How We Organize Ourselves

How We Organize Ourselves Central Idea:  

Resources influence systems of exchange. 

Lines of Inquiry: 

Students will inquire into: 

~Exchanges of goods and services
~Interdependence between economies
~Factors that shape economies 

Key Concepts: 

Function, Connection 

Related Concepts: 

Interdependence, Decision-Making, Investment and return  

Learner profile: 

Thinker, Principled, Reflective 

Key Vocabulary: 

economy, resources (natural, human, capital), goods and services, product, supply and demand, trade, specialization, value/valuable, abundance vs. scarcity, competition, entrepreneur, consumer, manufacture/manufacturer, industry, factory, savings, wages/salary, interest, investment, loan, account, finance, negotiate, bargain, cash vs. credit, incentive, inflation vs. deflation Overview: 

In this next Unit of Inquiry, students will build upon what they learned in second grade (an investigation into how goods and services help to supply society’s needs and wants) to focus on a more comprehensive study of economics. This will include a look into what factors shape our economies, the interdependence of economies, and how societal decision-making influences economies. Students will learn about these topics by investigating the logistics of what goes into running a business, namely a restaurant. They will need to learn about the different resources that are necessary for producing a product, the specialization of jobs necessary for running a restaurant, and how to manage the costs (investment and return) of a restaurant. Learner profile traits that we will be focusing on for this unit include being a thinker, being principled, and being reflective. 

Literacy Integration: 

We are continuing to develop our essay writing skills, this time with a focus on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Students are strengthening their research skills and practicing what they learned in the previous unit about essay structure. 

Our next area of reading and writing will focus on poetry. Students will be responsible for learning about types of poetry (rhyming, free verse, concrete, acrostic, etc.) and poetic techniques (simile and metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, imagery, etc.) This will be a unit that focuses heavily on figurative language and craft. At the end of the unit, students will produce a book of poetry which features both their own poetry and analyses of favorite poems of their choice. Grade 4 may also host a ‘poetry slam’ at the end of the unit to allow students an opportunity to perform some of their poems.  

Students will also be learning about the difference between prose and poetry and continue their reading studies by reading both poetry and prose (in the form of chapter books) at home and at school. It is very important that students continue to read a variety of books at their “just-right” reading level on a weekly basis.     


An inquiry into geometry will be the focus in the beginning of our third mathematics unit. It introduces points, lines, line segments, rays, and angles, as well as the relationships between them – parallel, perpendicular, intersecting. Students will use their new knowledge and understanding to classify triangles and quadrilaterals, and to solve real world problems. Students will identify acute, obtuse, right angles, as well as construct and measure angles, and create equations to find the measure of unknown angles. Math practices will focus on using appropriate tools, such as protractors, and being precise with mathematical vocabulary, measurements, and calculations. At the same time, students will continue to extend multiplicative reasoning. They will continue to develop fluency with flexible strategies and representing solutions using visual models. Games and activities will practice applying an understanding of factors and multiples, prime and composite. Multiplication and division problem solving will be the main focus at the end of the unit in January. 

Key words and vocabulary will include:

  • Parallel 
  • Perpendicular 
  • Line of symmetry 
  • Acute, right, obtuse, and straight angles 
  • Scalene, isosceles, and equilateral triangles 
  • Congruent 
  • Protractor 
  • Vertex (or vertices) 
  • Adjacent 
  • Point 
  • Ray 
  • Line 
  • Line segment 
  • Angles 
  • Quadrilateral 
  • Polygon 
  • Intersect (intersecting lines) 
  • Estimate: an approximation of the value of a number or quantity) 


In order to practice the skills needed for this Unit of Inquiry, students should be reading a variety of genres at home, especially poetry. It is important that students who need more support with their English read more than the daily 20 minutes currently required for homework. Ideally, students will be reading 30-40 minutes a day and keeping track of any new vocabulary they may find in a notebook or on their iPad. In addition, if your child was assigned a Raz Kids account earlier in the year, they should also be logging on at least three times a week for 15-20 minutes a day (enough time to complete a task for a book).  

Please encourage your child’s learning by discussing the content from this Unit of Inquiry using your home language, especially if it that is the language that both of you are most comfortable with.  

In order to familiarize themselves with the vocabulary for this unit, students should use Quizlet ( for a few minutes each day.  

How you can help at home: 

  • If you own a restaurant, or have any experience working in or running one, we would love to have you come and have you be part of a lesson as part of our “panel of experts”!  
  • If you go out to eat, notice the features of a restaurant: What jobs are the employees doing? What costs and expenses does the restaurant have?  
  • Make a list of stores and businesses around Shekou where a restaurant might shop from and get supplies from.  
  • If you own your own business or have any experience in running a business (especially a restaurant), talk to your child in kid-friendly language about what your day-to-day responsibilities might be.  
  • Allow your child to handle money: This can include helping with shopping, making purchasing decisions with their own money, calculating costs, and checking to see if they have received the correct change after shopping.  

How you can help with math: 

  • Continue to review basic math facts up to 100 (e.g. 3×4= 12). Aim for 3 seconds. 
  • Review the geometry math vocabulary in your home language  
  • Go on a Geometry Word Hunt: have your child practice with the vocabulary for this unit by having him/her identify objects with parallel, perpendicular, or intersecting lines inside or outside the home. Do the same for acute, right, obtuse, and straight angles and scalene, equilateral, and isosceles triangles.