Fourth Grade

Fourth Graders Take a Look at Space

Last spring, fourth grade teachers decided to take their students to Huntsville to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center after completing a unit on space in science class. The students studied the rotation and revolution of Earth, solar and lunar eclipses, phases of the moon, and the sun and planets.

“Since the students enjoyed this science unit so much, we thought this field trip would be a great way to end the year by letting them see space in a brand new, real way,” says teacher Elizabeth Orr.

The 60 students and their chaperones took a day trip to Huntsville on May 16. While at the space center, the students were able to explore the Saturn V Hall of the Davidson Center of Space Exploration, the Rocket Center and Shuttle Park, and the IMAX theater. Outside in the park, the students were also given the opportunity to ride on the Space Shot and the G-Force Accelerator rides.

After eating lunch at the park, the students ended the day with an IMAX® movie about Earth in the U.S. Space & Rocket Center’s 67-foot Spacedome Theater.

Annual Medieval Feast Day a Success for Fourth Graders

For several years, USJ fourth graders have engaged in a unit on medieval studies that culminates with an elaborate feast day. This year’s event, held on March 17, was no different. Costumed students paraded through the halls and into the festooned cafetorium. They were then announced by their royal names and presented to Queen Lisa Cates before taking their place at the feast tables to enjoy their meal.

“Students look forward to this event all year,” says fourth grade teacher Elizabeth Orr. “As third graders, they are able to watch the parade and the opening ceremonies, but right before the feast begins, the third graders are ‘banished’ back to their classrooms. Seeing just a small part of the feast whets their curiosity for the next year, when they will enjoy all the festivities of the feast.”

The students began preparing for this experience about a month before the feast, when they engaged in a novel study of Castle in the Attic, a book about a boy who travels back into medieval times. During this unit, students learned about what life was like during the medieval era by completing various projects and activities on topics such as knighthood, castles, weaponry, food, dress, social class, and more.

The week of the feast, each fourth grade class created a cake to look like a castle. The students designed and decorated the cakes themselves, crafting their own medieval masterpieces to display at the feast. Parent volunteers came together to serve the students and made the day a memorable one for their children.

“I've been on both sides of the feast,” says Mrs. Orr. “As a fourth grade parent years ago, I helped decorate the gym at the old campus, and then a few years later in the cafetorium here at our present-day campus, I dressed as a peasant and helped serve at the feast. Now as a fourth grade teacher, I love being on the other side. The greatest blessing is just seeing the students enthusiastically live out what they have learned in the classroom.”

Castle Cakes

This slideshow contains pictures of the fourth grade students making castle cakes!

Learning How to Use a Microscope

This slideshow contains pictures of the honors biology students helping the fourth graders learn how to use a microscope in the Upper School lab.