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Interdisciplinary Projects Take Center Stage in the Lower School


Interdisciplinary Projects Take Center Stage in the Lower School

The Grade 1 monarch study has been a hallmark of the St. Patrick’s curriculum for many years. Incorporating art, science, social studies, Spanish, and writing, this unit has many access points for a range of learners. Beginning in the homeroom, students study live monarch caterpillars and regularly observe the metamorphosis they undergo until they become butterflies as part of their life cycle. Maps and migration patterns are a significant part of this study, and students learn about monarch habitats in science as they learn to think about the unique needs of this species and the ecosystem it inhabits. 

Annual monarch migration from the mid-Atlantic to Mexico coincides with the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, and in Spanish class, students learn about the traditional belief that monarchs are the souls of ancestors who are returning to Earth for their annual visit. In art, students use monarchs to explore the concept of symmetry, and create images of butterflies and beautiful collages of chrysalises. Literacy also plays an important role for Grade 1 students learning about monarchs, and students read many books as a class and create posters about monarch conservation to raise awareness in our community. 

The Grade 3 states study is another exciting example of interdisciplinary learning in action in the Lower School. In this unit, students embark on an exciting exploration of the geography and regions of the United States. They learn about the diverse geographical features, natural resources, and characteristics of each region, learn research skills in the library, explore the geology of the United States in science, and learn related songs in music class. Through hands-on activities, discussions, and a culminating project about a specific aspect of one state that incorporates design thinking, students develop an understanding of the United States physical landscape, and its impact on the people who live there. 

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