Fourth graders apply the skills they learned in previous years to make bigger connections to the world around them. As a foundation for their middle school history classes, the fourth grade social studies curriculum centers on early humans and ancient civilizations in Sumer, Egypt, India, and China. The year begins with a unit on archaeology and early man to help students understand how the past helps shape the present. Fourth grade reading is literature-based, allowing students to further develop their reading skills while connecting texts to themselves, other texts, and the world around them. As writers, they refine their understanding of grammar and build their vocabulary to create more detailed, precise, and rounded writing in a variety of genres. The math curriculum builds on prior concepts: solving problems using the four basic operations, multiple digit numbers, and fractions. Fourth graders apply quantitative reasoning and computational skills to solve challenging, open-ended problems. In Spanish, the curriculum builds vocabulary and cultural understanding around the theme of school and home. In science, students study machines – from the human body to robots, their study focuses on how these systems function. Likewise, in physical education, students learn new games and continue to practice familiar activities while considering themselves as individual players and parts of a whole team. In music, fourth graders study the American-born musical style, jazz, with attention to history and development, form, artists, and improvisation culminating in the spring jazz program.