Myth Busters (The Truth About Snakes) (Science): Second graders become herpetologists as they dispel myths and research the truth about snakes. After examining their attitudes about snakes, students research the essential attributes of snakes, their habitats, their life cycles, and how they use their senses to adapt to their environment. Students take care of a live corn snake in their classroom and conduct fieldwork at a local wildlife sanctuary and at the Harvard Herpetology Museum. They identify the characteristics of a quality field journal and record their observations through writing and drawing. They write a persuasive letter about why people shouldn’t be afraid of snakes, create lyrics and movements to a song, “I Love Being a Snake,” and write a class book, “The Truth About Snakes,” which they donate to a wildlife sanctuary or zoo.
On the Move (2): Second graders learn to look, listen, question, and think like scientists as they investigate how and why things move. Investigation teams design and conduct experiments to explore force, friction, and three types of motion—rolling, spinning, and vibrating. During a case study on the bicycle, students learn about the simple machines that make a bike work and about bike repair and safety. As part of a piano case study, students investigate the anatomy of a piano and how its parts work together to create musical sounds. They visit a piano technician’s workshop and compose, notate, and perform original piano compositions.
Traveling Trails (Social Studies): Our perspective frames our lives! This expedition is a study of historical accuracy and perspective and how it impacts individuals and cultural groups. Students experience Boston’s three historical trails—the Freedom Trail, the Black Heritage Trail, and the Women’s Heritage Trail. They then look deeper to develop cultural sensitivity and examine whose stories are being told and whose stories are left out. In a culminating project, students create their own Second Grade Heritage Trail, representing themselves as individuals and as a group. Concurrently, a Jazz Trail takes students on a music journey, introducing them to this distinctively American musical genre that celebrates our nation’s democratic possibilities.