Grade 2

Magnet Mania and Maglev Design Challenge Scope and Sequence

Part 1: Magnet Mania

Magnets are a feature of many toys – but more than that, magnets are a useful tool and magnetism is a form of energy. In the first part of this unit, second graders will learn about the science of magnetism through experimentation, observation, and data recording. In the second part of the unit, students will use this knowledge of magnetism to create a working Maglev Train model.

Part 1 Key activities include:

Experiment to see which part of the magnet will hold the most paperclips. Compare and contrast results to form a theory of why this happens.

Examine five toys that use magnets, and identify how they work.

By the end of the part 1, students will be able to:

  • Experiment with magnets and record observations in words and sketches.
  • Identify the properties of magnets (like poles repel, unlike poles attract, strongest forces at the poles, magnetic field around magnets).
  • Be able to use observation as evidence to explain the properties of magnets.

Part 2 Maglev Design Challenge

“Maglev” is short for magnetic levitation, which means that these trains will float over a  “guideway” using the basic principles of magnets to replace the old steel wheel and track trains”. (From In the Maglev Design Challenge, students will work in groups to build models of Maglev trains.

Key activity:

 Using their knowledge of magnets, students will work in groups to plan and build a Maglev train.

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Work collaboratively in a group to solve a design challenge.
  • Implement each step of the design process.
  • Use knowledge about magnets to create a maglev train.
  • Suggest improvements to maglev transportation system.


Soil  Scope and Sequence

From digging in the backyard to turning cartwheels in the park, students have years of experience with soil, but limited knowledge. In this unit, second graders explore why soil is important, how it is created and look at the value of healthy soil to the ecosystem.

Key activities:

  • Learn to use the“smudge test” (smearing soil on paper). Using a color chart, compare Needham’s soil to those found around the world.
  • Determine what soil is common to New England.
  • Compare soil temperatures in the shade and in the sun.

 By the end of the unit, students will:

  • Understand that soil is on the Earth’s surface. It forms slowly and is important to plants and animals.
  • Be aware of decomposition and be able to explain the difference between organic and inorganic matter.
  • Participate in explorations and investigations about soil classification, soil filters and composting.
  • Collect, record, and analyze data from investigations and report on it by speaking and writing.


Tree Study Scope and Sequence

Trees grow and change through the seasons and through their life cycle. In these mini-units, students head outdoors to observe the trees around their school. By recording and looking at information over the year, they begin to form ideas about the importance of trees to animals, humans and the environment.

Key activities include:

  • Adopt a tree and observe it change over the school year.
  • Notice how it provides a habitat, how it creates seeds and buds and adapts to the seasons.
  • Explore how the needs of humans are linked to trees by making paper or going maple sugaring.

By the end of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Explain that there are many types of trees and trees begin as seeds, grow, change and produce new seeds.
  • Label the parts of trees and explain the function of each part.
  • Understand that trees are part of a larger ecosystem.
  • Observe trees using magnification tools and record information using words and sketches.


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