In the fall, students will be observing the Monarch butterfly as it goes through the different stages of its life cycle. Students will also be observing ladybugs and comparing the ladybug’s life cycle with the Monarch’s life cycle. The first part of the unit is structured so that students go into this exploration knowing that the Monarch butterfly faces various obstacles throughout its life; the lack of milkweed, predators as well as insects that encroach on their food supply. Students will learn about the Monarch butterfly and its primary food source to help them think of and communicate ideas to help solve the Monarch’s problem.
In the spring, students will be observing frogs as they go through the various changes in their life cycle. Students will learn that observing and recording will help them to see the changes that a frog goes through in its life. They will also be observing toads throughout its life cycle to help them make the connection that although animals might be different, they have similar needs and go through similar life stages. In this part of the unit, students will experience setting up and conducting a feeding experiment to see which type of food will help frogs grow faster. Through this experience, students will learn the importance of food in the growth of a living thing but also will learn about setting up experiments and help them begin to understand fair testing.
Students will be investigating how pushes and pulls affect the motion of an object. Through a variety of experiments, students are expected to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object. Students will investigate how various surfaces affect forces. Students will be expected to analyze data to determine if a design works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull. The understandings are developed that pushes and pulls can have different strengths and directions; that pushing or pulling on an object can change the speed or direction of its motion and can start or stop it; that when objects touch or collide, they push on one another and can change motion; the strength of push or pull makes things speed up or slow down more quickly.
Students will be able to share observations of local weather conditions as they relate to seasons and gain an understanding of weather forecasting, the presentation and dissemination of weather observations and predictions. Students will also gain an understanding of the purpose of a thermometer in observing and obtaining information about temperature and identify temperature using common terms. They will identify types of severe weather that occurs in our region. Students will observe the effects of the sunlight on various surfaces and will create a stable structure that will reduce the warming effect of the sun's energy.