Students in grades K - 5th participate in a daily Project Work block that integrates science, social studies, and the arts. Teachers use the DC Standards for Social Studies and the Next Generation Science Standards to create lessons around a quarter-long learning endeavor. These projects are structured into three main parts:
Exploration | Students explore curiosities surrounding the study topic, come up with questions that they want to answer, and research the topic. They gather information, meet with experts in related fields, conduct investigations, and carry out fieldwork.
Expression | This is where students use their knowledge to create. This stage could be happening simultaneously with exploration or after exploration is complete. During expression students put their learning to use to create a product or performance.
Exposition | This is the stage of the endeavor when students present what they have learned. Depending on the project, this could be presenting, performing, facilitating a public forum for discussion, or anything that allows students to get their work out to the community.
Students in grade K-4 worked on an integrated art and social studies unit in which they created visual artwork and music related to grade-level social studies standards. In visual art class, they used collage techniques to recreate an American flag. In their classrooms, they used the information they learned through reading and field trips and research to create song lyrics that discussed important topics like paying taxes, voting, and American history. They performed their songs for students and staff at a pageant that celebrated American social studies.
Kindergarten students learned about goods and services through an in-depth study of restaurants. They visited the Hard Rock Cafe in Metro Center and got to learn how the restaurant operated, what types of jobs people performed in the restaurant, and how patrons used money to pay for the goods and services provided by the restaurant. Then, they used their new knowledge and skills to create the Kindergarten Cafe, where they took over all the roles of restaurant workers from chefs to servers to cashiers. Parents and staff were invited to the student-run cafe and were delighted by the service and professionalism of our aspiring restaurantuers!