New Jersey Science Standards for First Grade

Instructor: Marissa Baranauskas
Learn more about first grade science standards for New Jersey classrooms. Discover the content students learn at the first grade level and become familiar with resources that can help them review the science concepts they'll need to know to meet these standards.

First Grade Science Standards in New Jersey

In 2014, the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) adopted the use of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for science education. These standards will be implemented for first graders by the start of the 2017-18 school year. The NGSS framework outlines milestone concepts and skills that students should know by the time they complete each grade. The knowledge expectations for first grade students are organized into four main content groups, called Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI).

Physical Sciences

In first grade, students learn about the physical properties of light and sound waves. They examine how sound waves can make objects vibrate, and how light make things visible. Students also look at the different effects produced when light interacts with various mediums, such as opaque, translucent and reflective materials. Additionally, they will develop a device that can transmit a message using light or sound properties.

Students in first grade can review the concepts that they learn in science class using the following lessons:

These lessons provide brief informational sessions on physics topics at the elementary level. At the end of each lesson, there is a quiz provided for students to test their knowledge.

Life Sciences

Students compare the characteristics and behaviors of plants, animals, and humans within this content area. They use resources to develop an answer to an issue humans encounter by imitating the structures of plants or animals. For example, students could create outerwear to keep them warm in a cold environment, which would mirror an animal's fur. Students also observe how the behaviors of parents and babies in the animal kingdom can help the young survive. Furthermore, first graders observe and collect proof of the similarities between parents and their offspring.

First graders can check out these collections of lessons to learn interesting information about a wide variety of animals and plants:

These lessons contain engaging animations and entertaining examples that instruct young learners on the different traits and behaviors of plant and animal species. Additionally, they can assess their knowledge at the end of each lesson with a quiz.

Earth and Space Sciences

First grade students focus on patterns of movement in the solar system. They recognize how the motions of the sun, moon, and stars in the sky are repeated. This could include an acknowledgement of where the sun rises and sets and noticing the time of day when the stars are able to be seen. Students also observe how length of day and night vary with the changing seasons.

These lessons can help first grade students review the information they learn in class about space:

They contain information about our solar system and the celestial bodies inside it, as well as facts about the sun, moon, and Earth. After each lesson, students can test their skills with a short quiz.

Engineering and Technology

This subject area facilitates the development of problem solving skills. Students learn how to investigate issues and clearly define a specific problem and a tool that could be used to address it. They make a representation of their solution, such as a drawing or model. They also learn how to make decisions to choose which solution most appropriately answers a given problem.

First grade students can prepare to solve scientific problems by reviewing information in these lessons, which provide information about the way scientists think and conduct experiments:

Crosscutting Concepts

Crosscutting concepts are implemented within all grade level NGSS standards to help students make associations about the world around them in a comprehensive, scientific way. At the first grade level, they are integrated into performance expectations and include:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Patterns
  • Structure and Function
  • Influence of Science, Engineering and Technology on Society and the Natural World
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems

An example of how crosscutting concepts are implemented at the first grade level can be seen in the recognition of patterns in the surrounding environment, such as the repeated movement of planets in the solar system and similarities between parents and their offspring.

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