Third grade utilizes the Amplify curriculum.
Third graders begin the year exploring forces. In the Balancing Forces unit, students work to investigate and then explain how inventions such as a floating train and hoverboard seem to defy logic. The students create physical models, diagram models, and write scientific explanations detailing how the floating train works. The third graders end the unit with the creation of marble runs.
The students then become meteorologists as they work for a fictional Wildlife Protection Organization to discover the best location for an orangutan preserve in Borneo. They analyze how scientists follow weather patterns over space and time as they collect, analyze, and represent weather data. They then use their own patterns found on three fictional islands to determine the best placement of the orangutan preserve. At the end of the unit, the students create their own hurricane houses and see if their construction can withstand hurricane-force winds.
Finally, the students become wildlife biologists as they study how organisms get their traits. Third graders are left with the task of determining how fictional Wolf 44- who is different from the rest of his pack, got its traits. They explore similarities and differences in the traits of two different wolf packs to draw a conclusion.
The third graders also enjoy exploring our All Saints garden. Students examine different kinds of seeds from fruits and vegetables, plant seeds, and carefully observe and record the plants as they grow.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is an important part of the All Saints’ curriculum. Of the twenty fastest growing career fields in the United States, fifteen of them require a STEM education. It is widely recognized that the United States needs to do a better job of preparing its students to be able to integrate skills and knowledge in these four fields, not only to prepare those who will end up working in a STEM-related career, but to prepare all of its students to grow into informed citizens, able to make wise decisions on the many public issues involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
All Saints math, science, and technology teachers work together to insure that, at all grade levels, All Saints students “do STEM.” Presented with a problem to solve, students brainstorm in small groups, using their science, math, and technology skills, to design and engineer a solution to the problem. They test their design, and, if necessary, re-engineer it before presenting their solution to their classmates. Among the many STEM design challenges students undertake are roller coasters, spirometers to measure lung capacity, cardboard furniture to hold classmates, rain gauges, bird feeders, electrical circuits, bridges, and oil spill cleanup systems. In addition to the design challenges, students routinely integrate their math and technology skills into their regular science lessons.
STEM education is not only fun for students, but it also teaches them the importance and value of creativity, collaboration, flexibility, and communication, important traits for 21st century citizens.