Third Grade Environment as an Integrating Context (EIC) Units

The third-grade curriculum revolves around the EIC curricular framework. Two main project-based units use the local environment and community as an integrating context for learning. These hands-on, integrated community investigations engage us in real-world explorations of natural and social systems. Third graders study our local watersheds, cycles, government systems that provide for the common good of a community as well as environmental agencies and laws that provide protection and conservation of land and living things.

Lehigh Valley Watershed
In the Lehigh Valley Watershed unit, students investigate how the Lehigh Valley watershed has been used in the past and present, including its role in local settlement patterns. Students explore the impact humans have had on watersheds and the necessity for clean water for the health of all living things. Students visit different types of water features and investigate the characteristics of each and how each is a system that supports natural and social systems. During this unit, students partner with the PA Fish and Boat Commission to raise Brook trout in the classroom, from egg to fingerlings and release in the Little Lehigh River in the spring. Students conduct water audits in their homes, school, and interview local businesses on water consumption. Students culminate this unit with activism proposals related to water protection and conservation.

Systems Preserving Systems
In this unit, students begin by investigating the documents that formed our government to determine the beliefs and qualities of the Founding Fathers of our nation. Students develop an understanding of the three branches of government and how each was designed to work as a system to secure the common good and provide services for its people. Students explore how nature has goods, such as land and water, and investigate the agencies within our local, state and federal governments that were designed to protect and conserve these. Then, students look at the change in agricultural technology & community development in Emmaus and its effect on local natural systems, specifically land use. The local community is continuing to grow, which is affecting the natural environment around it. Students have an opportunity to look at land preservation and the local laws that enable the development of land. Students will have an opportunity to solve real problems and develop solutions while identifying the local government’s role in making local zoning laws that impact land use.