The emphasis of the 3rd-5th grade curriculum is educating the whole child. While offering an excellent academic program, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School also emphasizes the arts, music and drama, physical education, technology, and Catholic formation.
At this age, teachers move toward cooperative learning activities including group projects where students work together to solve problems and apply new concepts.
Our intermediary program provides our students opportunities to shine in a safe and nurturing environment.
The transition from the Lower School campus to the Upper School campus is smooth thanks to the collaboration between our 2nd grade and 3rd grade teams beginning almost a year in advance. As our 3rd graders enter the Upper School campus, they are matched with 8th grade students who commit to being prayer partners and mentors to our newest arrivals.
In Social Studies, students learn about communities, history, geography, government, and economics. Physical science is the center of third-grade science study. Weekly trips to the Science Lab afford students opportunities for hands-on experiential learning. In Math classes, students receive explicit instruction in concepts and skills. Varied approaches to problem-solving help students develop a deeper understanding of concepts. Concepts and skills are introduced in a concrete setting, proceed through pictorial representations and finally to the abstract application of these concepts and skills. Activities are related to students’ life experiences, to help them recognize and apply mathematics to their world. Students practice automaticity with basic math facts on a daily basis. Language arts provides integration of direct instruction in vocabulary, comprehension, phonics, and grammar with a variety of reading and writing activities. Students gain access to complex text, collaborate with peers, and become accomplished at writing to sources.
Highlights: Prayer partners with eighth grade, STEM fair Solar Oven project, a field trip to Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, "Multiplying for Pizza" our self-paced math incentive program, Accelerated Reader, and service projects.
Fourth-grade students are more comfortable in the Upper School at this point, and the focus turns toward exploration and becoming the best version of yourself. Project Based Learning begins very early in the year, enabling students to be successful, grow, and collaboratively share their knowledge. The second semester focuses on Genius Hour Activities, allowing the students to research topics they are passionate about and presenting a final product, as well as, a trip to Enterprise City where students combine every skill they learned this year to run a town for a day.
Highlights: Bison Project,
The fifth-grade year is the bridge to middle school at St. Thomas Aquinas. Students travel in their homeroom groups to classes and experience their first overnight spiritual retreat. The theme of collaboration and cross-curricular studies define fifth-grade with the highlight being the STEM fair water conservation project. Students begin to develop their presentation skills through performances in Drama, Social Studies and Literature.
Highlights: Unicef/Wonder project, Poetry Cafe, Perot Museum Overnight Trip.