RISE Sample Curriculum

Stability & Change

Big Ideas

In this series of learning experiences, children explore the Big Ideas that people and animals obtain information using their senses and that living things change over time in ways that differ from non-living things.

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP)

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (Observation).

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Below, children began by exploring seeds soaked in water and changes that occurred. They then planted seeds of their own and observed the growth of the plants and became familiar with the growth cycle of the plants. Finally, children took time to document their version of flowers enhancing their noticing of details.

Starting at the very beginning of the growth cycle of a plant, this classroom explored various seeds.  Seeds were observed with magnifiers, sorted and counted.  This activity was followed by learning about seedlings and that they have roots, a stem and leaves..  Children took a hands-on approach to explore size, color and understanding the function of roots.  Learning that some foods come from plants, the classroom tasted various fruits and veggies and took time to describe each of them.  The year concluded taking a neighborhood walk to a community garden and documenting in the form of a book.  After repeating this experience, the classroom was able to concretely observe how plants grow and change over a period of time.

Taking photos of a single tree as it changes over the seasons was the Good Start Activity that formed the foundation for each class’s explorations.  Children observed one tree over the course of the year.  This led to discussion and experiences related to the seasons, living things , make observations and document. Click here to see more detail from Phase I.

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Structure & Function

Big Ideas

In Alexander and the Wind-up Mouse learning experiences, children and their teachers explore the Big Idea that the movement, behavior, origins, and needs of animate objects differ from that of inanimate objects. For example, the different structural features of animate versus inanimate object served parallel functions (e.g., Alexander moves with his feet whereas Willy needs springs and wheels).

In Block Explorations, children and their teachers solve the problem of children creating unstable structures that fall and explore the Big Idea that stable structures require design and materials to keep them in place.

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP)

Asking questions (Science) and defining problems (Engineering).

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Reading Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Lio Lionni was the Good Start Activity that launched each class’s investigations.  Children began  by documenting their observations of differences between Alexander (who had feet) and Willy (who moved around using wheels).  Children then explained what they thought was inside of a real mouse compared to a real person.This moved onto technology and the use of tools and checking their predictions of what is inside a wind up mouse.  Children documented what they found inside and learned new vocabulary and concepts.  To see more detail , click here.

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The children in this classroom explored several concepts within the unit on building.  Free exploration allowed them to experience the idea of stability.  From there, the classroom expanded upon blocks, identifying what their own homes were built from as well as create their own models of a home.  Finally, the teachers were able to support children’s block play by observing and understanding were each child was within developmental stages of block play  See some of the extended work completed in Phase 1 here.

Cause & Effect:
Systems & System Models

Big Ideas

In this series of learning experiences, children explored the Big Ideas that:

Objects can be made to move on inclines; how they move depends on the object and the incline; People can design and build systems of inclines to move objects in various ways; and if you are not successful in getting an object to move in a certain way, you can change something and get a different result.

Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEP)

Planning and carrying out investigations (Experimenting).

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These videos represent work conducted by 2 different teachers during Phase I around blocks and ramps.  Through these experiences, children solved problems, compared ramps of different lengths and carried out investigations.

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Reading Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee was a Good Start activity introducing the unit on ramps.  From here, the classroom learned more about ramps, by observing how various size balls and cars moved on a neighborhood ramp.  In a effort to determine why one moved slower than the others, an experiment was conducted.  Children determined that the ramp attributes affected the speed of the tires.  Free exploration continued to happen in the classroom with wooden ramps and marbles along with further questioning and documentation of children’s understanding of ramps in their worlds.