Component 1: Scientific Inquiry and Application

Learning Goal 1.a: Children learn to plan for and carry out investigations and collect, evaluate, and communicate information.

By 9 months, most children:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of individual objects and stimuli
  • Feel and explore objects placed in their hands and bring the objects to their mouth
  • Use multiple senses to observe and respond to their natural world
  • Bang a block or other object on the floor repeatedly to hear the sound it makes
  • Repeatedly turn an object over and listen to the sound of its movement; purposely push buttons on a toy box to produce a sound
  • Use their bodies as “tools” (a means to an end) to gather information and obtain results (e.g., reaching out and grasping to get the rattle

By 18 months, most children:

  • Demonstrate an awareness that new objects and stimuli are different from already-known objects
  • Vary their behaviors or actions to see what the result will be (e.g., splash hands in water, watch toys move)
  • Explore and manipulate objects to see what happens or how things work (e.g., flip light switches on and off, press buttons on a music player)
  • Pat, push, squish, and pound play dough, clay, or wet sand to experience how it feels and discover what they can do with it
  • Demonstrate a recognition of cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., pushing on a toy truck and watching it roll away)
  • Understand the use of people as “tools” for help (e.g., pulling on an adult’s hand and guiding it to twist the knob on a wind-up toy)

By 24 months, most children:

  • Make simple decisions, take action, and observe the effect of their actions on others (e.g., knocking down a tower of blocks)
  • Make simple predictions about what comes next based on previous experience (e.g., predicting that “outside” time comes after their nap)
  • Explore cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., pushing a button on an adult’s smart phone to change the picture)
  • Use tools to collect information and to influence their environment (e.g., if a toy is on a towel, pulling the blanket to bring the toy closer)

By 36 months, most children:

  • Provide simple descriptions of objects, people, and events based on observations
  • Ask questions about the world around them
  • Explore cause-and-effect relationships by intentionally repeating an action and observing the reaction (e.g., attempting to balance blocks on slanted surfaces, using fingers to move objects on a touch screen)
  • Collect information and adapt an approach to reaching a goal by using actual objects as tools (e.g., using a stick to reach something that is under a chair)

By 48 months, most children:

  • Make increasingly complex observations about objects and events in their environment (e.g., noticing patterns in events or identifying attributes of objects that are similar and/or different)
  • Make simple predictions and plans to carry out investigations
  • Explore cause-and-effect relationships by intentionally varying the action to change the reaction (e.g., changing the size and/or orientation of blocks used when attempting to build a tall structure that doesn’t fall down)
  • Demonstrate an understanding that tools can be used to gather information and investigate materials (e.g., placing objects on a balance scale to see which is heavier)

By 60 months, most children:

  • Use a variety of tools (e.g., measuring devices) to gather information and observe processes and relationships (e.g., using the Internet to find information on what types of food fish eat and how much food they need, using measuring cups to measure fish food, then observing fish and recording how much they eat)
  • Engage in elements of the scientific process, which includes observing, making predictions, recording predictions (through pictures, drawing, or dictation), developing plans for testing hypotheses, trying out ideas, and communicating outcomes
  • Analyze the result of an attempted solution and use the new information to solve a problem (e.g., after observing a paper boat sinking in the water, making a new boat out of different material to see if the new one will float)