Learning About the World


Life Sciences

Goal 1: Children construct concepts about the characteristics of living organisms, their biology and ecosystems through exploration and investigations.

By the end of each age group or grade level, most children will have met prior age group or grade level standards in this domain.

Infants Through Older Toddlers


(0-12 Months)

  1. Demonstrate interest in people, plants and animals
  2. Use senses to explore and get information about the natural world

Young Toddlers

(9-18 Months)

  1. Explore the characteristics of living things
  2. Interact with plants and animals
  3. Point to basic body parts (e .g., eyes, nose, mouth)

Older Toddlers

(18-36 Months)

  1. Ask questions about the natural world
  2. Name basic body parts and point to more complex body parts (e.g., foot, knees)
  3. Identify familiar animals and match them to their babies
Younger Preschoolers Through Kindergartners

Younger Preschoolers

(36-48 months)

  1. Identify living from non-living things
  2. Identify and describe the functions of some body parts (e.g., use my legs to run)
  3. Categorize common living things as either plants or animals

Older Preschoolers

(48-60 months)

  1. Describe how plants and animals, including people, grow and change over time.
  2. Explain how animals including people use their senses to gather information (e.g., noses are for smelling)
  3. Describe how baby animals are similar yet different from their parents
  4. Discuss how animals meet their needs for shelter (e.g., birds build nests)


From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  1. Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
First Graders Through Third Graders

First Graders

From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  1. Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs
  2. Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.

Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  1. Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.

Second Graders

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  1. Plan and conduct an investigation to determine if plants need sunlight and water to grow.
  2. Develop a simple model that mimics the function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants.

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

Third Graders

From molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  1. Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death.

Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
  2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.

Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  1. Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.
  2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
  3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
  4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
219 North Main Street, Suite 402
Barre, VT 05641

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