Using an inquiry methodology to create questions and topics promotes advanced thinking skills and is supported by educational research related to the “best practices” for teachers. National and Arizona State standards in every discipline support connections between subjects in the school curriculum. There are important connections to be made between science and mathematics, language arts, social studies, and other school subjects. Our teachers are trained to teach children to construct their own learning and develop life long academic interests and positive self esteem.
Elementary School Curriculum
COMPONENTS OF THE ELEMENTARY CURRICULUM
For example, curriculum combines reading and writing with projects that explore the topics of science and social studies. Students create projects and activities that are relevant to their language skills. Students are guided through appropriate levels of reading that challenge them to deepen their understanding and to apply their reading skills to the understanding of classroom assignments. For example, fifth graders may be working on a project about Ancient Greece (a social studies standard), while at the same time using science skills related to the investigation and analysis of mummification ( a science standard ), in order to create a story or play that requires several language skills. This is an example of how a student can integrate several aspects of the entire curriculum together to create an exciting and relevant class project. The math of Ancient Greece is a perfect fit! How about drama, art, language…?
Arizona’s Common Core Standards in mathematics are research and evidence based, aligned with college and work expectations, rigorous and internationally benchmarked and are written to show a K-12 progression of skills and emphasize problem-solving, quantitative reasoning, and modeling. For specific skills taught at each grade level in mathematics please refer to the Arizona State Department of Education web site at www.ade.state.az.us/common core math standards.
Strand 1: Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Strand 2: Number and Operations in Base Ten
Strand 3: Fractions
Strand 4: Measurement and Data
Strand 5: Geometry
Strand 6: Ratios and Proportions
Strand 7: Expressions and Equations
Strand 8: The Number System
Strand 9: Statistics and Probability
The Educational Technology Standard is divided into six categories which include the 6th grade benchmarks :
Fundamental Operations and Concepts
Social, Ethical and Human Issues
Technology and Productivity Tools
Technology and Communication Tools
Technology Research Tools
Technology Tools for Problem Solving and Decision Making
Refer to www.ade.state.az.us/standards/technology for details
The following topics are the themes in social studies, which include geography, history, civics, and economics.
Grade 6: Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India, Greece, Rome, religions, pre-Columbian civilizations, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Enlightenment.
Grade 5: European Exploration, Colonialization, American Revolution, Wars, Democracy, Western Expansion, pre-Civil War, Civil War, and contemporary United States.
Grade 4: Native Americans, Spanish and Mexican Wars, current United States and Arizona History.
Grade 3: Ancient Greece, early exploration, Civil War, and United States History.
Grade 2: Early civilizations, Revolutionary War, building a new Nation, Westward expansion, and contemporary United States.
Grade 1: Symbols of America, maps, money, citizenship, sportsmanship, early civilizations, Pilgrims, Thanksgiving, and Community.
Kindergarten: Introduction to basic spatial, temporal, and causal relationships, emphasizing the geographic and historical connections between the world today and the world long ago.
Students are naturally curious about the world and their place in it. Sustaining this curiosity and giving it a scientific foundation must be a high priority in Arizona schools. Application of scientific thinking enables Arizona students to strengthen skills that people use every day: solving problems creatively, thinking critically, working cooperatively in teams, using technology effectively, and valuing lifelong learning.
Science education is much more than merely learning content. It is the active process of investigation and the critical review of evidence related to the world around us, both visible and invisible. Science is a dynamic process of gathering and evaluating information, looking for patterns, and then devising and testing possible explanations. Active engagement in scientific investigation leads students to think critically and to devlop reasoning skills that allow them to become independent, lifelong learners. Science methods and thought processes have application well beyond the bounds of science and support learning goals in all subject areas.
The Arizona Science Standard Articulated by Grade Level has been written for ALL students. The science standard is set with the expectation that science instruction occurs at all grade levels – beginning in early grades with simple exploration, progressing to increasingly organized and sophisticated science investigations in higher grades. Underlying all of the science standard strands are the five unifying concepts as identified in the National Science Education Standards (1995):
- Systems, Order, and Organization
- Evidence, Models, and Explanation
- Consistency, Change, and Measurement
- Evolution and Equilibrium
- Form and Function
This conceptual framework provides students with productive and insightful ways of considering and integrating a range of basic ideas that explain the natural world. Because the understanding and abilities associated with major conceptual and procedural schemes need to be developed over an entire education, the unifying concepts and processes transcend desciplinary boundaries.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
“Unlike past generations, teachers today must prepare students for a world of possibilities that may not currently exist. The workforce of tomorrow must be flexible, motivated, and be able to draw from a deep and vast skill set. The ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, and adapt to situations will be critical to ensuring competition in a global market. By setting high expectations with a commitment to succeed with all students, we are positioning our future workforce to be internationally competitive.” (Arizona Department of Education.)
The overarching goal is to ensure that school-aged youth become physically literate individuals who possess the skills, knowledge and dispositions to lead physically active lives. This goals includes:
- the need for effective physical education programs for all Arizona children and youth
- the importance of health-enhancing physical activity differentiating physical education from physical activity, and current trends and issues in school physical education.
The arts are essential in education for they provide students with the means to think, feel, and understand the world around them in ways unique and distinct from other academic disciplines. Arizona has recognized the importance of arts education for its students in a variety of ways, including:
- Requiring music and visual arts be taught in grades K-6
- Creating high quality certifications (endorsements) for teachers in the areas of dance, music, theatre and visual arts
- Adopting Academic Standards in the Arts, with rigorous, sequential guidelines for creating quality arts education for Arizona’s students.