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Elementary School

Living Environment 
Students conduct a complete study on the plant life cycle. They investigate the stages from seed germination to harvesting of new seeds.
Plant Life Cycle
  • Observe and compare changes that occur during the germination of seeds
  • Design experiments to answer questions about plant parts and plant needs
  • Understand how bees help pollinate plants and form an appreciation for the interdependence of the plant and animal kingdoms
  • Investigate the parts of a flower through dissection and determine each part's role in reproduction

Physical Setting
Students dive into learning about the properties of water, changes in water,interactions between water and other earth materials, and how humans use water.  Through investigations in the Energy unit, students are introduced to the fundamental concepts of energy.  During the Astronomy unit, students begin with firsthand observations of the sky in day time and at night.  Through classroom activities, students begin to make sense of what they see  - phases of the moon, the change in night and day, the seasons, and the different constellations of the night sky. 
  • Observe and explore properties of water in liquid, solid and gaseous states
  • Investigate the expansion and contraction of water and factors that influence evaporation and condensation of water
  • Investigate how water can be used to do work
Energy Changes
  • Observe that energy exists in many forms, including electrical, chemical, mechanical, solar, heat and light
  • Conduct experiments to observe the transformation of energy
  • Create a simple circuit and investigate the transfer of electrical energy
  • Describe and model relative positions and motions of the Earth, moon, and sun that cause day and night, seasons, and moon phases
  • Visit a planetarium to expand knowledge of the night sky 
  • Investigate the planets in the solar system and learn about their movement

Social Studies
Introduction to History
Major Understandings:
  • Students will understand the elements of culture
  • Cultures record their history in various ways and for different purposes
  • People learn about history by investigating a variety of sources
  • There are primary and secondary sources that tell us about life at a certain point in history
History and Culture
  • What is culture?
  • What elements exist in all cultures? (Cultural Universals: politics, geography, economics, cultural arts, beliefs, social aspects)
  • What is history? (Near and distant past)
  • Why do cultures record their history?
  • How do cultures transmit their history?
  • What are primary and secondary sources? (Primary source material includes original documents, speeches, cartoons, artifacts, photos, art, music, architecture, literature, drama, journals, folklore, historic places, and oral histories, all of which originated at the time of the event. A secondary source is a work that interprets or analyzes an historical event. It is one step removed from the event.)
  • How can people find out about past cultures/history?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of various primary and secondary sources? (Connect this to point of view and fact and opinion)
  • How can we analyze primary sources to discover how people lived in the past/present?
  • How can we use secondary sources to confirm or challenge inferences made by analyzing primary sources?
  • What connection /comparisons can we make between the present and past cultures/history based on primary and secondary evidence?
  • What relationship/ connections can we make between primary and secondary sources and geography? (How can analyzing photographs, letters, etc. help us make inferences about the six elements of geography?
  • Idenitfy and explore elements of geography: the world in spatial terms; places and regions; physical systems; human systems; modification of the environment by humans; how the environment influences human behavior
  • What sources can we use to gather geographic information? (what do different types of maps look like -- globes, charts etc.)
  • How does geography influence where and how people settle?
  • What are the economic aspects of a culture? (transportation, human and natural resources, wants and needs, production of goods and services, and scarcity -- the conflict between unlimited wants and needs and limited resources)
  • What economic aspects do we find in our personal culture/history today and those in the past and how have they changed? (As you are looking at documents, photographs etc. look for information about transportation, resources, wants and needs, production of goods)
  • What are the wants and needs of a culture based on an analysis of the primary and secondary evidence? (Basic needs are food, clothing, shelter. As you are looking at documents, photographs etc. look for information about wants and needs of the past and present)
  • What is the role of the individuals in the primary source that you are analyzing? (Are the people leaders or community members? What are the gender roles and familial roles?)
  • What civic values (such as respect, justice, equality) are expressed in the primary source?

Native Americans of New York State

Major Understandings:
  • Idenitfying the elements of culture
  • Native Americans were the first inhabitants of our local region and State
  • The topography, climate and resources of regions influenced the culture, lifestyles and how Native Americans of New York State met basic needs

History and Culture
  • What is a culture?Who were the Native Americans of New York State?
  • (Iroquois nations: Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca, Mohawk, Tuscarora and Algonquin nations: Mohican, Delaware, Wappinger, etc.)
  • What were the essential elements – the cultural universals- of the Iroquois and Algonquin cultures? (social aspects such as  food, clothing, shelter, education, family life; economic aspects such as tools, weapons, transportation, trade; belief aspects such as traditions, religion, stories, nature; cultural arts aspects such as art forms, recreation, story telling, history; politic al aspects such as clans, leaders, and the Iroquios Nation)
  • What was a day like in the life of a Native American child? Man? Woman?
  • How did the legends of the Native Americans reflect their beliefs? What is a wampum and how did it help preserve Iroquois history?
  • How did their respect for nature influence their daily life?
  • How did the lifestyles of Native Americans change after the arrival of the Europeans?
  • How did the Native Americans organize their community? (I.e. family, village, nation)
  • What is a stereotype?
  • What are some of the misunderstandings about Native Americans today?

  • Where did the Native Americans settle in New York State?
  • How did the Iroquois and Algonquin make use of their natural resources? (Ex. clothing, food, weapons, medicine, tools, etc.)
  • How did the members of the community divide up the work to provide for the needs of the community?
World Communities (New York City/Tokyo)
Major Understandings:
  • People of similar and different cultural groups often live together in world communities
  • World Communities share the universal elements of politics, economics, cultural arts, social aspects and beliefs to meet the wants and needs of its population
  • People in world communities exchange and transmit values, ideas, beliefs and traditions
  • World communities are influenced by environmental and geographic factors
  • People in world communities form governments to develop rules and laws to govern community members
  • World communities change over time

History and Culture:
  • What is culture?
What cultural universal elements make up a community? (economic, social, political, beliefs and cultural arts)
  • What are the social, political, economic, religious and cultural similarities universal to all world communities? (celebrations, beliefs, cultural exchange, system of government, goods and services provided, families and individuals, shelter, education, problems, historic events etc.
  • What are the social, political, economic, religious and cultural differences in world communities? (celebrations, beliefs, cultural exchange, system of  government, goods and services provided, families and individuals, shelter, education, problems, historic events etc.
  • How do people in world communities transmit values, beliefs and traditions? (through legends, folktales, oral histories and celebrations)
  • How and why do world communities change over time?
  • How can historic events be viewed? (through the eyes of people that were there, art, writing, artifacts, music etc.)
  • What is the purpose of governments in world communities? (develop and enforce rules and laws, plan, organize and make decisions, provide services to the population)
  • How do the governments of world communities provide for the services (functions) that people cannot provide as individuals? (Tansportation, education, garbage removal, utilities, parks and recreation, roads, post office, libraries, police, fire etc.)
  • How do people in world communities celebrate and commemorate patriotic holidays? (parades and monuments)
  • Where do people settle and live and why? (factors that influence human settlements differ in world communities; industrial, residential and commercial areas; cultural communities like Chinatown)
  • How do we find world communities on a map? (continents, oceans, regions, longitude and latitude, direction, distance and relation to each other)
  • What are the physical and human characteristics that unify a region? (landforms, bodies of water, climate, vegetation, ethnicity, language)
  • How does geography and environment influence the development of the community and the lifestyles of the people living within that community? (natural resources may determine transportation and the ability of people to commute to the city, foods, buildings etc.)
  • How have people in the community adapted to and modified their environment?
  • How are human wants and needs similar and different in world communities?
  • How are these wants and needs provided for in world communities? (choices must be made due to limited resources, interdependence of communities, locating, developing and making use of natural resources)
  • What factors influence how societies determine and provide for goods and services? (geography, population, area, resources, businesses)
  • How are world communities interdependent?