Beginning New Units of Study at Parker

Parker teachers put careful thought into their unit plans. Units tend to stretch over many weeks, building in complexity as they go. While teachers have a “road map” about way the work will unfold, student interest and engagement is a big part of the process. Teachers at Parker have the luxury of taking student feedback and interest into account, and often use this as a driving force to gain momentum at the start of the unit. Once a topic has been established, teachers employ many techniques to generate student interest and enhance learning. Discussion, hands-on projects, interdisciplinary work, and other creative outlets are front and center.
We are back in full swing following winter break and teachers have started or are continuing complex and thoughtful interdisciplinary units.  Topics vary by class and age, but the outcome is always the same – engaged and interested students who are motivated to learn.
The 5th grade mathematicians have started a new unit on two-dimensional geometry. They started off learning about different types of symmetry using classroom math materials, and then set out to explore the halls of Parker for items that display types of symmetry.
Eighth graders in earth science are studying patterns in weather data by comparing historic trends in temperature, pressure, and precipitation to current data.  Here they are plotting out temperatures comparing recent information to data from 1894 on a jumbo-sized graph to get a good look at the trends.
The K-1s are beginning their next big unit of study: fairytales. During this literacy unit they will listen to many versions of familiar fairytales and compare and contrast the various stories. Children will learn about story settings, plot, character development and how a story is constructed. They will visualize aspects of plot and character by building puppets and scenes, as well as writing their own fairytales. Here the class is having a discussion to explore the elements of a fairytale and decide how the story of Cinderella includes those elements.
The new unit in 7th grade math, Moving Straight Ahead: Linear Relationships, builds upon the two previous units about variables, patterns, ratios, and proportions. Students will examine the relationship between independent variables and begin writing equations for lines. They took advantage of Thursday’s sunny and mild (albeit, slushy!) weather to measure their average walking pace outdoors.