Science studies in Upper Elementary offer a unique blend of conceptual overview and in-depth exploration. Students study the sciences within broadly focused thematic studies.
By the Upper Elementary years, most children have acquired a basic understanding of the scientific method, an understanding of scientific classification, and a confidence in themselves as critical thinkers who identify, question, explore, and conclude. They have realized that perception is not always reality and that scientific issues always bear further study. As they begin to be able to think abstractly, they become increasingly able to manipulate concepts and create order from the phenomena of their world.
Comprehensive, thematic studies of “Water,” “Fire,” and “Earth/Air” comprise the three-year, rotating core of students’ studies in life science, physical science, and earth/space science. The thematic approach encourages students to make connections across the sciences; it generates profound curiosity; and it allows them to design investigative projects that express their interests and their styles of learning.
The “Fire” focus includes units such as Solar Power, Photosynthesis, and Volcanism. The “Water” theme might include units like Waterwheels, Circulatory Systems, and The Earth’s Water Cycles. “Earth and Air” themes include units such as Wind Power, Respiratory Systems, and The Work of Wind.