Slovak Republic

The Science Curriculum in Primary and Lower Secondary Grades

The science curriculum for Grades 1 to 4 is in accordance with the ŠVP for the domain Nature and Society, and contains topics in the two subject areas Natural Science (Prírodoveda) and National History and Geography (Vlastiveda).12 The educational content of the subject Natural Science is structured into 12 thematic fields, presented in Exhibit 3. The topics relevant to the TIMSS study for the subject National History and Geography are covered in two thematic fields, presented in Exhibit 4.

Exhibit 3: Natural Science Content Areas, Grades 1–413

Main Topics Subtopics
Plants
  • Characteristics of plant life; the basic structure of plants (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruit); plant morphology and function
  • Germination; vegetative reproduction; conditions for plant growth (light, heat, water, air, soil); effects of water (hydrophilous and xerophilous plants) and light on plants; diversity of plants; pollinators; life span of plants  (annual, biennial, and perennial plants); and effects of environmental changes
  • Typical strains of meadow plants; introduction to the system of plants; differences between meadows and fields; the significance of field monoculture and the most important field commodities and their uses; medicinal plants (collection, storage, and application); the preparation of extracts (how to increase the solubility of compounds)
Animals
  • Reproduction and development (growth, maturity, and death)
  • Animals hatched from eggs; life cycle of butterflies and birds; diversity in the animal kingdom; life span, growth, and development of various animal species
  • Various animal diets (herbivorous and carnivorous animals)
  • Significance of animal mobility
  • Various conditions for animal life; land and water animals (ways of life, flying land animals, and animals living in soil); parasites
  • Typical species of animals living in water and on land (meadows and fields) and their ways of life; introduction to the system of animals
  • Characteristics of animal life, similarities and differences among living organisms, and basics of the system of vertebrates; reptiles; birds; animal societies and their ways of life (ants, bees); household animals
Time
  • Seasons and periodic changes in nature; measuring time by repeating phenomena (e.g., hour, sunrise and sunset, day, and year)
  • Pendulums, sandglasses, and sundials; calendars, years, months, weeks, and days; measuring time with a watch (hour, minute, second)
Water
  • Water as an environment for life (animals and plants)
  • Changes in state of water from liquid to solid (freezing) and to gas (evaporation)
  • Water supply; drinking water; the significance of water in soil and air; the water cycle; water uptake and defecation by various organisms; drinking regimes
  • The solubility and insolubility of various substances in water and the structure of matter in terms of particles; filtration; crystallization; hard and soft water, groundwater, and mineral water; lime scale; seawater and extracting salt from it; producing drinking water from seawater; dissolving and melting; thawing
  • Water and land animals; running and stagnant water; connection of water supplies; ways of life of animals living in rivers, lakes, and seas
Matter
  • Living organisms and inorganic nature (differences)
  • Properties of gaseous, liquid, and solid states of matter; properties and changes of properties of matter; changes of state of matter caused by heat; changes of matter caused by other substances (chemical changes); light (nonmaterial reality); sources of light; transmission of light (translucent and transparent materials); shadows; reflection of light
Gas, Liquid, and Solid Matter
  • Air as a gas substance; wind and its generation; properties of cold and hot air; air filtration; measurement, causes, and consequences of air, water, and soil pollution
  • The most frequently occurring gas, liquid, and solid substances and their properties; differences between solid and liquid substances; stagnant and running water; water contamination by soluble and insoluble substances and by microorganisms; consequences of contamination; soil and its production; properties of soil
  • Measurement of weight and volume (graduated cylinders, even arm balances)
Heat and Temperature
  • Changes of season; temperature changes during the year; the sun as a source of light and heat
  • Sources of heat; the generation of heat in organisms; burning and burnable substances; fire safety; heat and temperature; thermometers and principles of measuring temperature with water thermometers; boiling and freezing temperatures of water; temperature of the human body and medical thermometers; changes in human body temperature (increased temperature caused by disease and how to reduce it)
The Human Body
  • Food as a source of energy and building material for renewal of organisms; food with different nutrient contents; obesity; vitamins; the digestive system and the process of digestion; poisons and drugs; the excretory system ; the respiratory system and the process of breathing; the importance of oxygen; the synergy of respiratory and cardiac function; the human skeleton; the importance of physical activity for health; the musculoskeletal system; the importance of clean air; coughing and sneezing; droplet infection; the importance of a proper lifestyle for supporting human body systems; bone fractures and healing; muscle development and exercise
  • Functions of sensory organs (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch)
  • Functions of the human nervous system (reflexes), the cardiovascular system (the heart, the function and composition of blood, circulation, heartbeat, blood pressure), and the reproductive system
  • Sound
  • Basics of a healthy lifestyle
Properties of Matter
  • Thermal conductivity of different types of materials (thermal insulators); heat distribution
  • Density (volume and weight); floating and sinking objects in water; density changes caused by heat and by changes in physical states of matter; comparing densities of different states of matter; density and solubility of substances; buoyancy; particle composition of matter
Simple Devices
  • Levers, inclined planes, pulleys, and gear wheels and their construction, uses, and principles of operation
Forces
  • The force of gravity (magnitude and direction) and volume and weight of objects
  • Electric energy and its importance; electric current; electric conductivity of materials (conductors and insulators); lightning; static electricity
  • Magnetic force (magnetic and nonmagnetic materials); magnetization; Earth’s magnetic field and compasses; friction (increasing and decreasing) and its importance
The Universe
  • The universe, planets, stars, galaxies, constellations, and the solar system
  • Earth’s rotation (day and night); Earth’s axial tilt; Earth’s revolution around the Sun (the seasons); conditions for life in the universe; space exploration

Exhibit 4: National History and Geography Content Areas, Grades 1–414

Main Topics Subtopics
Discovering Changes Around Us
  • The points of a compass; the direction of shadows; watching the sky for signs of weather changes (i.e., the Sun, Moon, and stars); equations and their systems
  • The seasons
Journey to School and Home
  • Environmental pollution and protection
  • Health care

The science curriculum for Grades 5 to 9 is in accordance with the State Educational Program for the domain Man and Nature, and contains topics in the three subjects of biology, physics, and chemistry, as presented in Exhibits 5, 6, and 7.15

Exhibit 5: Biology Content Areas, Grades 5–916

Main Topics Subtopics
  • Nature and life
  • Life in forests
  • Life in meadows and fields
  • Life with humans and in human habitats
  • The basic structure of life
  • Living organisms and their bodily structure
  • The bodily structure of plants and fungi
  • The bodily structure
    of invertebrates
  • Humans and the human body
  • Health and human life
  • Inorganic nature
  • Earth and the structure
    of Earth
  • The structural components
    of Earth’s crust
  • The geological processes
    and history of Earth
  • Living conditions and
    relationships among organisms
  • Basic characteristics and life processes of organisms
  • The basic structure
    of organisms
  • Principles of heredity
  • Living environment
    of humans and organisms
  • Living organisms and their importance in nature and for human life; forest, water, meadow, and field ecosystems and human habitats as living environments for organisms; typical organisms and their objective characteristics, life processes, and food web relationships; prevention of and protection from harmful species
  • The basic structure, functions, and life characteristics of plant and animal cells; unicellular and multicellular organisms
  • The basic structure and function of human organ systems; basic first aid principles; activities of the human body as an integral system in terms of health and healthy lifestyle
  • Understanding the relationship between organic and inorganic nature; the basic structure and structural components of Earth; substantial metamorphoses in Earth’s crust; fundamental internal and external geological processes; contexts in the geological history of Earth and the history of nature and man
  • Essential conditions for sustaining life; environmental factors and relationships among organisms; impact of human activity on the biosphere and how to eliminate it
  • The general characteristics of life processes in bacteria, plants, fungi, and animals; the principles and impact of heredity in nature and for humans
  • Components of the living environment of organisms and humans, relationships among them, and their importance for sustaining life; factors affecting the quality of living environment; health and ways of life of organisms and humans; principal aspects of the protection of the environment and nature

Exhibit 6: Physics Content Areas, Grades 5–917

Main Topics Subtopics
Examining the Properties of Gases, Liquids, and Solids Different and similar properties; measurement and units of length, volume, and weight
The Behavior of Objects in Gases and Liquids Measuring and comparing volume and weight of buoyant, floating, and sinking objects in water and liquids of various densities; density and its units of measurement; determining density of various liquids through experimentation; observing the behavior of soap bubbles in air and gases of higher density than air; density of gases
Temperature; Examining Changes of State of Matter Time and temperature (measurement and units); constructing graphs showing the relationship of temperature and time; examining changes of state of matter (e.g., liquid to gas through evaporation and boiling; boiling temperature; atmospheric pressure and boiling point; steam to water through condensation; measuring condensation point; modeling rain; melting and freezing, as with ice and paraffin); constructing graphs to display data collected
Heat Receiving and transmitting of heat by objects; heat conduction; constructing calorimeters from simple components; estimating and measuring final temperature after heat transmission between hot metals (copper, aluminum, iron) and cold water; difference in temperature (Δ t); specific heat capacity; heat and its units of measurement; determining the energy value of foods by fuel combustion; heat combustion engines
Light Sunlight and heat; light energy and its conversion to heat; comparison of light sources (e.g., the sun and light bulbs); evidence for the linear propagation of light; light refraction and the spectrum; light absorption and reflection by various colors; color superimposition; the laws of reflection and refraction; rainbows; lenses; eye disorders and glasses
Forces and Motion; Work and Energy Mutual interactions between objects; force and its units of measurement; the force of gravity and how it is calculated; gravitational field; the linear relationship of body weight and gravity; the center of gravity of objects and how it is determined; the effects of physical forces on motion; uniform and nonuniform motion; direction and velocity of uniform motion; average velocity; units of measurement of velocity; graphing velocity and direction of motion over time; deforming effects of force; compressive force and pressure; pressure and its units of measurement; mechanical work and its units of measurement; friction and frictional force; kinetic and potential energy of objects and their mutual transformation; the law of conservation of energy; energy resources; fossil fuels; traditional and nontraditional energy sources; water power plants
Magnetic and Electric Phenomena; Electric Circuits Magnets and their properties; the poles of a magnet; magnetic fields; Earth as a magnet; compasses; electrostatics of objects and electric charge; electric fields; electrometers; electric circuits (their components and schematic representation); light bulbs; electric conductors and insulators; serial and parallel circuits of light bulbs; comparing the brightness of several light bulbs in a serial circuit; electric current, voltage, and resistance (using amp meters to measure them and knowing units of measurement); resistors; experimental determination of Ohm’s law; graphing the relationship of electric current and voltage; current conduction in solid and liquid materials; electric energy and its transformations; electric household items; safety precautions when operating electric household items

Exhibit 7: Chemistry Content Areas, Grades 5–918

Main Topics Subtopics
Chemistry Around Us The importance of chemistry in human life; chemical laboratories, production, and products; natural raw materials; chemical substances and their properties (flammability, state, smell, odor, appearance, solubility); homogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures (solutions, water, and saturated mixtures); solvents and solutes; methods for separating components of mixtures (sedimentation, filtration, evaporation, distillation, crystallization); water; air
Transformation of Substances Chemical reactions; the law of conservation of mass; combustion and flammable substances; reactants and products; chemical association and dissociation; energy transformation in chemical reactions; rate of chemical reactions and factors affecting the rate of chemical reactions
Composition of Substances Elements and their symbols; compounds; chemical formulas; particles of matter; atoms (electron shell and nucleus, protons, neutrons, electrons, atomic number); chemical bonds; electron pairs; molecules; ions (cation and anion); oxidation and reduction; the oxidation-reduction reaction; the periodic table of the elements; groups and periods
Major Chemical Elements
and Compounds
Oxygen and its compounds (oxides); hydrogen and its compounds (acids, oxo-acids, oxygen-free acids, acidic solutions); alkali metals and their compounds (hydroxides, alkaline solutions); salts (neutralization, pH, pH scale, pH indicators); metals and their compounds (in the human organism and in everyday life)
Chemical Calculations Amounts of substance; molar mass; measurement of composition of solutions (mass fraction, concentration)
Organic Compounds Characteristics of organic substances; organic chemistry; carbon’s valence of 4; molecular, structural, and simplified forms of structural formulas; carbon chains (open and closed chains); single, double, and triple bonds; hydrocarbons (alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons) and polymerization; macromolecules; natural sources of hydrocarbons; the octane number of gasoline; hydrocarbon derivatives (halogen derivatives, oxygen derivatives); natural substances; saccharides (sugars); photosynthesis; lipids (fats); proteins; vitamins; enzymes; hormones; plastic materials (polyethylene, polyvinylchloride, polystyrene); synthetic fibers (Silon, nylon, polyester); soaps and detergents; cosmetics; pesticides; therapeutics and drugs