CA Science Framework Description (Grade 2)

Highlighted Phenomena from Grade Two

  • On a map of their town, students notice that some areas are city, some are farm fields, and some are natural environments.
  • Water soaks into the sandbox quickly but makes a puddle on the blacktop.
  • When you pour a lot of water in the sandbox, it starts to carve a river.
  • Different numbers of organisms and types of organisms live in different locations on the schoolyard.


Introduction to Grade 2

The theme of grade two in framework is landforms—students look out at the landscape around them and ask questions such as, How did it get to look the way it does? How does the landscape affect people and other living organisms?

Setting the stage for more advanced study of landforms in future grades, students begin by developing tools to describe and represent landscapes. Students start IS1 (Landscape Shapes) by digging in a sandbox to create a landscape and then represent it with maps. Students describe their landscape using words and simple geometric shapes. 

Instructional segment 2 (Landscape Materials) begins with students observing and describing everyday materials on their schoolyard. The chapter shows teachers how to help students use these verbal descriptions to categorize a range of material by their properties. In an engineering connection, students play the role of agricultural engineers, combining materials to create a soil that retains moisture to help plants grow in their school garden. Students link other schoolyard materials to objects with specific uses. How do the properties of the material make it well suited to be used in that object? In another engineering connection, students dismantle small appliances to see what parts they have and what materials are used.

In IS3 (Landscape Changes), students investigate erosion in a hands-on stream table. Students describe how some landscape changes are rapid while others occur slowly. In an engineering challenge, they use their knowledge of landscape materials to design a solution that minimizes erosion in the stream table. 

In IS4 (Biodiversity in Landscapes), students revisit the idea from kindergarten that different plants and animals live in different habitats. In a vignette, students map biodiversity in their schoolyard, count different organisms they observe, and represent their data using graphs. They also document how landscapes are changing (both the physical landforms and the living things) and develop solutions that can improve the habitat.

from d’Alessio, Matthew A. (2018). Executive Summary: Science Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve. Sacramento: Consortium for the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

Overview of Instructional Segments for Grade 2

Graphic of Grade 2 Instructional Segments

Image Source: 2016 CA Science Framework