The first-grade primary investigations involve our neighborhood pond in the fall, agriculture in our community in the spring, and weather throughout the entire year with an extended focus in winter. In each EIC investigation, students explore natural and social systems to understand that the elements of these systems are interdependent.
Me and My Pond
In this unit, students identify and describe the natural components of a pond environment, including water, plants, and animals. Students recognize patterns, such as life cycles and seasons that occur and reoccur in nature and they explain how natural systems influence one another. During the unit, students measure, collect and track pond life, weather, and water data over time. They also identify the living things in our local pond system and how weather affects the pond components. The unit culminates with an environmental service-learning project based on the interactions of the natural and social system they discovered during the unit and student’s voice. Students make a presentation describing actions that can adversely and positively impact wetland habitats as a way to promote a healthy and thriving pond system.
The focus of this investigation is to explore the weather in our local community– what weather is, how it is created and how it affects our daily lives. Students become familiar with elements of a weather report and how forecasting is helpful in making plans. Students create and use various types of weather monitoring and measuring tools, discuss why forecasts can be inaccurate, and determine what meteorologists do to make accurate predictions. Students are introduced to severe forms of weather, including floods, blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes, and droughts. Students will identify the ways in which the weather impacts local natural systems including the pond, meadow, forests. Students will identify how weather impacts our local social systems such as transportation, school, stores, restaurants, parks. Students explore how the weather is a global occurrence and how conditions in one place can affect conditions in other parts of the world. The unit culminates with an environmental service-learning project based on the interactions of the natural and social system they discovered during the unit and student’s voice.
Adventures in Agriculture
The focus of this investigation is an exploration of agriculture, what agriculture is, and how it affects and is affected by the natural and human social systems that are parts of our daily lives. Students identify and describe the natural and social components of farm systems, including crops, animals, water, pests, structures, and machinery. Through visits to multiple local farms, the student investigates local crops, raw products, and goods derived from each type of farm. As students explore how social systems affect farms, they also learn how farms affect natural systems, and how agriculture can affect different groups in our society. First grade maintains and sustains the organic gardens they built on campus and supply food to our school and the local community. The unit culminates with an environmental service-learning project based on the interactions of the natural and social system they discovered during the unit and student’s voice.