Arbor Thematic Curriculum - Volume 0

Curriculum introducing studies of environmental niches, habitats, ecosystems, biomes, the human body, and oceanography to fourth and fifth graders at the Arbor School of Arts & Science. 


  1. Unit 1: Campus Niche

  2. Unit 2: Oregon Habitats

  3. Unit 3: Human Body

  4. Unit 4: World Biomes

  5. Unit 5: Oceanography

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Chapters and Contents

Unit 1: Campus Niche

  • What is a niche (or microclime)?
  • How can you tell one niche from another?
  • How do different types of plants reproduce?
  • What special features allow particular animals or plants to thrive in different spaces?
  • What are the challenges of mapping a 3-dimensional world on a 2-dimensional page?

Unit 2: Oregon Habitats

  • What is a habitat?
  • What unique features distinguish each habitat?
  • What are adaptations?
  • How do creatures adapt to their particular habitats?
  • How do plants adapt to their particular habitats?
  • What are the relationships between and importance of producers, consumers, and decomposers?
  • What is a food chain?
  • What is the importance of plants?

Unit 3: Human Body

  • How do different people think differently?
  • How do our bodies process nutrients, air, blood, information, and waste?
  • How does each system in the body interact with others?
  • What are the mechanisms that allow one particular body system to function?
  • How does the human eye work?
  • How is the human body similar to and different from creatures you have studied before?
  • How does the brain use different parts for different tasks?

Unit 4: World Biomes

  • What is a biome?
  • How does a biome differ from a niche and a habitat?
  • What creates bands of biomes around the globe?
  • How do wind currents shape global climate?
  • How does the axis of the earth affect global climate
  • How and why do animal and plant adaptations develop over time?
  • How are humans impacting the environment?
  • How are people and cultures shaped by the biomes in which they reside?
  • What is a map projection?
  • What are the challenges of mapping a three-dimensional globe in two dimensions?

Unit 5: Oceanography

  • What guides the classification of ocean invertebrates into phyla and class?
  • How can we piece together the parts of a totally new system into a comprehensible whole?
  • What is the generating power behind tides?
  • How do tidal zones reflect niches?
  • What systems have ocean invertebrates developed for digestion, defense, reproduction, and respiration?