Rockets, Rights and Riots – Oh my!

Our 5th and 6th graders are traveling across time, layers in the atmosphere and the country!Fifth and sixth graders literally launched into their first expedition this year – rockets!  To prepare for their first case study on physics, students researched the Space Race and the solar system, from gravity to observable patterns of the moon phases, to build background knowledge.  They also explored Newton’s Laws of Motion through examining different rockets and developing paper rockets of their own, even testing control variable to improve flight distance!  This brought them to investigating precision and accuracy with rocket racers to further develop their understanding of physics and the scientific method.  As they entered Trimester 2 in December, students applied all they learned to design their own balloon-powered cars using a NASA-recommended engineering and design process and demonstrated their cars in their Celebration of Learning before break.

Now in the New Year, our 5th and 6th graders will transition to a social studies expedition focusing on civil rights.  They will start with investigating the African American Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1965 to scrutinize different primary and secondary sources for evidence about Emmitt Till’s murder, Freedom Songs, and The Children’s march.  Their Overnight will be a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to interview the Foot Soldiers of the Children’s March and see historically significant sites first-hand.  America is full of social movements so students will also explore other groups who have fought for civil rights.  They will interview prominent leaders of the Puerto Rican Civil Rights movement in Humboldt Park and study the Division Street Riots in 1966.  They will examine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from post-WWII to provide a global perspective on human rights which they will apply to their everyday lives.  Using their knowledge from these studies, students will write poems with two voices and biographies of the leaders they interviewed along the way, some of which will be posted online soon!