The Importance of Focusing on Science in the Early Years

It would be extremely easy to purchase a one-size fits all science program for grades K-12. Simply purchase, train teachers and go. However, students at every grade level have specific developmental needs that affects not only the content they should learn, but also how they learn. Therefore, it is worthwhile for districts to learn why they should focus on K-2nd grade science learning, and then choose a program that caters directly towards the individual needs of kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade students AND their teachers.

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Think back to the last time you visited an engaging K-2nd grade classroom. What did you see? What did you hear? Were the students sitting on the floor listening to a page-turning story? Were they sitting in seats, engrossed in activities that required them to use crayons to draw images? Were they moving around in centers with their peers, full of excitement while trying new things? Certainly these children were enjoying any activity you observed because these young students love to learn and satisfy their natural curiosity.

Second graders learn about temperature.

So, why not take advantage of this natural curiosity and provide teachers with a science program that provides students with educational experiences that cater to their developmental needs and at the same time, provide the foundation required be successful in the intermediate grades. According to Paul L. Morgan from Pennsylvania State University, “if [students] enter kindergarten with very little knowledge about the natural and social world, [they] will be struggling in science by third grade…and struggling in science by eighth grade.” It’s clear that science needs to be a priority and implementing a unique and effective tool to introduce science to our youngest learners is critical.

Key Reasons Science Needs to be Taught in Primary Grades:

Several 1st grade students listen to a science story.

1. Early learners are excellent observers and are very good at asking questions. In fact, if there is one phrase we associate most with young children it would be, “Why?” Even if this is one of the shortest of questions, it shows their curiosity. We should build upon it! Students should be exploring these questions in a developmentally appropriate way.

2. Early learners love to play and learn through play. Science for kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade is all about exposing our students to foundational science skills. Many times this simply means just looking at objects, using magnets, drawing pictures, watching things happen, and using manipulatives. To students, these are all forms of play. Engaging your students in foundational science concepts today, could lead to lifelong interests of science and technology-focused futures! A kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade science program needs to draw on these playful experiences.

3. Interaction is key when working with early learners. Science lends itself to conversations and the sharing of tools and ideas, too. Young learners can start building these essential social skills while having fun with science. Does your K-2nd grade program offer the opportunity to easily work in groups and share new skills?

4. Support is critical for educators, especially teachers of multiple subject areas. Teachers need a science program that provides ways to infuse science throughout their day and with the pedagogy to feel comfortable and confident with the content.

A student uses Science4Us on an iPad. is the answer. Finally, a digitally delivered, standards-based science curriculum that allows kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade students the opportunities to build foundational science skills. Through the 5E Model, teachers are provided the best strategies to deliver a solid science lesson to their K-2nd grade students. Teachers have access to multiple disciplinary activities in literacy, mathematics and technology so they can teach science throughout their day. Real-time science experiments, hands on and digital activities, fast feedback and game-based play encourages early learners to excel in science and foster future STEM careers!

Get hands-on with our Magnets Module.

If you’re interested in learning more about our McREL study or are ready to engage your youngest learners in the foundations of science, give us a call at 954-626-3117 or email us.