The natural world is the basis of most science study in the second grade, just as it was during kindergarten and the first grade. The teacher's primary goal is to foster the children's sense of curiosity about the world and their skills of inquiry. Teachers will make frequent use of questions that stimulate the critical thinking of the children: Why is that? How does that happen? What if...?
Science study should be very active in the early primary years. Whenever possible, children interact directly with science materials and observe phenomena firsthand. They learn about pollution and the problems it causes; they become familiar with the relationships between oceans, seas, rivers, and ponds; they study animals and plants in increasing detail; they learn about the different planets and the solar system; they use simple machines; they experiment with electricity, principally through batteries and bulbs; they begin to understand the history of life on earth, primarily through studying the dinosaurs; and they add scientific terms -- matter, environment, machine, heat, electricity, extinction, and experiment -- to their vocabularies.
What Kids Should Learn in Health
In the primary grades, health is closely allied to science and social studies. Learning to care for and respect one's body is an important part of the curriculum. Children continue to learn about the relationship between nutrition and health; about wellness; about disease and its prevention; about the importance of cleanliness; about the dangers of smoking and of drugs; and about the role of exercise in physical development.
They study the parts of the body -- bones, muscles, and organs. (Children are especially fascinated by the brain.) As in the earlier grades, safety is stressed. Children learn basic safety rules for the playground, the street, the bicycle, and the home; they also learn simple first aid. They are also introduced to human sexuality -- in the context of the second grade, this basically means that their questions are answered frankly but simply.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 2nd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.