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4 students looking at cards with facts about science working together

Director of Science 

Rocco Cieri


Our world has never been so complex, and scientific and technological reasoning have never been so necessary to make sense of it all. It is self-evident that science, technology, and engineering (STE) are central to the lives of all citizens when they analyze current events, make informed decisions about healthcare, or decide to support public development of community infrastructure. By the end of grade 12, all students must have an appreciation for the wonder of science, possess sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on related issues, and be careful consumers of scientific and technological information and products in their everyday lives. Students’ STE experience should encourage and facilitate engagement in STE to prepare them for the reality that most careers require some scientific or technical preparation, and to increase their interest in and consideration of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). All students, regardless of their future education plan and career path, must have an engaging, relevant, rigorous, and coherent STE education to be prepared for citizenship, continuing education, and careers.

Guiding Principles

  • An effective science and technology/engineering program develops students’ ability to apply their knowledge and skills to analyze and explain the world around them.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program addresses students’ prior knowledge and preconceptions.
  • Investigation, experimentation, design, and analytical problem solving are central to an effective science and technology/engineering program.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program provides opportunities for students to collaborate in scientific and technological endeavors and communicate their ideas.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program conveys high academic expectations for all students.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program integrates STE learning with mathematics and disciplinary literacy.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program uses regular assessment to inform student learning, guide instruction, and evaluate student progress.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program engages all students.
  • An effective science and technology/engineering program requires coherent districtwide planning and ongoing support for implementation.

DESE Curriculum Frameworks

Access the DESE website for Current Frameworks

DESE Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks

Access the DESE website for Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks

Curriculum Overview

Grade K - Overview statement

Reasons for Change

Students will build on early experiences observing the world around them and will make observations that are more quantitative in nature. Students begin to learn to use these observations to support growing language skills as well. They will observe that all animals and plants need food, water, and air to grow and thrive and that the fundamental difference between plants and animals is a plant’s ability to make its own food. Students build their quantitative knowledge of temperature in relationship to the weather and its effect on different kinds of materials. They observe that the amount of sunlight shining on a surface causes a temperature change and they design a structure to reduce the warming effects of sunlight. They investigate motions of objects by changing the strength and direction of pushes and pulls. They provide examples of plants and animals that can change their environment through their interactions with it. 

Grade K MPS curriculum units
FOSS - Weather and Trees
FOSS - Materials and Motion
FOSS - Animals Two-by-Two

Grade 1 - Overview Statement

Describing Patterns 

Students will describe patterns of motion between the sun, moon, and stars in relation to the Earth. From this understanding they can identify seasonal patterns from sunrise and sunset data that will allow them to predict future patterns. Building from their experiences in kindergarten observing and describing daily weather, they can now examine seasonal data of temperature and rainfall to describe patterns over time. Grade 1 students investigate sound and light through various materials. They describe patterns in how light passes through and sounds differ from different types of materials and use this to design and build a device to send a signal. Students compare the ways different animals and plants use their body parts and senses to do the things they need to do to grow and survive, including typical ways parents keep their young safe so they will survive to adulthood. They notice that though there are differences between plants or animals of the same type, the similarities of behavior and appearance are what allow us to identify them as belonging to a group. Grade 1 students begin to understand the power of patterns to predict future events in the natural and designed world.

Grade 1 MPS curriculum units
FOSS - Air and Weather
FOSS - Sound and Light
FOSS - Plants and Animals

Grade 2 - Overview Statement

Wholes and Parts 

As students grow in their ability to speak, read, write, and reason mathematically, they also grow in their ability to grapple with larger systems and the parts that make them up. They start to look beyond the structures of individual plants and animals to look at the animal habitats in which the plants and animals live as a provider of the food, water, and shelter that the organisms need. Students learn that water is found everywhere on Earth and takes different forms and shapes. They map landforms and bodies of water and observe that flowing water and wind shapes these landforms. Grade 2 students use their observation skills gained in earlier grades to classify materials based on similar properties and functions. They gain experience testing different materials to collect and then analyze data for the purpose of determining which materials are the best for a specific function. They construct large objects from smaller pieces and, conversely, learn that when materials are cut into the smallest possible pieces, they still exist as the same material that has weight. These investigations of how parts relate to the whole provide a key basis for understanding systems in later grades.

Grade 2 MPS curriculum units:
FOSS - Pebbles, Sand and Silt
FOSS - Solids and Liquids
FOSS - Insects and Plants

Grade 3 - Overview Statement

Human Interactions

In grade 3, students develop and sharpen their skills at obtaining, recording and charting, and analyzing data in order to study their environment.  They use these practices to study the interactions between humans and earth systems, humans and the environment, and humans and the designed world.  Grade 3 students analyze weather patterns and consider humans’ influence and opportunity to impact weather-related events. In life science they study the interactions between and influence of the environment and traits and characteristics. They learn that these entities not only interact but influence behaviors, reactions, and traits of organisms.  When there is a drastic change to an environment, some individuals of a species might survive better than others. This depends on whether each of the individuals were born with a variation that helped it adapt to the changed environment.  Students will gather information using various informational resources on possible solutions to a design problem and present different representations of a design solution.  Examples of design problems can include adapting a switch on a toy for children who have a motor coordination disability, designing a way to clear or collect debris or trash from a storm drain, or creating safe moveable playground equipment for a new recess game.

Grade 3 MPS curriculum units:
FOSS - Water and Climate
FOSS - Motion and Matter
FOSS - Structures of Life

Grade 4 - Overview Statement

Matter and Energy

In grade 4, students observe and interpret patterns related to the transfer of matter and energy on earth, in physical interactions, and in organisms. Students learn about energy—its motion, transfer, and conversion—in different physical contexts. Grade 4 students interpret patterns of changes over time as related to the deposition and erosion in landscape formation. They study today’s landscapes to provide evidence for past processes. Students learn that animals’ internal and external structures support life, growth, behavior, and reproduction. They work through the engineering design process, focusing on developing solutions by building, testing, and redesigning prototypes to fit a specific purpose. Each domain relates to the use of matter and energy over time and for specific purposes.

Grade 4 MPS curriculum units:
FOSS - Soils, Rocks and Landforms
FOSS - Energy
FOSS - Environments

Grade 5 - Overview Statement

Connections and Relationships in Systems

In grade 5, students model, provide evidence to support arguments, and obtain and display data about relationships and interactions among observable components of different systems. By studying systems, grade 5 students learn that objects and organisms do not exist in isolation and that animals, plants and their environments are connected to, interact with, and are influenced by each other. They also learn about the connections and relationships among plants and animals, and the ecosystems within which they live, to show how matter and energy is cycled through these.  They study the relationships between Earth and other nearby objects in the solar system and the impact of those relationships on patterns of events as seen from Earth. Students will make a model to show the particulate nature of matter. In physical science, students will be able to describe typical behavior of gasses and phase changes between states of matter. They learn about the relationship among elements and they conduct experiments mixing substances to see whether new substances with new properties result. 

Grade 5 MPS curriculum units:
FOSS - Earth and Sun
FOSS - Mixtures and Solutions
FOSS - Living Systems