First grade science is a welcome opportunity for kids to do lots of hands-on exploration. Although curriculum varies from state-to-state, first graders are often expected to learn about living and nonliving systems, rocks and soil, and all kinds of changes, such as changes in frozen water when heat is applied, changes in the weather, and changes that happen as living things grow.

Children working at the standard level at the beginning of first grade:

  • Understand the difference between day and night
  • Understand the difference between summer and winter
  • Know the difference between most living and nonliving things
  • Identify things necessary for sustaining life (food, water, shelter)
  • Match mothers to babies
  • Classify and compare animals

By the end of first grade, students working at the standard level:

  • Identify and describe bodies of water and marine life
  • Can make observations and recognize similarities and differences
  • Categorize living and nonliving things and systems
  • Understand that there are a variety of earth materials
  • Describe life stages, particularly of a butterfly or a tadpole

Reprinted with permission from "First Grade Success: Everything You Need to Know to Help Your Child Learn" by Amy James (Jossey-Bass 2005)