The Earth and celestial phenomena can be described by principles of relative motion and perspective. The universe is made up of many different objects. Students should observe and describe the motions of the Sun, Moon, and stars. The movement of these objects through space can be traced and measured over various time segments. By keeping daily records, students will learn to identify sequences of changes and look for patterns; this skill will be useful throughout their study of the natural world. Younger students should draw what they see. Older students should be encouraged to keep journals and use instruments to measure and record their observations.
Key Idea 2:
Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land. The water cycle, weather, erosion, deposition, and extreme natural events involve interactions among air, water, and land. Students should observe and describe naturally occurring changes in their world involving these phenomena. They can also investigate these phenomena in classroom experiments. Younger students should be engaged in observation of their immediate surroundings with emphasis on recognizing change around them. As students mature, they can begin to recognize cycles and identify the processes and natural events which are causing the changes they are observing.
Key Idea 3:
Matter is made up of particles whose properties determine the observable characteristics of matter and its reactivity. Students should describe, categorize, compare, and measure observable physical properties of matter and objects. Students ’ initial efforts in performing these processes may yield simple descriptions and sketches, which may lead to increasingly more detailed drawings and richer verbal descriptions. Things can be done to materials to change their properties, but not all materials respond in the same way to what is done to them. Younger students emphasize physical properties while older students will recognize chemical changes. Appropriate tools can aid students in their efforts.
Key Idea 4:
Energy exists in many forms, and when these forms change energy is conserved.
Students should understand that energy exists in a variety of forms. Students should observe the results of simple energy transformations from one form to another in their physical environment. The safe use and respect of various energy forms should be stressed in the classroom.
Note: Attempting to understand heat and its difference from temperature is too abstract a concept for elementary students. Energy is a subject that is difficult for students to understand. Students cannot hold it in their hands and, with the exception of light, they cannot see it.
Key Idea 5:
Energy and matter interact through forces that result in changes in motion.
Students should be able to observe and describe relative positions between objects in their world. Exploring the observable effects of gravity and magnetism may help students develop an understanding of the reason for the direction of an object ’s motion. Manipulation and application of simple tools and machines may help students learn about the relationships between forces and motion.