The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Grade 2

The Second Grade classroom is a peaceful and lively oasis of learning!

Thematic Units

Authors Workshop

Habitats and Architecture

Co-Curricular Classes

Second Grade Art

Second Grade Science

Thematic Units

In Second Grade, Thematic units—such as our year-long pond study, connect science, writing, reading, art, music, listening, presentation and observation skills—bring learning activities alive for Second Graders. Children explore their passions through research projects, called Learning Adventures. This engaging activity, which develops literacy, presentation and technology skills, allows our children to share their passions with one another. Each child's research culminates in a Power Point presentation and Q & A session.

Authors Workshop

Our ongoing Authors Workshop explores self-publishing and involves children in the joys of story telling and illustration. As independent reading gets more emphasis, our young students make connections between reading the works of famous authors and reading the published work of their peers.

Habitats and Architecture

Habitats and Architecture are also considered in Second Grade. Our children build and play in shelters in the woods and consider the creative role of math in architecture by planning and building sugarcube structures. Nests are considered as well, when our students study birds. This thematic unit includes wild bird observation, journaling, expressive art, the study of bird life cycles, chick hatching in the classroom, caretaking of fragile creatures, a field trip to a bird sanctuary, and overlaps with our pond study unit, habitat unit, and publishing unit.

Through these units, we discover how all things are connected while expanding skills, stimulating the imagination and having fun! Children are engaged in active learning, and the energy and enthusiasm of the students is immediately apparent.

Co-Curricular Classes

Second Graders participate in co-curricular classes. They have French, art, music, science, computers, library, and P.E.

Second Grade Art

The arts are integrated into the curriculum by the classroom teacher, with enrichment projects through cooperative ventures with the art teacher, such as creating puppets for a pond study unit and art from a given country from a social studies unit. Students meet twice a week with the art teacher. They are given the opportunity to become more proficient with the variety of media available. They work with clay, markers, tempera paint and watercolors, collage, printmaking (using Styrofoam plates and water based inks), colored pencils, and constructions. Students begin looking at the Art History timeline, covering artwork from Prehistoric through Modern times. They create works of art using natural found materials, clay, and construction materials

Second Grade Science

Throughout the elementary science program, our students build an understanding of:

  • How all things are connected
  • How change affects all things
  • How science connects to all we do
  • What it means to “think like a scientist”

Each year topics are revisited in increasing depth, building upon understanding from prior years.

In our quest for scientific understanding, students participate in both independent and collaborative work. They generate reports, projects, journals, presentations and experiments. Learning happens both through demonstration and modeling of science skills and instruments as well as through hands-on experiential learning, reading, open-ended questions and discussions, embracing mistakes as learning opportunities, and appropriate use of technology. Children are encouraged to take intellectual risks and responsibilities. Assessment is through student-generated rubrics, reports, class participation, quizzes and tests.