Banner includes PhD Science logo, windmill graphic, and three female students engaging in a windmill activity involving Snap Circuits kit


Curriculum Module Map

With PhD Science®, students will take a deep dive into each anchor phenomenon they explore, building enduring knowledge of core science topics through investigation.

Students actively engage in a learning cycle of asking questions and sharing initial ideas about phenomena they study, investigating those questions, developing evidence-based explanations, and transferring their new knowledge to explain different phenomena. Supported by differentiation strategies, the curriculum provides all students the opportunity to engage with rigorous content through hands-on investigations, collaborative conversations, and analysis of authentic texts and media.

With PhD Science, we inspire students to wonder about the world and empower them to make sense of it through a coherent storyline. Below is a snapshot of concepts students cover, the phenomena they investigate, and the questions they answer as they learn to think and act like real scientists.

Level   Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4
K Title Weather Pushes and Pulls Life Environments
Anchor Phenomenon Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde Tugboats Moving Cargo Ships Life in the Mojave Desert Life in a Longleaf Pine Forest
Essential Question How did the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde protect people from the weather? How do tugboats move cargo ships through a Harbor? Why is Mara different from the Wonderland of Rocks? Why are gopher tortoises disappearing?
1 Title Survival Light Sound Sky
Anchor Phenomenon Life at a Pond Wayang Shadow Puppetry The Recycled Orchestra of Cateura Polynesian Navigation
Essential Question How do pond plants and pond animals survive in their environment? How do puppeteers use light to tell stories during wayang shows? How does the Recycled Orchestra make music?

How did the Polynesians use observations of the Sun, stars, and the Moon to navigate from island to island?

2 Title Matter Earth Changes Plants Biomes
Anchor Phenomenon Birds Building Nests Transformation of Surtsey Plant Recovery Around Mount St. Helens Environments on and below Mount Everest
Essential Question Why do different kinds of birds use certain materials to build their nests? How can the island of Surtsey change shape over time? How did local plants recover after the eruption of Mount St. Helens? Why do so many kinds of plants and animals live below Mount Everest but so few live on it?
3 Title Weather and Climate Survival Traits  Forces and Motion
Anchor Phenomenon 1900 Galveston Hurricane Butterfly Survival Individual Variation in Humpback Whales Motion in Space
Essential Question How can we prevent a storm from becoming a disaster? How do butterflies survive over time in a changing environment? What makes an individual humpback whale unique? Why do objects move differently in space than they do on Earth?
4 Title Earth Features Energy Sense and Response Light
Anchor Phenomenon Formation of the Grand Canyon's Features Windmills at Work Elephants Sensing Distant Rainstorms Visibility of and Communication to Howland Island
Essential Question How did the Grand Canyon's features form? How do windmills change wind to light? How do elephants sense rainstorms from more than 100 miles away? Why didn’t Amelia Earhart complete her journey?
5 Title Matter Ecosystems Earth Systems Orbit and Rotation
Anchor Phenomenon Changes to the Statue of Liberty's Appearance Life around a Mangrove Tree Balinese Rice Farming Views from Earth and Space
Essential Question What caused the Statue of Liberty to change over time? How can trees support so much life? How has Balinese rice farming endured for 1,000 years? How can we explain our observations of the Sun, the Moon, and stars from Earth?


Life Science Focus Earth Science Focus Physical Science Focus


Learn More About PhD Science

Helping students build knowledge is at the core of all Great Minds® curricula. With PhD Science, we do this by inspiring students to wonder about the world and empowering them to make sense of it.

Building knowledge starts with a coherent curriculum—but too often, science in the early grades is covered through disparate activities instead of connected, knowledge-building lessons. That’s why Levels K–2 of PhD Science are available as an Open Education Resource

Interested in trying PhD Science in your school or classroom? Learn more about opportunities to pilot PhD Science.

Curious to learn more about what's included with PhD Science?  We invite you to watch our Resource Overview Session.