In the fall, our primary theme is insects. A natural area of interest for children, our students share and examine insects they find at home, in the woods on our school campus, or in the nearby creek. Our science teacher, Mr. Newberger, introduces this unit, and we reinforce the concepts of adaptation, respect for nature, and our inter-connectedness. Ant farms, a butterfly chrysalis, and praying mantis egg case formations may be observed. The children draw and write about their observations. Books about insects are read to the class, while others are read independently. Each student chooses a particular insect on which he/she writes a report. Students visit the Insectarium to see closeup live and mounted exotic and local insects.
In January Mr. Newberger introduces our study of dinosaurs in science class. His movies and hands-on activities infuse this six-to-eight week unit with life and enthusiasm. We carry that charge into our classrooms through a variety of activities. Central to the unit is a child's investigative report on a dinosaur of his or her choice. Reading from a variety of books, both individually and as a class, students find information that enables them to write a report about their particular dinosaur. This information sparks their imagination to write creative stories involving dinosaurs as well as to invent their own dinosaurs. Other projects that contribute to their understanding of dinosaurs in general and the time and world in which they lived include dioramas, scale drawings, dino poetry, computer-generated pictures, graphs, computer animated slide shows and clay models. The children write questions to try to stump Mr. McCarthy, our GA dinosaur expert from the Middle School. Our study is highlighted by our field trip to the Academy of Natural Sciences, where we visit Dinosaur Hall.
Spring is the natural time to study the various adaptations these native people made to their natural environment. After an introduction to native people in general, each student picks a tribe he or she would like to know more about in detail. The students read from a variety of books, individually and as a class, to find information about their tribes. This information includes such things as clothing, food, location, and ceremonies. Each student writes a report about their tribe-of-choice. Our exploration of Native American legends inspires us to write our own legends in the style and spirit of the native peoples. We also make many crafts, such as weavings, sand paintings, pouches, and totem poles, to enhance our understanding of the topic. Our field trips to the Elwood Brunt Lenape Museum and Peace Valley further enhance our appreciation for the Native American culture.
This web site is maintained by the second grade teachers of Germantown Academy, Barbara Cipolloni, Nancy Jones, and Paul Savering. Site design and technical assistance furnished by Carol Siwinski, Curricular Technology Specialist.
Updated May, 2008