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2nd Grade California Curriculum

In 2nd grade, students explore properties of matter and how different systems—from Earth systems to living things and objects—are made up of smaller parts that work together to keep the system functioning.
2nd Grade STEM Curriculum California

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  • Unit 1
  • Unit 1: Matter All Around Us

    In Unit 1 Matter All Around Us, students explore how materials in the natural environment have physical properties that allow them to be used in specific ways.

    • Students observe the properties of bouncy balls they make and then carry out an experiment to see how temperature affects how high their bouncy ball bounces.
    • Students sort objects based on the type of material each is made from and then investigate how the properties of a material make it suited for a specific purpose.

    Standard(s): 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-4

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Matter All Around Us - 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-4
  • Unit 2
  • Unit 2: A Changing Planet

    In Unit 2 A Changing Planet, students use the changing structure of Niagara Falls to explore how water shapes the land as it moves over it.

    • Students carry out an experiment to see how the strength of blowing wind and flowing water affects a sandy hillside’s shape.
    • Students use a variety of materials to design a solution that prevents rainwater from washing away a sandy hillside.

    Standard(s): 2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - A Changing Planet - 2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3
  • Unit 3
  • Unit 3: Land and Water

    In Unit 3 Land and Water, students use the idea of mapping to explore how Earth is made up of many different landforms and bodies of water, and how scientists make maps that show the different kinds and shapes of land and water in an area.

    • Students create 3D clay models of land areas based on distinct landforms and bodies of water in a photograph and then create a map of their model to see how maps can show where land and water are located.
    • Students use paper “land” models to investigate where water goes when it rains on land and then plastic “mountain” models to investigate the cycling of water as heat causes mountain ice to change into liquid water and flow downhill.

    Standard(s): 2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3, 2-PS1-4

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Land and Water - 2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3, 2-PS1-4
  • Unit 4
  • Unit 4: Living Earth

    In Unit 4 Living Earth, students use the story of Jane Goodall’s study of chimpanzees in the wild and scientific observations of owls to explore how the living and nonliving parts of a habitat interact.

    • Students work in teams to model three different habitats, comparing the diversity of life among forest, ocean, and lake habitats.
    • Students engage in a classroom model of a predator-prey relationship between foxes and rabbits in a forest habitat. Students then dissect owl pellets to identify and analyze common prey animals of a barn owl.

    Standard(s): 2-LS4-1

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Living Earth - 2-LS4-1
  • Unit 5
  • Unit 5: Growing Plants

    In Unit 5 Growing Plants, students use the story of a greenhouse grower to explore how plants need certain things to survive, and have specific parts that help them access what they need.

    • Students dissect lima bean seeds to observe their structure. They then develop a plan as a class that they follow to analyze how plants need both water and light to grow.
    • Students dissect lilies to identify the reproductive parts of a flowering plant.

    Standard(s): 2-LS2-1, 2-LS2-2

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Growing Plants - 2-LS2-1, 2-LS2-2
  • Unit 6
  • Unit 6: Plant and Animal Relationships

    In Unit 6 Plant and Animal Relationships, students use a scientist who studies the memory of moths as they grow and a beekeeper who loves watching bees to explore how butterflies and moths undergo metamorphosis and have different body parts that help them get what they need to survive.

    • Students raise a class set of butterfly caterpillars to observe how they change throughout their life cycle.
    • Students create model butterflies to examine how their external structures help them survive in their environment.
    • Students use a variety of materials to design a hand pollinator for squash plants that mimics how insects pollinate plants.

    Standard(s): 2-LS2-2, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Plant and Animal Relationships - 2-LS2-2, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3
  • Unit 7
  • Unit 7: Engineering Homes

    In Unit 7 Engineering Homes, students explore how bears, rabbits, birds, and people use different materials from their environment to build shelters for themselves.

    • Students use a variety of materials to design and build a shelter that keeps burrowing owls cool in the hot sun.

    Standard(s): 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-3, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Engineering Homes - 2-PS1-1, 2-PS1-2, 2-PS1-3, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3
  • Unit 8
  • Unit 8: Actions and Reactions

    In Unit 8 Actions and Reactions, students explore the action-reaction forces when someone runs and when a propeller moves boats and planes, and how friction affects an object’s motion.

    • Students build and test propeller cars to investigate how large and small forces affect how far the car travels.
    • Students test how smooth and rough surfaces affect the distance a propeller car moves after rolling over each surface.

    Standard(s): 2-PS1-2

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Actions and Reactions - 2-PS1-2
  • Unit 9
  • Unit 9: Balancing Boats

    In Unit 9 Balancing Boats, students explore why objects float so easily in the Dead Sea compared to other bodies of water and how a boat’s shape affects its buoyancy.

    • Students investigate how objects float or sink depending on their density and then investigate how changing the shape of an object can affect whether it floats or sinks.

    Standard(s): 2-PS1-2, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3

    California 2nd Grade STEM Curriculum - Balancing Boats - 2-PS1-2, K-2-ETS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3

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