Wisconsin Science Standards for Kindergarten

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

Children in kindergarten are just beginning their academic career. The scientific concepts introduced in this year will be instrumental in establishing a lifelong appreciation for and natural curiosity in science. Keep reading to learn what Wisconsin students might learn in their kindergarten classes.

Kindergarten Science Standards in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, science instruction is guided by the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for Science (WMASS). These standards outline learning goals to be reached by the fourth, eighth, and twelfth grades, but leave standards for the grades in between up to individual school districts. Because of this, school districts may vary in their requirements for kindergarten. Districts may either design their own standards or use national learning standards, like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as long as they properly prepare students for state assessments based on the WMASS.

Examples of standards that might be implemented in Wisconsin's kindergarten classrooms are outlined below by subject area.

Physical Science

Kindergarten students are introduced to basic physical science concepts, such as the physical properties used to describe objects, both man-made and natural. Terms discussed may include color, firmness, size, and shape.

Students might explore the properties of materials like wood and paper or plant material and fabric. Also included in this overview are physical changes that can be made to objects, such as splitting wood, tearing paper, or cutting fabric. Students also study two of the three states of water - solid and liquid - and may conduct observational experiments exploring this concept.

Additionally, students begin to understand forces and motion by examining how pushing and pulling an object affects its speed or direction.

Teachers and others who work with this grade level can use these short, engaging lessons on Physics for Elementary School and Force for Elementary School to teach students about the types of force as well as the properties and states of matter. Both resources feature frequent assessments to help students master these science topics.

Earth Science

Kindergarten students learn what matter makes up the Earth, including rocks, soil, and water. They investigate the physical properties of each of these components and learn about the special role each plays in the continuation of life on Earth.

Students also learn about weather and climate. They observe different types of weather over time and learn how these patterns are affected by seasonal changes. They understand that the sun provides both heat and energy for our planet and all life within.

Kindergartners might also begin learning about some of the actions they can take to protect the Earth and conserve its natural resources, such as recycling paper and cardboard and conserving water.

Use these lessons on geology and the types of weather to help kindergartners learn about the properties of rocks, different types of habitats, the four seasons, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more.

Life Science

Kindergartners begin learning about the animal and plant life found on Earth, both today and in the past. Students might learn about animal and plant species that are now extinct as well as animal species that are currently endangered, due to both natural and human-related causes.

Additionally, students examine the basic characteristics of all animals, including their survival needs, and how to handle and care for animals. Students might also investigate some of the ways animals adapt to their environments and compare and contrast animals of different species.

Likewise, kindergartners learn about basic plant structures as well as what plants need to grow and thrive, including nutrients, water, clean air, and light. Additionally, students might work to understand what products can be derived from plants, including food, wood, and fabric, and learn about some of the changes that happen to plants over time.

This Biology for Kids Course includes lessons and quizzes to help students explore characteristics of different plants and animals as well as parts of the human body.

Scientific Inquiry and Application

Science instruction in kindergarten also focuses on developing students' basic science skills. Students learn how to develop questions and conduct simple experiments in order to answer them. They also get an introduction to tools, like rulers and thermometers, and learn how observations about the world around them can be used to understand new information.

Check out these Science Basics lessons to help your students explore the scientific method, hypotheses, units of measurement, lab safety rules, and more.

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