Introduction (describes the focus and purpose of the unit)
The Introduction IFD serves two purposes:
1. An introduction to the course through the lens of Overarching Understandings and the processes used to engage with and explore the content.
2. A guide for educators to navigate Instructional Focus Documents during instructional planning for the units of this course. (See parenthetical notes in each section.)
This unit bundles Student Expectations that allow for the establishment of science procedures, including safety and notebooking, as well as exploring what scientists do and the tools they use to investigate.
Prior to this Unit (list of TEKS in previous courses or previous units of this course that align with the content of this unit)
Incoming Kindergarteners are most likely familiar with simple weather phenomena from prior experiences and have some sense of safety and why it is important.
During this Unit (an overview of the content in this unit)
Students immediately begin the process of working like a scientist and performing descriptive investigations to set the stage for scientific inquiry throughout the year. Please refer to the TEKS Resource System Resource “Science Notebooking: A Reflective Tool for Assessing Student Understanding_K” for more information. Students demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards and collect and record weather data by observing, measuring, organizing, and graphing it using pictures, numbers, and words.
The introduction unit is an opportunity to introduce the course through the lens of the Overarching Understandings (big ideas). Students need to continually look at instances of natural phenomena through the big ideas of systems, classifications, properties, patterns, models, constancy, and change throughout the school year. These terms are included in the Key Content Vocabulary, and students should be questioned throughout each unit for instances of these big ideas. Additionally, students need to be continually aware of the processes involved in their “doing” and “making sense” of science.
The scientific processes are very similar throughout every science course, beginning in Kindergarten. Students may need some direct instruction on the purpose and properties of scientific processes; however, it is intended for students to develop a deep understanding of the scientific processes by using them in the context of the content of this course, throughout every unit of this course. There are no Performance Assessments or assessment items associated with the introduction.
The purpose of measuring, recording, and graphing weather data at this time is to give a purpose and context for setting up and using the notebook. The actual content of weather will be addressed in Unit 05, Exploring Weather. Collecting data on a regular basis over time allows students to begin to recognize patterns in our natural world. Students collect data for relative air temperature, precipitation, wind conditions, and cloud coverage using appropriate equipment.
Note that rain gauges use inches or millimeters to measure rainfall. Students in Kindergarten Mathematics have only been introduced to measurement using the comparison of common attributes of objects, including length, capacity, and weight. As incoming Kindergarten students, they may need assistance collecting data.
According to the introductory material of the TEKS,
- “Weather is recorded and discussed on a daily basis so students may begin to recognize patterns in the weather.”
- “The study of elementary science includes planning and safely implementing classroom and outdoor investigations using scientific processes, including inquiry methods, analyzing information, making informed decisions, and using tools to collect and record information, while addressing the major concepts and vocabulary in the context of Physical, Earth, and Life sciences. Districts are encouraged to facilitate classroom and outdoor investigations for at least 80% of instructional time.”
Streamlining Note (a statement describing the changes in relevant TEKS in current and previous courses implemented in the 2018-2019 school year)
TEKS K.1A was revised to include chemical splash goggles and now includes safe and healthy practices from former K.1B; K.1B was deleted and is now included in K.1A; K.2B removed the “such as” example; K.2C language now generally states “simple tools”; K.4A removed “wind socks” as required equipment. See the Science TEKS Streamlining Side by Side Kindergarten (link in System Resources below).
After this Unit (a statement that may describe the content that will be studied next in the course, how the content aligns with future courses, or how the content of this unit may be used in the real world)
Students will continue using scientific processes, safe practices, and their science notebooks throughout the year as they investigate scientific concepts and describe their findings. Ongoing weather data collection will be utilized during Unit 05, Exploring Weather.
STAAR Note (a brief statement regarding STAAR or a list of TEKS that may be assessed on STAAR)
The student expectations in this unit support Scientific Investigation and Reasoning Skills that may be assessed on the Grade 5 Science STAAR:
- These skills are foundational for Grade 5 Scientific Investigation and Reasoning and will be incorporated into at least 40% of the test questions on the Grade 5 STAAR in Reporting Categories 1–4.
Research (list of research-based student expectations that align with the TEKS of this unit)
“As children become more familiar with their world, they can be guided to observe changes including cyclic changes, such as seasons and less consistent changes, such as weather.”
National Academy of Science. (1995). National science education standards. Retrieved May 15, 2008, from http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses/.
There are many ways to acquaint children with Earth-related phenomena that they will only come to understand later as being cyclic. For instance, students can start to keep daily records of temperature (hot, cold, pleasant) and precipitation (none, some, lots), and plot them by week, month, and years. It is enough for students to spot the pattern of ups and downs, without getting deeply into the nature of climate.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993). Benchmarks on-line. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/bolintro.htm
Students should be actively involved in exploring phenomena that interest them both in and out of class. These investigations should be fun and exciting, opening the door to even more things to explore. An important part of students’ exploration is telling others what they see, what they think, and what it makes them wonder about. Children should have lots of time to talk about what they observe and to compare their observations with those of others. A premium should be placed on careful expression, a necessity in science, but students at this level should not be expected to come up with scientifically accurate explanations for their observations.
From their very first day in school, students should be actively engaged in learning to view the world scientifically. That means encouraging them to ask questions about nature and to seek answers, collect things, count and measure things, make qualitative observations, organize collections and observations, discuss findings, etc. Getting into the spirit of science and liking science are what count most.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks for scientific literacy. Project 2061. Retrieved from http://www.project2061.org/publications/bsl/online/index.php?chapter=4#C2.
“By the end of the 2nd grade, students should know that:
- People can often learn about things around them by just observing those things carefully, but sometimes they can learn more by doing something to the things and noting what happens. 1B/P1
- Tools such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers, or balances often give more information about things than can be obtained by just observing things unaided. 1B/P2
- Describing things as accurately as possible is important in science because it enables people to compare their observations with those of others. 1B/P3
- When people give different descriptions of the same thing, it is usually a good idea to make some fresh observations instead of just arguing about who is right. 1B/P4”
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks for scientific literacy. Project 2061. Retrieved from