Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

Second Grade - Science - Lesson 19 - Simple Tools and Machines


Demonstrate how a wheel and axle work together.

Suggested Books

Rockwell, Anne. Big Wheels. New York: Dutton, 1986.

Scarry, Huck. On Wheels. New York: Putnam, 1980.


Straws or pencils

Cardboard or tagboard (Cut into triangles, circles, squares, and hexagons--two of each per group of four)

Pattern blocks (Use to trace the shapes onto the cardboard or tagboard.)

Modeling clay


Tell the children that the next simple machine they will be studying is the wheel and axle. Discuss with the class the fact that although we do not know who invented the wheel, it is one of the most important inventions ever made and has been used for thousands of years. Ask: Can someone name an object that has a wheel as part of it? (a car, a bicycle, a bus, a toy, a wagon) Say: Raise your hand if you own or have used a wagon. The wheels on the wagon allow you to move something more easily. Read the following to the class:

When you use a wagon, a simple machine called a wheel and axle is helping you. You can see the wheels--the round parts that roll over the ground. The axles are the rods that connect a pair of wheels. The wheels and axle turn together.

Putting wheels and axles on something makes it easier to move. A wagon without wheels would drag over the ground. The scraping, or friction, of the box on the ground would make it hard for you to pull the wagon. But wheels on axles go rolling smoothly along. When wheels and axles are used, even big loads can be moved without much friction.(1)


Explain friction further to the children. Tell them that when two surfaces rub together they push against each other causing friction. When you are using a machine, the more friction there is; the more effort you have to put into the job you are doing. Tell the children that they have experienced friction when they have tried to use a toy that has wheels first on a carpet and then on a smooth surface, like a kitchen floor or a table. Ask: Has anyone ever tried this at home or at school? What happens when you move the toy to the smooth surface? (The toy rolls much

more easily on the smooth surface because there is less friction.) Another way to lessen friction BCP DRAFT SCI 41

Second Grade - Science - Lesson 19 - Simple Tools and Machines

in a machine is to oil or lubricate the machine.

In our last lesson, we learned about an inventor named Elijah McCoy. Ask: Can someone tell me what Elijah McCoy was famous for inventing? (the automatic oil cup) Remind the children that this was a well known and liked invention because the automatic oil cup made it easier to keep the moving parts of a train lubricated, thus reducing friction and making the train run more efficiently.

Have the children experiment with an axle and different cardboard shapes used as wheels. Divide the class into groups of four and assign the jobs of Runner, Recorder, Reporter, and Timekeeper. Have the runner from each group gather the materials (cardboard or tagboard shapes, pencils or straws, modeling clay). Next, each group will make holes in the middle of the shapes and attach a pencil or straw between two of the same shapes. If needed the group may want to use modeling clay to hold the "axle" in place. Have the children experiment with all of the different shapes.

Tell the children that they may try to make the "axle and wheel" turn as one piece or they may try leaving the wheel free to turn while the axle stays still.

Write the following questions on the board: What happens if the axle is not in the middle of the wheel? Which shape turns most easily? The recorder from each group should record the group's observations and the reporter will then tell the rest of the class what his/her group found.


Second Grade - Science - Lesson 20 - Simple Tools and Machines


Construct and use an inclined plane.

Observe how the steepness of an incline affects the speed of a descending object.


Per group of four

Piece of string

Heavy book

Large binder clip or a large metal washer

Roll of masking tape

Paper clips


Tell the children that in their last science lesson they learned about the wheel and axle. Say: Today, we are going to learn about another simple machine called the inclined plane that helps when we need to move objects. An inclined plane is nothing more than a flat surface that is slanted. Draw a diagram of an inclined plane on the blackboard. Tell them that an inclined plane makes it easier to move heavy things because instead of lifting something straight up, you are able to move and lift little by little up the inclined plane.

Explain to the children that if they have ever seen a ramp outside or inside a building, they have seen an inclined plane. Ramps make it possible for people in wheelchairs to move more easily because wheels roll on the flat surface of the inclined planes easily. Tell the children that another example of an inclined plane is a piece of equipment that you would find on a playground or in a park. Ask: Does anyone know the piece of equipment I'm thinking of? (a slide)

Before you have the children proceed with the following hands on experiment, demonstrate for the class the steps listed below. Point out to them that they can change the steepness of the inclined plane by raising or lowering the raised end of the string.

Divide the children into groups of three or four. Have a runner from each group retrieve the materials for his/her group. The groups will then follow the directions listed below to construct an inclined plane.

1. Tie one end of a piece of string to a book.

2. Pull the string through a hole in a large binder clip or through the middle of a washer.

3. Have a child hold the other end of the string so that it is pulled tightly and slanted upward.

4. Move the clip or washer up to the top of the string.

5. Let go of the clip or washer so that it slides down the string (the inclined plane).


Have the children change the angle of the inclined plane and repeat the above directions. Also, have the children try sliding other objects down, such as rolls of tape or paper clips. Circulate amongst the groups and ask such questions as: "How does the angle change the time it takes for the clip or washer to slide down?" and "How do the size and weight of the object affect how fast the object travels down the inclined plane?"


Second Grade - Science - Lesson 21 - Simple Tools and Machines


Demonstrate how a wedge works.


Per group of four


A pencil


Start off the lesson by asking children to recall what an inclined plane is. Ask: What kind of simple machine are both a ramp and a slide an example of? Draw a diagram of an inclined plane on the board.(1) Tell the children that the next simple machine we are going to learn about is made up of two inclined planes and is called a wedge. Draw a wedge on the board by adding a second inclined plane to the diagram on the board.(2) (The inclined planes should be drawn back to back to form a triangle.) Then draw a second wedge with its thin end pointing down (see diagrams below).(3)

(1) (2) (3)

Point to the thin end of the wedge and tell the children that the thin end of the wedge pushes into an object and the thicker part splits the object apart. A wedge helps you to cut, split, or push through something.

Read the following to the class:

Knives, saws, scissors are wedges used for cutting. The sharp edge pushes in, and the thicker part spreads the pieces.

Nails and needles are wedges used for pushing into or through things. The point makes it easy for the nail to push into wood or the needle to push through material.

Axes and metal wedges are used to split wood. A chop or a hard hit drives the sharp edge into a log. Then the wider part spreads the wood and makes it split.(2)

Have the children experiment with and observe how a wedge works. Divide the class into


Second Grade - Science - Lesson 21 - Simple Tools and Machines

groups of four. Each group should have a pencil and a piece of cardboard. Have the children lay the piece of cardboard on a desk (make sure no one's hands are under the cardboard). Next, have

the children press the pencil eraser down firmly against the cardboard. Ask: What happens when you push down with the eraser? Then have the children press the point of the pencil against the cardboard. Ask: What happened this time? Why was the result different when you used the pointed end of the pencil?

Discuss with the children how the eraser pushes the cardboard down, but the sharp pointed end of the pencil sticks into the cardboard. Tell the children that in this experiment the pointed end of the pencil acts as a wedge. The point enters the cardboard and makes way for the thicker part of the pencil to follow.


Second Grade - Science - Lesson 22 - Simple Tools and Machines


Determine how a screw works.


Large screw

Spiral diagram (see attached)


Tell the children that in the last science lesson one object that was given as an example of a wedge was a nail. A nail is a wedge because it pushes into and through material. Another simple machine that holds things together like a nail is a screw. Say: Remember when we looked at nails and screws last month, can someone tell me how are they different from one another? (The nail has a smooth body and flat head, the screw is grooved and has a slit in its head.) Tell the children that as a screw is screwed into wood the winding grooves, called thread, cut into the wood holding the screw firmly in place.

So that the children can gain an understanding of the way the threads on a screw spiral around the center, cut a spiral out of construction paper (see attached pattern) and suspend from the outside ring of the circle allowing the remaining rings to spiral downward. Tell the children that this spiral shows the way the threads of a screw spiral around the middle of the screw.

Give each child a screw. Have the children hold the head of the screw with one hand, put two fingernails or finger tips on the first ridge at the tip of the screw, and turn the head of the screw clockwise. Make sure that the children notice that as the screw turns, the threads spiral downward and move past the children's fingers.

As a review of the unit, have the children give you an example of each of the six simple machines. Next, divide the children into pairs or teams. Instruct them to locate examples of simple machines in the classroom and draw the examples they find on a piece of construction or drawing paper. After they have finished, ask children to tell the rest of the class some of the machines they found and where they found them.


Second Grade - Science - Lesson 23 - Florence Nightingale


Identify the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale.

Recall the impact of Florence Nightingale's advice on hospitals during the U.S. Civil War.

Suggested Books

Adler, David A. A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale. New York: Holiday House, 1992.

Turner, Dorothy. Florence Nightingale. New York: Bookwright/Watts, 1986.

Background Information

Florence Nightingale was born on May 12, 1820. As a child Florence was a very good student and loved to write. At the age of seventeen she claimed that God had called her to his service, but she wasn't sure in what way she would serve God.

In 1844, Florence decided that her call was to work as a nurse in a hospital. Even though her parents discouraged her, Florence went to Germany to study nursing. When she finished her schooling, Florence went to Paris to visit hospitals and watch doctors work. Florence was a well respected nurse and became the superintendent of a small hospital for women in London.

When England joined in the Crimean War against Russia, the Secretary of War asked Florence to choose a group of nurses and accompany them to Crimea. The hospitals were in terrible shape--infested with fleas and rats, dirty beds, no bandages for the injured. Florence and her nurses worked to make the hospitals cleaner and give the patients better care. She became sick herself, but she recovered and was back at work within a few months.

Florence was greatly admired by the British people. After the Crimean War ended, The Nightingale Training School for Nurses was opened in London. Her reputation made its way across the Atlantic to the United States and in 1861 President Lincoln's Secretary of War asked Florence for recommendations on organizing hospitals for the Union Army. Throughout the war, Florence corresponded with Dorothea Dix, the superintendent of nurses in Washington, and her advice saved the lives of thousand of Union soldiers.

(See also What Your Second Grader Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch, pp. 305-306.)



If possible read A Picture Book of Florence Nightingale by David A. Adler to the children. If you are unable to find the book, read the above background information to the children to familiarize them with the accomplishments of Florence Nightingale.

Discuss with the children the importance of cleanliness in a hospital setting as well as in daily life. Ask: Why do you think Florence Nightingale worked so hard at making hospitals clean places? Say: Pretend that you are Florence Nightingale and you are giving advice to the class on how to keep clean and healthy. Help the children come up with a list of hygiene rules for the following list of things (examples of rules follow):

Cooking and eating food (use clean utensils, thoroughly wash your hands)

Bathroom use (wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom)

Preparing for bed (brush your teeth, bathe)

Rising in the morning (brush your teeth, bathe or wash your face and hands)

Preventing illness (cover you mouth when you cough, nose when you sneeze, wash your hands thoroughly)

1. How Things Work, Childcraft--The How and Why Library, vol. 7 (Chicago: World Book, 1982), 70-71.

2. How Things Work, Childcraft--The How and Why Library, vol. 7 (Chicago: World Book, 1982), 70-71.