Component 3: Earth and Space Science

Standard 3.a: Children gain increasing knowledge of the features of earth and space, the components of weather, and how all living things depend on natural resources to survive.

By the following age ranges, children typically, for example:
  • Use all of their senses to explore natural items placed in their hands
  • Explore Earth’s natural materials when outdoors using multiple senses (e.g., feel the textures of sand, grass, and dirt; sniff plants; notice feel of wind; pick up rocks and fallen branches)
  • Attend to and explore weather related phenomena (e.g., demonstrate feeling hot or cold, dig in sand, splash in puddles, put snow in their mouths)
  • Explore properties of Earth’s materials through play (e.g., pile rocks, shells, cones, and sticks; look for puddles to splash in)
  • Notice and point out objects in the sky (e.g., clouds, airplanes, birds, sun, and moon)
  • Begin to associate different types of animals with the parts of the environment where they can be found (e.g., birds are in trees; ants are on the sidewalk)
  • Name and describe properties of natural items (e.g., heavy, sticky, small, pretty)
  • Observe characteristics of natural objects and materials noticing similarities and differences (e.g., express preferences for different sizes, shapes, and colors of leaves)
  • Begin to understand that weather includes different components (e.g., identify presence of sun, wind, rain, and clouds on a given day)
  • Demonstrate an understanding that different weather requires different clothing (e.g., seeing newly fallen snow outside and getting boots and mittens)
  • Demonstrate beginning understanding that different animals make their homes in different parts of the environment (e.g., worms live underground; birds and squirrels live in trees)
  • Begin to intentionally incorporate natural objects and materials into play (e.g., build a home for a real or imaginary creature using natural materials; pretend a pile of rocks is a campfire or stove)
  • Begin to understand that different components of weather can be measured (e.g., rainfall, temperature) and that weather can be predicted (e.g., dark clouds mean rain)
  • Demonstrate increasing awareness of objects in the sky and how they appear (e.g., including sun and clouds in representations)
  • Identify places where natural resources (e.g., water) can be found in their local environment and different ways people and other animals use it (e.g., drinking, bathing, swimming)
  • Use increasingly complex vocabulary to describe natural elements
  • Demonstrate a beginning understanding that designed objects are made from natural materials (e.g., wooden tables and toys are made from trees)
  • Describe changes that occur in the natural environment over increasingly long periods of time (e.g., seasonal changes in temperature, rain, or snowfall across the year)
  • Demonstrate a beginning understanding that the sky and objects in it appear to change over time (e.g., the moon appears to change shape on subsequent nights; the sun seems to move in the sky during the day)
  • Demonstrate a beginning understanding that all plants and animals depend on the environment to survive (e.g., describe the needs of different animals for food, water, and a specific place to live)
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