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Current Topics of Study

Reading: Nonfiction Reading – Expository Texts

This unit spotlights skills and habits essential to a reader of expository nonfiction: determining importance and finding the main idea and supportive details; questioning and talking back to the text; figuring out and using new content-specific vocabulary; and applying analytical thinking skills to compare and contrast, rank or categorize.


Writing: Literary Essay: Compare/Contrast

Students will consider the similarities and differences in how two texts deal with an issue and will write a comparative essay about what they find. Writers will apply all they have learned so far in this unit—and in others—to their current work, and will be writing with even more independence than before, setting their own writing goals and using their skills strategically to revise and edit their writing. At the end of the unit, writers will publish and celebrate their completed essays!

Science: Earth and Space Science

Students are introduced to weather in our second science unit! Through several activities, students will study how to observe and measure basic weather variables and the water cycle, and build simple weather instruments. Students will also start collecting weather data. Weather describes the local atmospheric conditions. In the climate and biomes unit, students will extend the concept of weather to climate. They will study how different areas have different yearly weather patterns, and how this affects the local biomes. In our extreme weather unit, tornadoes, hurricanes, and winter storms will be introduced. Finally, an engineering lesson called "Hurricane Houses" will close the unit with a project aimed to describe some of the safety features used to make houses secure against hurricanes. In this lesson, students will complete some background reading and preliminary activities, and then design and build a house. Each house will be tested to check its resistance against a simulated "hurricane!"  

Mathematics: Fractions and Multiplication Strategies

In Unit 5, children relate their part-whole understanding of fractions to visual and symbolic representations, including standard notation, and begin to explore fraction equivalence. They also develop multiplication fact strategies by working from their understanding of multiplication and known facts to find unfamiliar products by using arrays, area models, and properties of multiplication.