The K-5 Science Curriculum, using the Smithsonian Science for the Classroom program, provides learning experiences in which students use science and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to make sense of scientific phenomena and deepen their understanding of core ideas in earth and space science, life science, and physical science. The Caldwell-West Caldwell School District aims to leverage students’ natural curiosity about the world and discover scientific information through inquiry-based investigations.
The K-5 Science Curriculum places emphasis on having students make sense of the world around them by developing each child's capacity to design and conduct valid experiments, record data using an organized method, examine data for patterns, and communicate scientific explanations supported by evidence. The science classroom experience is characterized by active and collaborative learning where students are encouraged to share their thinking through notebooking, group labs and whole class discussions. Science and literacy are also natural partners. Students engage with informational text, as both read alouds and independent reading, to find evidence and discuss their questions, predictions, claims, and conclusions. End of unit performance assessments require students to transfer their understanding of science concepts to the design of a solution and engage students in an iterative process of improvement. All curriculum units have been updated to include 2020 New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Computer Science and Design Thinking (NJSLS-CS&DT) and Career Readiness, Life Literacies, and Key Skills (NJSLS-CLKS).