Many states’ early learning standards contain a few descriptions of science-related skills that children under the age of 5 should be working toward. It is important for teachers to become familiar with these standards so that they can plan learning opportunities around them and so that they know what to look for as children explore science.
Did you know, that in addition to these state standards, that there is a set of standards called the Next Generation Science Standards? These standards were developed for K-12 by experts in the fields of education and science. The goal is to prepare children with the skills they will need to be successful when they enter the workforce.
It is a good idea for early childhood educators to become familiar with the skills and concepts children will encounter when they enter elementary school. You can search the standards by topic and grade level here.
Here are just a few of the science-related skills that are included in the Kindergarten Next Generation Science Standards:
- Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
- Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.
- Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
- Ask questions to obtain information about the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather.*
- Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
- Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
- Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.
- Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.
You can see the rest of the standards and those that were established for children of other grade levels by visiting the Next Generation Science Standards website.
How could you use these standards to inform the decisions you make about science instruction in your program?