Thematic studies are designed for interdisciplinary immersion in an age-appropriate, high-interest topic. Students acquire and employ skills in a wide range of disciplines and have many opportunities to extend and enrich their learning through open-ended exercises.
4-5 students were recently immersed in the thematic study of the westward movement of people in the mid-to-late 1800s. Students learned about the Native Americans who lived out west (and the impact that settler movement had on those communities), about our country’s geography and landmarks, and the ecosystems of the West. Using historical fiction novels, students learned about the culture of the time period and grappled with the real-life questions of the time. “What does it mean to make a new beginning? What are the challenges that people face when leaving the familiar and moving to the unknown?” Geography, history, reading, writing, physical education, art, technology, and physical and social sciences were all incorporated in the experience.