The TCIS Grade 3 class is currently learning in their unit titled "How the World Works." It is a comprehensive unit of study covering humanities, language and literacy, mathematics, arts, and science.
One particularly exciting part of the unit, is one month of daily explorations in 'states of matter.' It is a fun study whereby students learn about various states of matter and go through hands-on experiments involving combinations and changes in states of matter. Multiple substances, measuring, creating, cooling, heating, mixing, following processes – a variety of experiences keep children wondering AND GUESSING.
As parents, that is what we appreciate the most about how this unit is taught. The learning process is more than saying, "do what I do – isn't that fun?" In the TCIS Grade 3 process, there is a constant emphasis on students discussing what they see – "What do you see happening," "Why do you think it is happening." "What do you think will happen next," and "Record what you see!"
Students make guesses, using appropriate vocabulary, about what they think will happen. They take photos and video, record their guesses and observations, and write about how it went – "Is it what you expected or not, and why?"
We love it when students are asked to discuss what went wrong. During those times when things don't go according to plan, it isn't a shameful thing. Self value isn't dependent on correctness, but the focus is on the process and observations. This is real learning – in both the scientific process and in learning resilience – and the learning is always progressive. Learning through mistakes and incorrect guesses (here in a supportive environment) is so powerful.
It is another part of the TCIS focus on STEM & Arts learning in K-12 and another example of intentionally building character that prepares students for the future.