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Grade 2

“As students grow in their ability to speak, read, write, and reason mathematically, they also grow in their ability to grapple with larger systems and the parts that make them up….” In the Earth’s Surface unit students “learn that water is found everywhere on Earth and takes different forms and shapes. They map landforms and bodies of water and observe that flowing water and wind shapes these landforms.” Students then “use their observation skills gained in earlier grades to classify materials based on similar properties and functions. They gain experience testing different materials to collect and then analyze data for the purpose of determining which materials are the best for a specific function. They construct large objects from smaller pieces and, conversely, learn that when materials are cut into the smallest possible pieces, they still exist as the same material” in the Materials and Their Uses unit. …

Finally, “students start to look beyond the structures of individual plants and animals to looking at the environment in which the plants and animals live as a provider of the food, water, and shelter that the organisms need” in the Plant and Animal Survival unit. Taken together, these units allow students to investigate cause and effect and subsequently systems in later grades. (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 32)

Unit Description Essential Questions
Earth’s Surface
Maps are a type of model that can be used to show landforms and bodies of water.

Wind and water can change the shape of the land.

Engineers can develop solutions when changes to the land cause challenges for people.
Why is the earth’s surface shaped the way it is?

How do models inform our understanding of the shape of the earth’s surface?
Materials and Their Uses
Different materials are used for different purposes based on their properties.

Materials have the same properties even after being broken down into smaller pieces or assembled into larger objects.

Not all materials respond the same way to the same change (heating, cooling, mixing).
How does an engineer choose which materials to use?

When is a material a new material?
Plant and Animal Survival
Plants and animals depend on other living things and their environment to grow, thrive, and survive.

Different types of environments support different types of living things.
How can environments that are so different support life that is so similar? How can life that is so similar also be so different?

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2016). 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework. Malden, MA: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.