We study and create maps of our community, state, and country that show not only geographic features, but also how those geographic features and resources influence the movements of people. We also look at cultural and political maps, comparing how these look in different situations.
We study our local history, learning about the different groups of people who have come to Basalt and why, and how they have influenced our community. We compare past and present Basalt, taking a field trip to historical locations in town, and comparing how they used to look in old photos with how they look today.
We learn about resources, goods, and services. We learn how resources may be scarce, and how such scarcity affects the behavior of people. We investigate solutions to scarcity. The students also learn how to set economic goals, and they use their piggy banks to save money for things they may want in the future. In this unit, we often investigate the resources we use for energy, such as coal, gas, sun, wind, and water. We learn where these resources come from, how people use these resources, and what people can do when these resources become scarce or expensive. We also investigate what it takes to set up our own lemonade stand, and then do it! Fun!
Students develop the government of our classroom, determining how to set rules and consequences, how responsibility of individual members affects the overall classroom environment, and how individuals can make decisions in the classroom. We then take what we have learned about our classroom and apply it to the larger community, looking at responsible community members, and how people participate in their community in meaningful ways. Students learn about power, how it is used well, and what can be done when power is not used well. This allows us to explore bullying and gives the students the power to stand up for what is right, to influence situations positively, and to react effectively to bullies.