The Comprehensive, Affordable Science Program that All Schools (and Parents) Want!

With Tips on School, Home, Remote
and Hybrid Settings Use 

Core Knowledge Science (CKSci) is now available for grades K–5! Informed by the Core Knowledge approach and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), as well as contributions from subject matter experts and educators, this comprehensive program affords opportunities for students to fully engage in scientific inquiry while simultaneously building factual knowledge and conceptual understandings.

In these challenging times, CKSci offers an affordable way to prepare and inspire our next generation of scientists and engineers!

About Core Knowledge Science

CKSci facilitates cumulative and coherent knowledge building of core ideas in life, physical, and earth/space sciences, as well as engineering design.  It also fosters the development of scientific practices, which afford students’ firsthand experience in scientific inquiry, science and engineering processes, and technology.   Finally, the program connects scientific knowledge to concepts across various disciplines, such as mathematics and literacy.


Driven by what we know to be best practice in science education, CKSci allows students to construct science knowledge through observing phenomenon, formulating questions, and engaging in hands-on activities. Each unit begins with and revisits an anchoring phenomenon throughout the unit. For example, in grade 1, Unit 3 “Light and Sound,” students are asked: “What happens in a stage performance so that people can see and hear the show?” To answer this question, over the course of the unit, students investigate the cause-and-effect relationships between light and shadow and then between vibrations and sound. They learn to recognize that nonluminous objects can only be seen when there is enough light shining on them, and that sound causes vibrations and that vibrations cause sound.

Access to Scientific Factual Knowledge

CKSci balances knowledge gained through observation, activities, and experimentation with direct communication of scientific factual knowledge. Once students have asked questions about phenomena and engaged in investigations, they either read or listen to direct factual information via their Student Books or Student Readers. This ensures that students are exposed to scientific facts and do not over generalize or formulate misconceptions.  Here’s an example from grade 2, illustrating how students explore the properties of matter: At the start of the unit, students listen to a story about a child, who placed a paper bag, holding salt, out in the rain. The rain washed away the salt, even though it was in a bag.   After formulating questions about what kind of container is best for holding salt, students participate in a series of activities to observe what happens when water is poured over a paper bag and then over a plastic container (both containing salt).  Students use what they learned from the activities and text to determine which container (paper or plastic) is best to hold salt.

Connection to School and Society

CKSci units also offer investigations and project-based learning opportunities that connect classroom learning to school and society. Key goals of unit capstone projects are for students to apply their knowledge and communicate possible solutions to real-world problems as well as present these findings to their community. The audience may include other classes at the school, parents/guardians, school principals, and/or scientists and engineers in the local area. Here’s an example from grade 4, “Using Natural Resources for Energy:” In this project-based activity, students apply what they have learned about cost-benefit analysis to publish or present their findings to others on which energy resources are best for their community.

Three-Dimensional Learning Approach

CKSci units and lessons promote a three dimensional learning approach that provides students with opportunities to examine NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI), Science and Engineering Practices (SEP), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC).

Using CKSci in Different Settings

As an Open Education Resource, CKSci offers wider access and flexibility in terms of use.  This is needed more now than ever with schools and families juggling a multitude of challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Homeschool Setting

For homeschool families, CKSci Teacher Guides and Student Books/Readers can be downloaded for free. (Homeschool kits of these books are also available at a low cost.)  Each unit identifies any additional materials that need to be gathered in order for students to engage in investigations.  A concerted effort was made to include items typically found in classrooms (and homes) as a means of easing the process of gathering materials.  

Remote Learning

Teachers can upload Student/Books and activity pages, found in the back of the Teacher Guides, to their school’s Learning Management System (e.g., Google Classroom). 

Since resources and expectations around distance learning differ from district-to-district (even school-to-school), the way in which teachers engage students in investigations and discussions will also vary.   Some tools that CKSci teachers are using for these purposes include:

This doesn’t represent an exhaustive list.  To share ideas with other Core Knowledge Science teachers, consider joining our Facebook Group.

More CKSci Resources Coming Soon!

  • Our science team is currently developing additional units for K–2.  These include, “Our Five Senses,” “Simple Machines,” “Human Body Systems,” “Electricity and Magnetism,” and “Human Cells and Digestion.”
  • CKSci Student Books and Readers will soon be available as eBooks! Among other features, these books will offer a read-aloud option. We are in the early stages of this project, but hope to share an update in the near future.

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One comment on “Core Knowledge Science K–5”

  1. 1
    Lucia De Vors on September 3, 2020

    The resources are very helpful when doing remote teaching and even when doing F2F teaching.

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