Program of Inquiry

Who we are

An inquiry into the nature of self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Where we are in place and time

An inquiry into orientation in place and time; personal histories; homes and journeys; the discoveries, explorations and migrations of humankind; the relationships between and the inter-connectedness of individuals and civilizations, from local and global perspectives.

How we express ourselves

An inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas,feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation of the aesthetic.

How the world works

An inquiry into the natural world and its laws; the interaction between the natural world (physical and biological) and human societies; how humans use their understanding of scientific principles; the impact of scientific and technological advances on society and on the environment.

How we organize ourselves

An inquiry into the inter-connectedness of human made systems and communities; the structure and function of organizations; societal decision making; economic activities and their impact on humankind and the environment.

Sharing the planet

An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things; communities and the relationship within and between them; access to equal opportunities; peace and conflict resolution.

Kinder
Ages 5 - 6

Central Idea:
Being knowledgeable about each other and our school helps us to be caring.

An inquiry into:
How we are the same and different, how our actions and words make others feel, and our responsibilities inside our community

Key Concepts: Connection, function, responsibility

Related concepts: Community

Central Idea:
Certain people are honored over time for their responsible actions.

An inquiry into:
Characteristics of a hero, how we can make good choices to imitate heros, and how people over time fulfill their responsibilities as global citizens

Key Concepts:
Cause, reflection

Related Concepts: 
Values, decision-making

Central idea: 
Artists use patterns to express themselves.

An inquiry into:
The exploration of different fabrics and their properties, how we use patterns in our daily lives, and artistic expression through patterns

Key Concepts: 
Function, form, connection

Related Concepts: Patterns, culture

Central Idea:
Through observation scientists make connections and see changes between living things.

An inquiry into:
Characteristics of a tree, why and how trees change throughout the seasons, and connections between trees and human beings

Key Concepts:
Form, change, connection

Related concepts: 
Seasons

Central Idea:
People serve their community through their work.

An inquiry into:
Types of job responsibilities, ways people serve their community, and how the jobs we do affect the community

Key Concepts: 
Responsibility, connection, function

Related concepts:
Community, service

Central Idea:
Survival relies on a balanced relationship between living things.

An inquiry into:
Animal characteristics and cycles, what animals need to survive, what the community can do to protect animals and their homes/habitat

Key Concepts: 
Responsibility, function, causation

Related concepts: 
Habitats, survival

First Grade
Ages 6 - 7

Central Idea:
Making well balanced decisions will allow us to have healthy lives.

An inquiry into:
Healthy habits, well balanced choices, conflict resolution

Key Concepts:
Reflection, responsibility, causation

Related concepts:
Physical, mental and social health

Central Idea:
Families are influenced by their past, but continue to change.

An inquiry into:
Our family history, how families are different or similar over time, ways we can find out about our ancestors’ history

Key Concepts:
Change, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
History, chronology, family

Central Idea:
Culture is a reflection of people's’ beliefs and values.

An inquiry into:
What is culture, how culture is expressed, cultural values and traditions

Key Concepts:
Form, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
Identity, traditions

Central Idea:
The Earth provides materials that help meet human needs.

An inquiry into:
Earth materials, how earth materials are used by humans, the engineering design process

Key Concepts:
Function, form, connection

Related concepts:
Shelter, geology

Central Idea:
Collaboration helps reach goals that benefit a community.

An inquiry into:
Roles and values of a community, responsibilities and rights in a community, individual and group decision making

Key Concepts:
Responsibility, connection, reflection

Related concepts:
Decision-making, collaboration

Central Idea:
Animals survive in a forest according to their survival skills, adaption to change and protection of their habitats.

An inquiry into:
Survival skills, how animals adapt to change, the protection of animal habitats in a forest

Key Concepts:
Change, function, form

Related concepts:
Inter-dependence, survival

Second Grade
Ages 7 - 8

Central Idea:
Making friends and the ability to cooperate affect the well-being of the individual and the community

An inquiry into:
Characteristics of a healthy friendship, ways to work well in a group, cause and effect of decision making

Key Concepts:
Reflection, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
Cooperation, friendship

Central Idea:
Humans orient themselves through the use of maps.

An inquiry into:
The functions of different maps, parts of a map, changes in orientation technology over time

Key Concepts:
Function, form, change

Related concepts:
Geography, measurement

Central Idea:
Engineers and scientists structure their inquiries through systems to understand and better the world.

An inquiry into:
The scientific method, the engineering design process, the many ways objects move

Key Concepts:
Form, causation, reflection

Related concepts:
Structure, system, inquiry

Central Idea:
The biology of plants sustains the life of humans and other living things.

An inquiry into:
How plants grow and propagate, inter-dependence of living things. comparing and contrasting physical characteristics of plants

Key Concepts:
Function, connection, form

Related concepts:
Plants, biology

Central Idea:
The economic choices that we make as individuals impact us and others and the environment.

An inquiry into:
Wants and needs, how our choices affect others and our environment, people value goods and services differently based on their perspective

Key Concepts:
Responsibility, perspective, causation

Related concepts:
Sustainability, scarcity, consumption

Central Idea:
People and societies adapt to the weather and climate where they live.

An inquiry into:
Causes weather and climate, human adaptation to weather and climate, positive and negative effects of weather

Key Concepts:
Causation, connection, change

Related concepts:
Adaptation, climate change, weather

Third Grade
Ages 8 - 9

Central Idea:
Folklore reflects cultural beliefs and values.

An inquiry into:
Types of folklore – fairy tales, fables, myths, legends, how folklore connects across cultures, how cultural beliefs and values are reflected in folklore

Key Concepts:
Connection, perspective, reflection

Related concepts:
Interpretation, the creative process

Central Idea:
Civilizations change over time and contribute to the development of the modern world.

An inquiry into:
How civilizations change over time, inventions of the ancient world, connections between ancient & modern civilizations

Key Concepts:
Change, connection, reflection

Related concepts:
Chronology, civilizations, innovation

Central Idea:
People use various forms of technology to communicate their ideas.

An inquiry into:
What is technology, means of communication, how technology is used to improve communication

Key Concepts:
Form, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
Communication, technology

Central Idea:
The solar system has various components that interconnect with life on Earth.

An inquiry into:
The components of the solar system, movement of the solar system and how it affects life on Earth, human perspectives and stories about the solar system

Key Concepts: 
Form, causation, perspective

Related concepts:
Geography, seasons, space

Central Idea:
Communities are structured to meet the needs of its members.

An inquiry into:
The characteristics and structure of a community, how the needs of the members of a community are or are not met, how communities around the world are connected to one another

Key Concepts:
Function, responsibility, connection

Related concepts:
Citizenship, rights, roles

Central Idea:
Organisms have structures and characteristics that allow them to grow, survive and adapt to their surroundings.

An inquiry into:
Characteristics of organisms, effects of humans on other organisms, how organisms adapt to their habitat

Key Concepts:
Form, change, causation

Related concepts:
Adaptation, habitat, heredity

Fourth Grade
Ages 9 - 10

Central Idea:
Regions of a country form their identity through their culture and geography.

An inquiry into:
Similarities and differences between regions, cultural characteristics of regions, mapping skills

Key Concepts:
Form, function, causation

Related concepts:
Geography, culture, identity

Central Idea:
Personal stories and historical events help teach us about the present and the past.

An inquiry into:
The process of historical inquiry, chronology of historical, events and people, personal histories of people from the past.

Key Concepts: 
Connection, form, cause

Related concepts:
History, chronology

Central Idea:
Art is a form of communication that allows us to transmit and express ideas, feelings and concepts.

An inquiry into:
Visual and performing arts, cultural perspectives in art, self reflection through the writing process

Key Concepts: 
Perspective, reflection, form

Related concepts:
Genres, communication, self expression

Central Idea:
Exploring scientific principles helps us understand how the world works.

An inquiry into:
Scientific principles of electricity, scientific principles of magnetism, ways technology affects systems

Key Concepts: 
Function, causation, form

Related concepts:
Magnetism, electricity

Central Idea:
People and organizations make informed economic decisions after identifying goals and evaluating opportunities.

An inquiry into:
The decision making process, steps in starting a business, global interaction and trade of buyers and sellers

Key Concepts: 
Function, connection, form

Related concepts:
Decision making, commerce

Central Idea:
Water is a natural resource that needs to be conserved.

An inquiry into:
The various forms that water takes, the distribution and usage of water around the world, our responsibility in conserving water

Key Concepts: 
Form, change, responsibility

Related concepts:
Conservation, stewardship

Fifth Grade
Ages 10 - 11

Central Idea:
Democratic government depends on the participation of its citizens in order to protect human rights.

An inquiry into:
Characteristics of a democracy, functions of a democracy, responsibilities of civic participation

Key Concepts: 
Form, function, responsibility

Related concepts:
Human rights, civic participation, democracy

Central Idea:
The reasons people explore and conquer may be different, but both contribute to cultural and political change.

An inquiry into:
Cultural and political life before and after a conquest, possible motives between exploration and conquest, intercultural perspectives

Key Concepts: 
Change, cause, perspective

Related concepts:
Exploration, settlement

Central Idea:
Self-expression is a way of understanding yourself as well as connecting with others.

An inquiry into:
How visual arts connect to the written word, different forms of expression self reflection

Key Concepts: 
Connection, form, reflection

Related concepts:
Voice, live performance

Central Idea:
Curiosity inspires people to look for answers.

An inquiry into:
Scientific questioning, the elements of the scientific method, scientific analysis

Key Concepts:
Reflection, function, cause

Related concepts:
Variables, equilibrium, curiosity

Central Idea:
A leader that unites people can create change that affects how a society functions.

An inquiry into:
The elements that connect revolutions, the vision of a revolution and the fight for change, the perspective of different groups impacted by a revolution.

Key Concepts: 
Causation, change, perspective

Related concepts:
Leadership, revolution

Central Idea:
Human interactions with the environment can benefit and harm natural resources

An inquiry into:
Structure of animal and plant survival, the formation of the earth, creative problem solving

Key Concepts: 
Responsibility, causation, perspective

Related concepts:
Problem solving, erosion

Sixth Grade
Ages 11 - 12

Central Idea:
Leaders affect their community with their courageous decisions

An inquiry into:
The character of a leader, cause and effects of decision making, the responsibility of authority

Key Concepts: 
Reflection, change, responsibility

Related concepts:
Community, leadership

Central Idea:
Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities.

An inquiry into:
The reasons why people migrate, migration throughout history, effects of migration on communities, cultures and individuals

Key Concepts: 
Change, cause, perspective

Related concepts:
Migration

EXHIBITION

Central Idea:
With creativity and knowledge, we can collaborate to solve problems.

An inquiry into:
The role collaboration plays in the engineering design process, creative problem solving, elements as the building blocks that make up everything around us

Key Concepts: 
Function, form, reflection

Related concepts:
Innovation, collaboration

Central Idea:
Society makes decisions in an organized way for the good or bad of it's members.

An inquiry into:
Formation of laws, consequences of decision making, problem solving

Key Concepts: 
Causation, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
Decision making, government, freedom

Central Idea:
The distribution of wealth can cause conflict and injustice.

An inquiry into:
Economic and other causes of conflict, connecting common elements of war, different perspectives within historical conflict

Key Concepts: 
Causation, connection, perspective

Related concepts:
Conflict, justice, distribution