Second grade science teaches your child to plan and conduct simple investigations. This strengthens skills from reading, writing, and math – for example, making measurements using tools, such as rulers and clocks, to collect information, record observations, classify and sequence objects and events, and identify patterns. As your child learns science skills, he or she is identifying components of the natural world, including the water cycle and the use of resources. Your child will observe melting and evaporation, weathering, and the pushing and pulling of objects as the result of change. The solar system and objects in it are studied. Additionally, second graders compare the lifelong needs of plants and animals (including humans), understand how living organisms depend on their environments, and identify the functions of the parts of plants and animals.

Here's what your child should be able to do before starting second grade science:

  • 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 butterflies or tadpoles

By the end of second grade students working at the standard level:

  • Identify various constellations
  • Can associate Earth's axis and orbit with seasonal changes
  • Identify the nine planets
  • Understand the importance of exercise and good diet for a healthy body
  • Recognize different types of clouds and the weather they predict
  • Can explain the importance of the senses

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