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The performance expectations in Kindergarten help students formulate answers to questions such as: “What happens if you push or pull an object harder? Where do animals live and why do they live there? What is the weather like today and how is it different from yesterday?” Kindergarten performance expectations include Core Ideas from the NRC (National Research Council) Framework:

Students are expected to develop understanding of patterns and variations in local weather and the purpose of weather forecasting to prepare for, and respond to, severe weather. Students are able to apply an understanding of the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object to analyze a design solution. Students are also expected to develop understanding of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive and the relationship between their needs and where they live. The crosscutting concepts of patterns; cause and effect; systems and system models; interdependence of science, engineering, and technology; and influence of engineering, technology, and science on society and the natural world are called out as organizing concepts for these disciplinary core ideas.

In the Kindergarten performance expectations, students are expected to demonstrate grade-appropriate proficiency in asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, designing solutions, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. Students are expected to use these practices to demonstrate understanding of the core ideas.

 A transition from the Illinois Learning Standards for Science to the Next Generation Science Standards will occur during the 2015-16 and the 2016-17 school years.

Science Units taught in Kindergarten include:

Properties of Matter

  • sort, group, and classify objects by observable characteristics
  • choose and use the appropriate tool to sort
  • use the design technology process to modify the shape of clay to sink and float

 Characteristics of Plants and Animals

  • differentiate between living, non-living, and once living
  • sort animals by similar features
  • observe and compare how animals interact with their surroundings
  • identify parts of a plant
  • understand all living things need basic needs
  • understand living behavior is affected by conditions in environment


  • describe and record basic characteristics of each season
  • explain how plants/animals adapt to each season
  • describe temperature as cold, cool, warm, hot


Scientific Inquiry Method is integrated into the Science Curriculum.


The Science Performance Expectations for Kindergarten have been recommended by the Next Generation Science Standards, a collaborative group of over 20 states, including Illinois.


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