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Mount Mansfield Unified Union School District

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We believe the main focus of science instruction has shifted from “learning about” to “figuring out.” At the anchor of every science unit, students are exploring puzzling phenomena and observable events in their world that lead them to discover relevant scientific ideas. 

At MMUUSD, students are actively developing their science and engineering practices across units. They are not just constructing understanding of core concepts, they are also developing the habits that all scientists use. These science and engineering practices are lifelong skills that endure inside and beyond school.

  • Investigating puzzling questions about our world through Inquiry
  • Modeling to describe the way things work
  • Communicating ideas supported with evidence
  • Engineering to design solutions to problems

This way of teaching science enables students to:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of science beyond memorizing facts, 
  • Connect science ideas to their everyday life and interests
  • Experience engineering as they plan and test their solutions to problems 

Big Science Questions Explored in Grade 4

Organisms: Structures & Functions (Life Science)

  • How do the structures of a living organism help them to survive? 
  • How do organisms process information through their senses and how does their brain help them respond so that they are able to survive?

Geology: Natural Hazards that Change our Planet (Earth & Space Science)

  • What do the shapes of landforms and rock formations tell us about the past?
  • Why does our planet look the way it does?
  • How do natural hazards affect individuals and communities?

Energy & Motion (Physical Science)

  • What is energy? How is energy transferred between objects or systems?
  • What is electricity? What are circuits?
  • How do humans depend on and also impact Earth’s Natural Energy Sources?

Waves in Information Transfer (Physical Science)

  • What are the properties and tendencies of waves?
  • How are instruments that transmit and detect waves used to preserve and enhance human activity?

Helping your student learn outside of school

  • Look for everyday opportunities to have your child to ask questions about their world.
  • Help your child make connections between what they are learning in school and everyday life.
  • Point out where you are curious about science in your everyday life.
  • When your child asks a puzzling question, start by responding “what could we do to figure out more about that?”
  • Praise your child when they make an effort and share in the excitement when they solve a problem or understand something for the first time.
  • Read more about supporting your child’s inner-scientist here.

Questions you can ask your student:

  • What do you notice? What do you wonder?
  • How do you think that works? Why do you think that?
  • How is that idea like something else you know about?

Looking back
These ideas are built upon...

How These Ideas Grow
Across the Grades

Looking Forward 
These ideas are next explored

In Grade 2 students explored the structures in plants and their function for survival
Organisms: Structures & Functions

In Grade 7 students explore cell structures and their function

In Grade 2 students investigated the effects of erosion on the earth

Geology: Natural Hazards that Change our Planet

In Grade 6 students explore the formation of earth features and rock cycles

In Grade 3 students investigate the effects of force on the motion of an object

Energy & Motion

In Grade 6 students investigate Newton’s Laws of Motion

In Grade 1 students observe the effects of sound and light

Waves in Information Transfer

In Grade 8 students investigate how waves can be used in technology and engineering