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Second and Third Grades

The structure of second and third grades at Free Union differs from many other schools. We combine our students in mixed age classes for homeroom, science, and social studies, while they remain with their grade level for language arts and math instruction. This arrangement provides many benefits. Most notably, the older children have opportunities to become mentors to the younger students, inspiring teamwork and cooperation rather than competition in the classroom. Children begin to see themselves as members of the school community, rather than just members of one grade. Teachers, over the course of two years, develop a deep understanding of each child’s strengths and needs. Children in third grade are given greater responsibility in the classroom, both academically and socially, to prepare them for their next exciting Free Union adventure – fourth and fifth grades.

Our second and third graders visit Ellis Island to learn about immigration, and travel by wagon train across the Great Plains to learn about Westward Expansion, through incredible simulations that inspire active engagement in subject matter, creativity, and are loads of fun! This hands-on approach to learning stretches across all subjects. In science students invent simple machines to accomplish tasks, in language arts our buddy program gives second and third graders the weekly opportunity to read to preschool children, and in math our third graders design a city during their study of geometry. Students are challenged to become problem solvers each and every day.

Immigration Simulation

  • Awaiting transport to Ellis Island
  • Cramped ferry ride to Ellis Island
  • Ferries backed up off Ellis Island -- more waiting
  • First stop in America
  • Checking passports
  • After waiting forever on line
  • Medical screening
  • Good nurse, bad nurse
  • Endless paperwork, in English
  • Uncertainty and trepidation
  • Serious group shot
  • Welcome to America
  • Welcome to America!

Studying Ancient Egypt

  • Students filling out Egyptian food menus
  • Egyptians carrying goods to market
  • Eyes decorated for medicinal as well as beautification purposes
  • Students dine on nine native Middle Eastern dishes
  • Students loved the fig and date delicacies
  • Preparing the mummification of a dignitary
  • Egyptian symbols and deities