Middle school students explore biodiversity in the canopy
Experiential Academic Curriculum
Friends School of Wilmington encourages students to be flexible thinkers who can make connections across traditional academic disciplines. For this reason math, science, language arts and social studies curricula are linked to integrated theme units. For instance, in a hypothetical unit on the Cape Fear River, we would take advantage of local resources. In social studies, we might explore the geography, history and current events relating to the Cape Fear River. Science would be integrated into this unit as we study the biology, geology and ecology of the river system. In language arts, students could read works by local authors, as well as novels more generally related to river life. Math students might graph seasonal river flow using USGS data or use topographical maps to determine average gradient.
Field trips and special visitors are critical components of these integrated theme units. We might visit historical sites or host local experts to help us understand the history of the area. We could collect plants and animals from the river and bring them back for study in the classroom. Older students might even participate in an overnight canoe-camping trip to study the flora and fauna of a river ecosystem. Theme units are designed to enhance North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study by making the curriculum as rich, relevant and exciting as possible!