Year 1 Theme:

Environments--local and far-flung, external and internal--are the Intermediates' focus this year. Students delve into the complex characteristics of various ecosystems and the plant and animal life that each region supports. They embark on this process by studying the local environment in detail, cataloguing the plant life of the Arbor woods and other habitats and presenting the work in scientific plant posters and field guides. Experiments in botany predominate in the classroom. Children practice mathematical skills and concepts necessary for measuring directly and indirectly and for drawing to scales larger and smaller than actual size. The scale work also manifests in a variety of maps, as students consider the problem of accurately portraying three-dimensional shapes with pen and paper as they study various world map projections.

The Intermediates then embark on a study of plant life cycles and habitats, focusing on flowering plants and photosynthesis. As cartographers of a different sort, they visually represent the interrelationships of geology, climate, and life forms. Their habitat studies also emphasize collaboration, life drawing, and research skills.

Mid-winter finds the Intermediates discovering more about their own internal systems as they study the human mind and body, creating personal change capsules in the process. From self-evaluative writing and mapping to self-portraiture, from reading biographies to looking at the human imprint on the environment, from investigating how the mind works to devising a model of one of the body systems, the students are engaged in both inquiry and expression. The use of microscopes to investigate structures at the cellular level builds an important skill for further scientific study.

Finally they leave the land behind and immerse themselves in oceanography, exploring the vast richness of marine life and its cycles and predictable patterns. A large-scale collaborative project fuses their understanding of the primary ecological niches in and near the sea with studies of their local Northwest shores and waters.

Plant Experimentation, Botanical Drawing; Ecological Niche, Habitat, Adaptation;
Cycles: Water, Photosynthetic, Food Chain; Measurement, Graphing, Coordinate Grids, Scale;
Ecosytems, Biomes, Climatic Regions; The Human Body; Scientific Classification of the Biological World;
Oceanography, Observational Writing, Biography

Year 2 Theme:
Inventions and
This year the Intermediates consider the ways in which people's ideas about the world have changed. We examine both conceptual and technical discoveries, from the invention of writing to the first printing press, from the Odyssey to the Arthurian legends, from the first use of the zero to the development of algebra, from the discovery of the principle of the arch to the innovation of the flying buttress. Student-drawn maps chronicle the currents of major intellectual developments as they spread through the Western world. Throughout the year we return to the study of astronomy, seeing the world as the ancients saw it, following Galileo in his courageous attempt to disseminate a new understanding of the solar system, and pointing our own telescopes to the night sky. As the Intermediates use ancient number systems during math and even write, set type, print, and bind a collaborative book, together they imagine themselves through a vast sweep of recorded history.


The Ancient Western World: Sumer, Egypt, Greece, Rome

Early Developments in Writing, Counting Systems, Building Principles, and Astronomy; Mythology and Epic Poetry; Ancient Architecture; Density, Mass, and Volume

The Middle Ages and Europe

The Rise of Islam; The Three Estates of Medieval Society; Arthurian Legends and Historical Fiction; Tesselations and Stained Glass; Simple Machines and Fundamental Mechanical Principles

The Renaissance in Europe

Brahe, Copernicus, Galileo; The Mathematics of Science; The Printing Press; Portraiture; Optics; Mapping; Biography