Science and Social Studies

Science and Social Studies instruction is organized into units, which are organized into overarching big themes to allow for meaningful, real-world applications.  Examples of big themes are “Time and Space” or “Constancy and Change”.  Each unit also has a catchy title such as “May the Force be with You” or “The Dirt on New Jersey” to generate student interest.  From there, teachers determine the essential understandings: “What must a child know and demonstrate knowledge of by the end of this unit?”  These essential understandings help to determine how the student will be assessed.  There is a heavy emphasis on real-world application as opposed to paper and pencil tests.  The understandings are presented to students in the form of questions.  This inquiry-based approach, promotes a hands-on, minds-on atmosphere in the classroom.

Activities require students to utilize a combination of social studies, science, language arts, and mathematics knowledge.  Teachers ask higher-order thinking questions and students are engaged in the three top tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  There is a high level of trust and respect as students participate in cooperative learning groups.  Teachers allow for some student choice to accommodate for different learning styles and multiple intelligences.  Technology is a key component to each unit.  As we prepare students for the 21st century, appropriate utilization of technology is vital for success.

Grading in Science and Social Studies

The following breakdown is utilized to calculate student’s grade in Science and Social Studies:

Summative Assessments

(major assessments such as tests and projects)


Formative Assessment

(quizzes & class work)


In 5th Grade Only- Homework is counted as a Formative assessment grade. A score of 100 is entered at the start of the marking period and 5 points are deducted for any partially complete or late assignments.