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.
Prior to this Unit (list of TEKS in previous courses or previous units of this course that align with the content of this unit)
- Grade 3
- 3.1A – Demonstrate safe practices as described in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards during classroom and outdoor investigations using safety equipment as appropriate, including safety goggles or chemical splash goggles, as appropriate, and gloves.
- 3.1B – Make informed choices in the use and conservation of natural resources by recycling or reusing materials such as paper, aluminum cans, and plastics.
- 3.2A – Plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking and answering questions, making inferences, and selecting and using equipment or technology needed, to solve a specific problem in the natural world.
- 3.2B – Collect and record data by observing and measuring using the metric system and recognize differences between observed and measured data.
- 3.2C – Construct maps, graphic organizers, simple tables, charts, and bar graphs using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate measured data.
- 3.2D – Analyze and interpret patterns in data to construct reasonable explanations based on evidence from investigations.
- 3.2E – Demonstrate that repeated investigations may increase the reliability of results.
- 3.2F – Communicate valid conclusions supported by data in writing, by drawing pictures, and through verbal discussion.
- 3.3A – Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing.
- 3.3B – Represent the natural world using models such as volcanoes or the Sun, Earth, and Moon system and identify their limitations, including size, properties, and materials.
- 3.3C – Connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of science, science careers, and contributions of scientists.
- 3.4A – Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, wind vanes, rain gauges, pan balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, spring scales, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, notebooks, and Sun, Earth, and Moon system models; timing devices; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.
- Grade 4
- 4.1A – Demonstrate safe practices and the use of safety equipment as described in Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards during classroom and outdoor investigations using safety equipment, including safety goggles or chemical splash goggles, as appropriate, and gloves, as appropriate.
- 4.1B – Make informed choices in the use and conservation of natural resources and reusing and recycling of materials such as paper, aluminum, glass, cans, and plastic.
- 4.2A – Plan and implement descriptive investigations, including asking well defined questions, making inferences, and selecting and using appropriate equipment or technology to answer his/her questions.
- 4.2B – Collect and record data by observing and measuring, using the metric system, and using descriptive words and numerals such as labeled drawings, writing, and concept maps.
- 4.2C – Construct simple tables, charts, bar graphs, and maps using tools and current technology to organize, examine, and evaluate data.
- 4.2D – Analyze data and interpret patterns to construct reasonable explanations from data that can be observed and measured.
- 4.2E – Perform repeated investigations to increase the reliability of results.
- 4.2F – Communicate valid oral and written results supported by data.
- 4.3A – Analyze, evaluate, and critique scientific explanations by using evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing.
- 4.3B – Represent the natural world using models such as the water cycle and stream tables and identify their limitations, including accuracy and size.
- 4.3C – Connect grade-level appropriate science concepts with the history of science, science careers, and contributions of scientists.
- 4.4A – Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including calculators, microscopes, cameras, computers, hand lenses, metric rulers, Celsius thermometers, mirrors, spring scales, balances, graduated cylinders, beakers, hot plates, meter sticks, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices; and materials to support observation of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.
During this Unit (an overview of the content in this unit)
This unit bundles Student Expectations that allow for the establishment of science procedures, including safety and notebooking. Students demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Education Agency-approved safety standards. Please refer to the TEKS Resource System Resource “Science Notebooking: A Reflective Tool for Assessing Student Understanding_G.5” for more information. Consider engaging students in a short descriptive investigation using process skills to begin working and thinking like a scientist and to give a purpose to begin using the science notebook.
The introduction unit is an opportunity to introduce the course through the lens of the Overarching Understandings (big ideas). Throughout the school year, students need to continually look at instances of natural phenomena through the big ideas of systems, classifications, properties, patterns, models, constancy, and change. 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” 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.
According to the introductory material of the TEKS, “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 50% 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 5.1A now includes safety equipment from former 5.4B. 5.2 Knowledge Statement has replaced “inquiry methods” with “scientific practices”. 5.2C added “and record”. 5.3A revised language for instructional time. 5.3B was deleted. 5.3C was recoded to 5.3B and revised “such as” examples. 5.4A revised language for instructional flexibility. Appropriate safety equipment from 5.4B is now embedded in 5.1A. See Science TEKS Streamlining Side by Side Grade 5 (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 use scientific processes, safe practices, and their science notebooks throughout the year as they investigate scientific concepts and describe their findings.
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)
- Scientific investigations may take many different forms, including observing what things are like or what is happening somewhere, collecting specimens for analysis, and doing experiments. 1B/E1*
- Because we expect science investigations that are done the same way to produce the same results, when they do not, it is important to try to figure out why. 1B/E2a*
- One reason for following directions carefully and for keeping records of one's work is to provide information on what might have caused differences in investigations. 1B/E2b
- Scientists' explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe, partly from what they think. 1B/E3a
- Sometimes scientists have different explanations for the same set of observations. That usually leads to their making more observations to resolve the differences. 1B/E3bc
- Scientists do not pay much attention to claims about how something they know about works unless the claims are backed up with evidence that can be confirmed, along with a logical argument. 1B/E4”
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2009). Benchmarks for scientific literacy. Project 2061. Retrieved from