Our Current Units of Study


Our unit on adding and subtracting fractions has begun. Click here for ways on how to help your child during this unit. Unit 4 Newsletter

Reading and Writing

Our units on argumentative texts has started, as well. In reading, students will be analyzing argumentative texts to see if the reasons and evidence are strong and unbiased. They will be gathering research to hold a debate on a given environmental topic.

In writing, students will be researching to write their own persuasive essays based on strong evidence.


We are doing a brief unit studying the distribution of water on Earth and how the different spheres (geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere) interact. We made models today on how the water on Earth is distributed and how much of it is actually drinkable. Ask your child what they learned and have them explain the models they made.

The Case of the Missing Millionaire

As part of our PYP Unit of Inquiry on investigation, students got the opportunity to pretend to be forensic scientists and use evidence to determine the answer to what could be a murder mystery!

We began by examining the crime scene up on Level 5. Students then collected the evidence and carefully recorded information about each piece they found.

We began setting up a clue board and then went back to the evidence to conduct some crime labs or forensic tests to give us more information.

Yesterday, students conducted 5 different crime labs:

1. Brown Stain test = Students did a simple chromatography test to determine if the stain on a paper towel was from a felt pen or food coloring.

2. Cola test = Students used pH (or litmus) paper to determine if anything had been added to the victim, Felix’s, cola.

3. Fingerprint test = Students examined fingerprints on Alfredo and Felix’s cups.

4. Smell test = Students smelled the colognes/perfumes of four of the suspects to determine which was the one they found on the torn towel at the crime scene.

5. Thread test = Students burned both cotton and wool threads and examined how they burned in order to identify mystery threads found at the crime scene.

Today, students conducted the 5 remaining crime labs:

6. DNA testing = Student examined the DNA of all the suspects and the victim to determine whose hair was in the comb at the crime scene.

7. Ice cube test = Students used the pH paper again to determine if anything had been added to the melted ice cubes found at the crime scene.

8. Secret Note = Students had to piece together a torn up note and then identify the writer based on handwriting samples.

9. Powder study = Students added drops of iodine to 5 different powders to identify the powder found on the shoes of two of the suspects.

10. Tape lift test = Students did a tape lift on all of the suspects’ clothes to find evidence such as grass, human hair, dog hair, wool, and cotton thread. Does the evidence match with what they said they had been doing?

Tomorrow students will be taking part in a mock trial of one of the suspects. We have determined that the most evidence can be found against Kendra. Students will be taking on the role of the judge, suspects, prosecuting attorneys, defending attorneys, and jury. Is Kendra innocent or is she guilty?

Stay tuned…


Shenzhen Museum Fieldtrip

As a final tie-in to our previous Unit of Inquiry, grade 5 students visited the Shenzhen Museum to find evidence of different human-made systems in Shenzhen and how they have changed over time. Students were asked to find photographic evidence of such systems as money and trade, art and architecture, agriculture, religion, and communication. Then students had to work in their groups to evaluate and select the most meaningful photos for each system. Besides being educational, it was just a really fun experience for all!


Shake, Shake, Shake!

Students continued their study of “Soil, Rocks, and Landforms” by conducting an experiment to study the effects of physical weathering. They took samples of granite and conglomerate rock and shook them in jars to model how abrasion can cause the physical weathering of rocks into smaller pieces. We found that the conglomerate rocks broke into many more pieces than the granite!

Soil Observations

4B students began their study of “Soil, Rocks, and Landforms” by observing four different kinds of soil and identifying the materials that make up all kinds of soil. They learned that all soils include gradations of rock sizes in the form of pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, and clay. Students also learned that soil includes humus, which is dead plant and animal matter. After doing dry observations, students placed the soil in vials, added water, and observed how the materials settled.

Windows of the World Fieldtrip

Fourth graders enjoyed beautiful weather as they explored miniature versions of famous landmarks at Windows of the World! From the ruins of ancient Asia to the Pyramids of Egypt and a four story tall version of the Eiffel Tower, students were able to sightsee all over the world! This trip connected to our social studies “Changes” unit in which each student has chosen a country to research and write a book about.



Hour of Code

Students were exposed to a fun and stimulating STEM challenge to finish off our week of coding! They were asked to create a robot to rescue Dr. Cox from evil ninjas. The ESLRs were definitely in view as students used their communication, collaboration, complex thinking, independent learning, and global citizenship skills to design and create their robot within an hour!