you can download the reference document here. Additional supporting material can be found here

Share with us your science teaching plans! We would love to hear about your journey. Curious about what themes/unit are recommenced for the next grade level? Visit our blog post on what to teach in first grade

 

Published by Reizelie Barreto, PhD

Reizelie is a former homeschool parent and a trained science and Montessori teacher with a passion for curriculum development. She loves learning and teaching and on her spare time she helps families create home environments that enrich a child's learning. Reizelie has a PhD in science education and has been working in the field of education for the last 19 years. She loves helping teachers, schools, and homeschooling families improve their science curriculum in ways that are authentic to scientists' work.

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