At APU International Elementary School, we use a play-based curriculum as a foundation for developing highly creative and analytical achievers. We focus on cultivating the imagination through sensory learning.
APU encourages students to develop according to their individual aptitudes and interests. We encourage many kinds of learning styles and tailor lessons to the unique personality of each student. We encourage individuality and assist students in developing self-confidence necessary for success in the 21st century.
We ensure a safe and nurturing environment for all students. Supportive teachers and positive settings lay strong foundations for lifelong learning and self-confidence
We invite you to explore the subjects below by grade.
First-grade students will extend their knowledge of mathematics as they learn to add and subtract within 20, develop an understanding of whole numbers and place value within 100, measure and order objects by length, interpret data (with up to three categories), and work with shapes to compose new shapes and partition shapes to create “equal shares” (decompose shapes).
In first grade, some of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for reading literature emphasize verbal interaction between student and teacher in order to develop the student’s comprehension of literature. Students use key details when talking or writing about a story or book and emphasize their use to describe characters, settings, and major events. The new CCSS continue this development of structural awareness but go further by asking students to demonstrate an understanding of a central message or lesson.
Students also learn to differentiate between types of text: those that provide information and those that appeal to the senses and suggest feelings. The CCSS also set the new expectation that students will be able to compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of story characters. This early introduction to literary analysis provides a strong foundation in critical thinking that students will develop throughout their academic careers.
Students learn about the values of fair play and good sportsmanship and respect for the rights and opinions of others. They build on their understanding of respect for rules by which we all must live. Students can discuss the class rules and understand how they developed. They can also consider questions: Who is responsible for enforcing the rules? What are the consequences if these rules are broken? In first grade, teachers can divide the class into two groups: one to create rules and one to evaluate the fairness of the rules. What criteria can students use to determine what makes a rule fair or unfair? Emphasis should be placed on having the students solve the social problems and decision-making dilemmas that naturally arise in the classroom; for example, such situations may include problems in sharing scarce supplies, bullying students perceived as different, or in deciding how best to proceed on a group project when a dilemma arises. In using this approach, students will learn that problems are a normal and recurring feature of social life. They will also learn that they have the capacity to examine and solve problems.
Students in first grade learn about the properties of solids, liquids, and gases and use words and drawings to record their observations about various objects. They deepen their understanding of the needs and structures of plants and animals. First-grade students also continue their study of weather, observing, measuring, and recording weather conditions regularly to learn more about day-to-day and seasonal changes. They use simple tools and technology, with adult assistance provided as necessary.
First-graders respond to who, what, when, where, and how questions. They expand their vocabulary by learning appropriate grade-level scientific terms (such as freezing, melting, heating, dissolving, and evaporating). They participate in classroom discussions to share ideas and evidence and learn to reevaluate their thinking when presented with new evidence. They make new observations when discrepancies exist between two descriptions of the same object or phenomenon. Science learning is facilitated by hands-on activities and games that include explicit teaching of scientific concepts and vocabulary.
Science topics in first grade are organized into four sets of standards: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Investigation and Experimentation. As students learn the content defined by the standards in the Life, Earth, and Physical Sciences strands, they are also practicing investigation and experimentation skills. That is, the investigation and experimentation standards should be infused throughout science instruction.
Students in second grade extend their knowledge and understanding of place value (within 1,000), build fluency in addition and subtraction (within 100), and use simple concepts of multiplication and division. They also measure the length of objects by using appropriate tools and identify shapes and their attributes.
In second grade, fluency, comprehension, and analysis are the focus of reading instruction. Students apply their basic knowledge of the basic features of reading to achieve fluency in oral and silent reading. Students ask and answer clarifying questions about text, use the features of text to locate information in expository text, and consider the author’s purpose as they analyze informational text.
Students develop a beginning sense of history through the study of the family, a topic that is understandable and interesting to them. They are introduced to primary sources related to family history, including photographs, family trees, artifacts, and oral histories.
Students learn to describe the absolute and relative locations of people, places and environments. They learn to locate specific locations and geographic features. Students learn about governmental institutions and practices in the U.S. and other countries. Students will also develop economic literacy and appreciation for the many people who work to supply commonly used products. In second grade, students will be introduced to the many people—ordinary and extraordinary—who have contributed to society and made a difference.
In second grade, scientific investigation focuses on the students’ questioning, observation, and communication skills. Students need time to examine different ideas, ask questions, observe patterns, make predictions, use simple equipment and tools, and discuss what they see with others. They develop skills in making careful, replicable, and validated observations and have multiple opportunities to communicate their findings in writing, through pictures, and orally.
Third grade students deepen their understanding of place value and their skill with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers. Students develop an understanding of fractions as numbers, concepts of area and perimeter of plane figures, and attributes of various shapes.
Third grade is often considered a pivotal year as instruction in phonics is phased out of the formal curriculum. In third grade, increased emphasis is placed on vocabulary acquisition, comprehension strategies, text analysis, language conventions, and writing. Students in third grade learn to use context as an independent vocabulary strategy. They learn to refer to information in the text when asking and answering questions about texts they have read. They apply analysis strategies to determine the theme or central message of text. They learn about subject and verb agreement and verb tenses and use that knowledge to write and speak in correct, complete sentences.
Third grade students continue preparing to become active and responsible citizens of their communities and the U.S. Students focus on developing and understanding citizenship, civic engagement, the basic structure of government, and the lives of famous national and local Americans who took risks to secure freedoms. Students also learn about American heroes on the national level, such as Anne Hutchinson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
During third grade, students further develop the important skills of making careful, replicable, and validated observations; recognizing patterns; categorizing; developing questions and answers; and communicating findings both in writing and orally. They conduct research, read about new topics, and learn more about the important role of technology in the sciences.
Students in third grade further develop their understandings of the structure of matter and forces of interaction. They study the properties of light and learn how light affects the perception of direction, shadow, and color. They also extend their knowledge of ecology by learning about different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands and the types of organisms adapted to live in each. They learn that objects in the sky move in regular and predictable patterns.
Third grade students practice making careful measurements and learn that some errors in measurement are unavoidable. They will discover that errors may occur through carelessness, misuse of measurement instruments, or recording mistakes. They also learn that errors may occur as a result of limitations in the precision of the instruments used to make the measurements.
In fourth grade, students find all factor pairs for numbers in the range 1 – 100. They determine whether a given whole number is a multiple of a one-digit number or is a prime number. These factoring skills are important as fourth grade students generate equivalent fractions.
Students in fourth grade will become more proficient with fractions in order to be successful in later grades, especially in algebra. Students will continue to recognize and generate equivalent fractions and write fractions represented by a drawing. Students will also compare fractions with different numerators and different denominators.
Students in fourth grade read a wide range of literature in different genres and reflecting different cultures and times. They study the structural elements of poems, prose, and drama and learn to summarize text in a concise manner. As they analyze informational text, students consider its overall structure and organization, the differences between first- and secondhand accounts, and how the author uses evidence to support points in the text. There is more focus on academic language and domain-specific vocabulary, which supports reading and listening comprehension, writing, and speaking.
In their writing, students in fourth grade learn to create organizational structures that support their purpose; write longer, detailed informational/explanatory texts with headings, illustrations, definitions and quotations; and write narratives that orient the reader to the situation and unfold in a natural sequence of events. They also learn conventions of standard English grammar and usage, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling to support their writing and speaking. These conventions include the use of prepositional phrases and progressive verb tenses, recognition and correction of fragments and run-ons, and appropriate use of commas and quotation marks to indicate direct speech.
By the fourth grade, students’ geographic skills have advanced to the point where they can use maps to identify latitude and longitude, the poles and hemispheres, and plot locations using coordinates. Students finish their studies in the fourth grade with a review of the structures, functions, and powers of different levels of government.
During the fourth grade, students learn to formulate and justify predictions based on cause-and-effect relationships, differentiate observation from inference, and conduct multiple trials to test their predictions. In collecting data during investigative activities, they learn to follow a written set of instructions and continue to build their skills in expressing measurements in metric system units. Students develop their own questions, conduct scientific investigations, and communicate their findings in writing.
Students in fifth grade apply their understanding of fractions and fraction models to represent the addition and subtraction of fractions with unlike denominators. They develop an understanding of the multiplication of fractions and, in limited cases, the division of fractions. They also develop fluency in multiplying and dividing decimals to hundredths and finalize fluency using the four operations with whole numbers. They find the volume of right rectangular prisms and classify two-dimensional figures into categories based on their properties. Students graph points on a coordinate plane to solve real-world problems and interpret the coordinate value of points in the context of the situation.
Students in fifth grade read a wide range of materials, including literature from different times and cultures and informational text on grade-level topics in all subject areas. The emphasis in fifth grade is on reading comprehension of complex narrative and informational texts. Students read two or more texts on a topic and use a variety of comprehension strategies to compare, contrast, and integrate information from the texts. They analyze how structure, point of view, visual elements, and figurative language contribute to the meaning or tone of texts. As their text analysis skills deepen, students are able to determine the main themes or points of text, understand how the author’s evidence and reasons support the theme or argument of the text, and draw inferences or conclusions supported by details from the text.
In fifth grade, students learn about the inhabitants of North America and how they organized varied economies and systems of government. Students will consider the importance of trading networks as a means of disseminating goods, and the value of information such as technology, agricultural practices, and religious beliefs. Students also concentrate on the expeditions of the early explorers and learn about the explorers’ European origins, motives, and journeys and the enduring historical significance of their voyages to the Americas. In their study of the early explorers, students trace and learn the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled, and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe. Students also study about the American Revolution, the development and significance of the U.S. Constitution and the nation’s westward expansion.
During fifth grade, students learn to develop testable questions and plan their own investigations, selecting appropriate tools to make quantitative observations. Students in grade five deepen their understanding of the hydrologic cycle, the process by which water moves between the land and the oceans. They also study the solar system and learn that it contains asteroids, comets, the Sun, planets, and moons. They learn the composition of the Sun and the relationship between gravity and planetary orbits.