Grade 2

In Grade Two, students explore the connections between plants and animals in rotting logs, how wind and water shape the Earth’s surface, and how engineers use what they learn from nature to solve problems (biomimicry). Science and engineering practices are woven throughout all of the science content, as well as the use of science notebooks and integration with the other curriculum areas. Students learn about scientists and engineers from diverse backgrounds and reflect on how they (as student scientists and engineers) are similar to them. Engineering ProblemSolver lessons that match the content are woven throughout the year. 

Unit Description Essential Questions
Introduction to Science and Science Notebooks
At every grade level (JK-8), Cambridge students begin the year exploring what science is, why science is important to them, who scientists are and what they do, and how they will use science notebooks to record their questions, observations, ideas and explanations throughout the year. These skills build over time as students move from grade to grade.
What is science? Why is it important to me? 

Who are scientists and what do they do? 

How and why do scientists use science notebooks? 
Life in a Rotting Log
Students closely observe the rotting log habitat outside and using models in their classrooms. They figure out what kinds of living things live in a rotting log, how the parts and behaviors of these living things help them survive in there, and how all of these living things depend on one another. Students also observe worm bins and gather evidence on what happens in the worm compost bins and rotting logs over time. 
What lives in and around a rotting log? 

What parts and behaviors help them survive there? 

How are the living things in a rotting log connected? 

What happens to a rotting log over time? Why?
Changes in Earth
Using maps and other tools, students figure out the different types of features on Earth then explore how these features may have formed. This leads to investigations about how these changes (such as floods, soil loss, etc.) may be harmful to living things and solutions that may be put into place to prevent these problems. 
Where is water on Earth? What forms does it take?

Why is the Earth’s surface shaped the way it is? 

How do maps and other tools help us learn about Earth’s surface?

How do changes in Earth’s surface affect living things? What can we do to help solve these problems? 
Designing with Nature
Students explore how and why different materials are used based on their properties, as well as how those properties can change under certain conditions. They learn how engineers need to understand the properties of materials when they solve problems, then are introduced to biomimicry (using what we learn from nature to solve human problems). Students study the properties and functions of animal and plant parts. Then they apply what they have learned to design a solution to a problem based on something from nature that has inspired them. 
What are things made of? How can we describe those materials?

Why is it important to pick materials with the right properties to design a solution to a problem? 

Why do materials and their properties change? Why is it important to know that? 

What can we learn from nature to solve problems?

Department Information

Elementary Science

Middle School Science

High School Science

Contact Us
Janet MacNeil, JK-12 Science Coordinator
Allan Gehant, Dean of Curriculum, CRLS
Patty McGaffigan, District Science Coach (6-8)
Susan Agger, Maynard Ecology Center Director
Donna Pereira, Science Materials Manager

Science Department
359 Broadway, Cambridge
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