Knowledge Builds on Knowledge

Example Sequence

We learn new knowledge by building on what we already know. The Core Knowledge curriculum is a coherent sequence of specific knowledge that builds year by year. For example, in sixth grade students should be ready to grasp the law of the conservation of energy because they have been building the knowledge that prepares them for it, as shown in this selection from the physical science strand of the Core Knowledge Sequence:

  • Kindergarten – Magnetism, the idea of forces we cannot see; classify materials according to whether they are attracted to a magnet
  • First Grade – Basic concept of atoms; learn names and common examples of the three states of matter; examine water as an example of changing states of matter in a single substance
  • Second Grade – Study of Lodestones, naturally occurring magnets and magnetic poles; learn about magnetic fields and laws of attraction
  • Fourth Grade – Study of Atoms; atoms are made up of even smaller particles (protons, neutrons, electrons); learn about the concept of electrical charge and its connection to magnetic fields; study properties of matter, including mass, volume, and density
  • Fifth Grade – Study of Atoms forming molecules and compounds; learn about the Periodic Table of elements and its organization
  • Sixth Grade – Learn about Kinetic and potential energy (and examples of each); perform experiments and labs to reinforce scientific concepts of conduction, convection and radiation