primary unit

Mapping Philadelphia

As part of their neighborhood study, Primary D children are learning how to read and create maps. We read Mapping Penny’s World, a beautifully illustrated introduction to mapmaking, and the children were challenged to draw a map of their own bedroom. They made sure that their map had a title, symbols, and labels, and some of our young cartographers even included a map key and a compass rose. This activity was a good first step towards our next mapping activity, creating neighborhood maps. We will locate everyone’s neighborhood on our giant Philadelphia map. We look forward to finding out more about each other’s neighborhood and are sure we will notice many similarities and differences.

How Does a Parachute Work?

Primary Unit launched their science study of Air & Weather.  It's been exciting to connect this study to our all-school theme work, and the Schuylkill Center has been a perfect place for some of our hands-on experiences.  Check out these Primary Unit students exploring wind and air resistance with the parachutes they built!

Name That Bird

First and second graders in Primary D had another amazing visit to The John Heinz Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday. It is a unique experience to observe bird behavior when the weather conditions change, so the light drizzle we had was perfect. The birds were active, vocal and plentiful! Some of our sightings this week included egrets, great blue herons, black catbirds, Baltimore orioles and red winged black birds.  We walked along the wooded trail and listened carefully to a variety of calls and songs. We enjoyed a nice lunch at the pavilion, played a quiz game called, “Name That Bird (a Primary D original).”

Adding Tinicum to our bird study this year created a wonderful opportunity for the Primary Unit to observe a wide variety of birds. We hope that you get a chance to visit the refuge and enjoy some great bird watching!  

Dance Exchange Residency

On May 12 and 13, the TPS music department hosted choreographers from the Washington, DC-based Dance Exchange to facilitate movement classes for our students. The principal focus was the Junior Unit, whose students are preparing their Olympics Opening Ceremonies scheduled for later in the month. Each class collaborated with choreographers Matthew Cumbie and Shula Strassfeld to create dances inspired by Hades, Nike, and Apollo. Accompanying music will be played by the students on the day of the Ceremonies.

Matthew and Shula also worked with a number of Primary Unit classes on dances inspired by their study of birds. See the video below for a taste of the bird dance! The Dance Exchange residency was made possible by the Barry-Abrams Performance Enhancement Fund.