a cornerstone of pcs curriculum

The Integrated Unit

The trimester-long Integrated Studies Unit is a cornerstone of PCS curriculum. Students and facilitators spend each trimester engaged incollaborative, project-based, inquiry-driven learning that emerges from shared interests, encourages critical and creative thinking, and promotes positive changein the community.Students across all grade levels embark on a shared unit of study focused around a broad theme drawn from the fields of Science, Social Studies, Current Events and/or History. Guided by our place-based approach,inquiry is grounded in the context of Long Island’s East End. Each Integrated Unit culminates in a community-wideCelebration of Learning: a much-anticipated opportunity for students to share and showcase their project workwith their peers, schoolmates, family and friends. Recent units include: Civics: Communities and Citizens in Action; Native New Yorkers; Astronomy; Humans and Technology; and Long Island’s Maritime History.

The Integrated Unit is rooted in our practice of project-based learning.Students work together over many weeks on multi-phased projects that incorporate new academic concepts and skills to solve a problem, answer a complex question or address a community need.The unit integrates elements of science, social studies, history, literacy, math and the arts in real world problem-solving scenarios: mathematicians may convert raw data to percentages to track voting and census trends; scientists may build neuron models with nuclei, dendrites and axons to demonstrate the anatomy of neuroplasticity; and writers may hone their powers of persuasion with letters urging a building moratorium to protect otter habitats.

Working together as a school on a shared topic provides opportunities formulti-age connection and collaboration— the kids love to see the different approaches to a single topic emerging on campus! Sharing an overarching topic like Astronomy lets usexplore the full scope and breadth of a topic as a school(from the beginning of time and the Big Bang through to the creation of the ISS), while theclasses’ more specified concentrations allow smaller groups of students to pursue lines of inquiry that are most relevant and compelling to them(one group of engineers devoted their Astronomy unit researching and testing lunar and plantetary rover designs alongside the launch of the Mars Perseverance).

While the faculty meet to choose the overarching theme of each trimester’s Integrated Unit,the specific direction of learning in each class emerges from the inquiries and interests of students as they interact with the materials. A common practice at the start of the unit is for facilitators to ask students what they already know about a topic, what they wonder, and what they would like to learn.

Field study is an important component of the Integrated Unit; classes often travel throughout Long Island and into NYC toconsult with experts in the field of study,进行真实的原始研究,access primary documents. PCS has built valuable partnerships with community groups, local government agencies, civic organizations, science foundations and arts associations, including Group for the East End, Sylvester Manor, the Watermill Center, Peconic Baykeepers, and the Suffolk County Historical Society, and we regularly collaborate with the community to amplify learning.