William & Mary Curriculum OverviewBuild Present Understanding by Analyzing the PastThe William & Mary social studies units emphasize concept development, critical thinking, and primary source analysis within the context of high level content and reflect the focus of national standards in social studies on historical thinking and research and on the integration of major concepts across disciplines.William & Mary social studies units provide:
- Advanced content through the use of primary source documents
- Strategies that build critical thinking, conceptual thinking, and content learning skills
- Ways to analyze events and situations from a variety of viewpoints
Use Problem-Based Learning to Build Scientific Inquiry and Reasoning Skills
The William and Mary science curriculum features ambiguous, problem-based learning scenarios. As active investigators, students must take on the role of scientists to solve problems through scientific inquiry. Advanced, in-depth content and connection to an overarching concept, such as systems, are also emphasized.
William & Mary science units provide:
1st / 2nd GRADE -- (alternating years)
- Understand the concept of systems or change
- Apply the basic principles of experimental design and investigation
- Develop reasoning skills with real-world applications to science
ANCIENT CHINA: The Middle Kingdom (1st and 2nd grade alternating years)
• This unit is designed around the idea that human civilizations develop and sustain themselves as a collection of interdependent systems. Systems of language, leadership, economics, and education are examined in the historical context of ancient China, with opportunities for students to compare this ancient society with their own community systems. It can be taught in conjunction with the Ancient Egypt unit, or as a separate curriculum focus.
ANCIENT EGYPT: Gift of the Nile (1st and 2nd grade alternating years)
• This unit is designed around the idea that human civilizations develop and sustain themselves as a collection of interdependent systems. The civilization of ancient Egypt forms the central content of the unit, with exploration of systems of agriculture, economics, language, and leadership in this ancient culture. The unit also provides opportunities for students to broaden their understanding by comparing the ancient Egyptian civilization with aspects of their own lives and communities.SCIENCE -
What a Find!
What an appropriate title for an exploration of the field of archaeology! Students are put in the role of junior archaeologists at a research museum and discover that construction work has been halted on a new school because historic artifacts were discovered. To determine whether or not the dig is important enough to halt building the school entirely, students learn to excavate and actually conduct the dig -- carefully seeded with “historic artifacts.”
Where’s the Beach?
Plans for building a children’s camp at the beach are on hold because the town council is worried about beach erosion. Since the camp received a large donation to develop nature-themed experiences, designed to teach children how to protect the environment, the camp manager wants to cooperate with the council. The problem is that she must begin construction quickly to be ready for the summer season. Acting as members of the town council, the students must develop scientifically-based regulations that will satisfy the long-term needs of the town and the plans for the new camp.3rd / 4th GRADES -- (alternating years)ANCIENT GREECE (3rd grade)• This unit is designed around the idea that human civilizations develop and sustain themselves as a collection of interdependent systems. The civilization of ancient Greece forms the central content of the unit, with exploration of systems of agriculture, economics, language, and leadership in this ancient culture. The unit also provides opportunities for students to broaden their understanding by comparing the ancient civilization with aspects of their own lives and communities.SCIENCE - Electric City
Electricity City provides a creative and interdisciplinary approach to introducing fourth through sixth grade students to electricity. In this simulated activity, a large recreational complex is being built in the middle of a city, and the students’ role is to plan the site’s electrical needs, as well as create additional backup plans. This “real world” problem requires students to analyze the situation, determine what type of research is needed, conduct experiments, and evaluate solutions.TEXAS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS PROJECT (4th grade)• Students participate and develop an Independent Research Model aligned with TEA (Texas Performance Standards Project). The fourth grade TPSP includes five performance tasks that teachers can use with students. The tasks, designed to generate excitement for learning, are open-ended, authentic, and student-centered. Each task consists of learning experiences that help students build their research skills and knowledge of the subject. Student projects are assessed in the areas of product, research process, and communication.5th / 6th GRADES -- (alternating years)A HOUSE DIVIDED - THE CIVIL WAR: Its Causes and Effects (5th grade)
• The concept of cause and effect serves as a central organizing theme of this unit, which explores the events and perspectives leading to the American Civil War and the chronology and context of the war itself. Using Primary source documents as a major resource, students investigate the social, political, and economic influences that were significant in this period of history. In addition, the unit focuses on particular individuals and groups and their contributions and responses to the events of the times.SCIENCE - SOMETHING FISHY
This unit poses an ill-structured problem that will lead students into an interdisciplinary study about several individual systems and their interactions. The content of the unit focuses on the various systems involved in the pollution of a local body of water: the aquatic ecosystem, chemical reaction systems, government systems, and economic systems. Students are challenged to grapple with real world concerns and develop recommendations through simulation activities based on the scientific process.THE 1920S IN AMERICA: A Decade of Tensions (6th grade)
• Centered on a variety of primary sources including music and advertisements as well as more traditional documents, this unit provides insight into not only the events, but also the values, lifestyles, and experiences of the period of the 1920s. Students explore the concept of cause and effect and how it relates to the events of the time, gaining a deeper level of appreciation and understanding as they look at the ways different aspects of the era interact with and influence one another.
THE 1930S IN AMERICA: Facing Depression (6th grade)
• This unit explores Depression-era America from the perspective of many different groups of people, utilizing a variety of primary sources to illustrate events and the social-political context. The concept of cause and effect is employed to support student understanding of the complexity of history. The unit emphasizes the interplay of changes in geography, government, and the economy, as well as the influence of particular individuals and groups, to deepen student understanding of the period.SCIENCE - NO QUICK FIX
No Quick Fix
No Quick Fix uses systems as the fundamental concept to help students understand cell and tuberculosis biology. In a series of widening concentric circles, students learn that the cells are elements in larger systems, such as the immune system and the even larger system of the human body. Students also interact with the human social systems: health care and public education. Students take on the role of physician and begin to search for the cause and resolution of the problem. While unraveling the interactions among various systems, students can appreciate the complexities of staying healthy in the modern world.