Comets and cuneiform

The third and fourth graders at Seabury are always up to something fascinating. They might be writing in Cuneiform like the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia. They could be flash-freezing a structure of carbon, glucose, water and soil with the help of a science professor to see what a comet is composed of. Or they might have let their pet lobster out of his aquarium for a bit to practice scientific illustration. Frequently, the students aren't in the classroom. They could be in the MakerSpace, or in the pre-k room mentoring younger students – or off on one of the field excursions that are a prime feature of a Seabury education.

Inquiry-based learning & differentiation

At Seabury, asking open-ended questions and exploring to find the answers (or lack of answers) is how students learn, from pre-k to eighth grade. Our third and fourth graders come up with great questions. Students engage in authentic, hands-on, project-based learning. The emphasis is on higher-level thinking, with ample opportunities for collaboration, creative expression and innovation. Education at Seabury is truly differentiated, with learning matched to the readiness of each student – in every subject, every day.

Broad Concepts

As with all levels at Seabury School, integrated, multidisciplinary units are at the core of the third and fourth grade curriculum. With the broad concepts – Advancement and Transition – providing a focus for the study of content, students can explore relationships between ideas and apply information in new ways. Asking their own questions, combined with hands-on, real-world experiences engages students actively in their own learning process. In addition to the integrated skills, sequential skills in reading, writing and math are taught using flexible groups and individual readiness.

Year One – Advancement

Over the course of this year, the goal is to understand how advancements affect the development of a civilization. Content includes the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, Ancient Egypt, the Nubian and Kush empires, Chinese dynasties and Mesoamerican societies in the Andean and Steppe regions. World geography, changing political borders and the sciences of archaeology, astronomy and physics integrate smoothly into these studies and create a natural environment for Seabury's focus on STEAM. As the culminating project, students will create their own cultures and participate in an archeological dig.

Year Two – Transitions

This year the students' inquiry, investigation and discovery dives deep into the broad question of how transitions relate to human history. Evaluation without bias is a focus as they study the American Revolutionary War, Westward Expansion and the Civil War. They will examine how changes in history affected culture and society. Science topics woven through the units include technology, engineering and electricity. A culminating project is a three-minute video using at least three historical events to illustrate the concept of transition.

Each third & fourth grader ...

  • Mentors younger children
  • Will develop a growth mindset
  • Will learn to use library databases for research
  • Builds simple machines
  • Participates in an archeological dig
  • Develops and practices presentation skills
  • Uses the scientific method
  • Writes research papers
  • Uses Word, PowerPoint, Publisher and Prezi
  • Creates illustrated timelines of historical events
  • Builds simple circuits and electrical machines
  • Builds on technology skills, including coding, Word, PowerPoint, Prezi and Publisher
  • Completes research focusing on diversity in the scientific community
  • Recognizes the relative measurements of circles and angles using planetary axis
  • Reads a wide variety of genres
  • Compares and contrasts literary elements
  • Understands how to use the internet safely
  • Learns to read the Periodic Table of the Elements'
  • Understands the power of mindfulness

Learn more in Seabury's Curriculum Guide

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