During the month of February, our second-grade students learn about our nation's ugly history of slavery and segregation. For the annual Black History Museum, they do their own research and write their own autobiographies as they portray brave and remarkable people who have made a difference in our world.

Cross-Curricular Learning

Each grade at St. Raphael School has an average of three Signature Units—topics that are covered in-depth and cross-curriculum—each of which typically culminates with a field trip or an in-school presentation. These units spice up our traditional foundation of learning—which is language rich, math heavy, and includes a hands-on science approach.

Expand Content

Apples and Pumpkins

  • Unravel the mysteries of seed to harvest through stories , poems, music and artwork
  • Use measurement, weight, counting and estimation to determine size and amount
  • Take trip to the pumpkin patch—a thrill for all!


  • Identify and name different community workers, and understand the importance of these jobs in making our community function smoothly.
  • Develop empathy and appreciation for the contributions of others.
  • Explore potential career interests through exposure to diverse occupations.

Tiny Homes & Amazing Journeys: Exploring Habitats and Life Cycles

  • Identify and describe different types of habitats (ponds, creekd and farms)
  • Observe living things in their habitats, and learn the basic concept of a life cycle. 
  • Learn about animal adaptations, and how to practice safe and responsible exploration and observation of nature.
Expand Content
First Grade

Animal Habitats

  • Explore animal habitats
  • Make animal habitat dioramas
  • Create paper mache animals in art class
  • Take trip to the National Zoo

Folktales, Fables and Fairy Tales

  • Use puppets to bring dragons, knights, frogs and princesses to life
  • Learn about themes, styles and components; write creative fairy tales
  • Take trip to the Glen Echo Puppet Theater

Life on the Farm

  • Compare city life with life on the farm
  • Hatch chicks in the Science Lab (click here for slide show)
  • Observe and record information during incubation period
  • Assist and care for chicks
Expand Content
Second Grade

Writer’s Workshop

  • Develop dictionary, research, and proofreading skills
  • Strengthen creative writing

Black History Month

  • Appreciate equality and social justice
  • Research influential African Americans
  • Create the St. Raphael School Living Black History Museum
  • Visit the Smithsonian and attend a production at Discovery Theater

Habitats of Sea Life

  • Analyze the differences between salt water and fresh water; study ocean food webs and how fish are unique
  • Use recycled plastic bottles to create classroom aquarium
  • Visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore
Expand Content
Third Grade

Money Unit

  • Goods and services
  • Employment
  • Politicians featured on bank notes

Think Green

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Think globally, act locally, collect and enlighten within the school
  • Celebrate America Recycles Day and Earth Day

Super Saints

  • Research, write and share reports on the lives of saints
  • Examine individual life through reflection and meditation
  • Take a trip to the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg

Arts Tea

  • Re-create and exhibit art by historically significant artists
  • Formally present to attendees (parents and special guests) original poems about their artwork
Expand Content
Fourth Grade

Nobles, Knights and Serfs

  • Construct a three-dimensional view of a feudal manor
  • Design a coat of arms
  • Create costumes of the day
  • Host a medieval feast

Regions and Resources

  • Compare and contrast the geography of each region of the United States
  • Investigate how a region’s resources shape its industry
  • Survey art, music and literature of each region
  • Visit the oyster cannery at the Baltimore Museum of Industry

Our Maryland

  • Design brochures for the regions of Maryland
  • Develop a topographical map of our state
  • Research historical figures who influenced the development of our state
  • Tour Annapolis

Spanish Culture Experience

  • Dine out at local Hispanic restaurant while practicing Spanish conversation with servers and peers
Expand Content
Fifth Grade

Ecosystems of the Chesapeake Bay 

  • Learn about Ecosystems and the impact humans have on the environment
  • Read and research about Invasive Species and how they affect the environment 
  • Experience Meredith Creek and the Chesapeake Bay using a fully equipped research vessel and flatwater canoes 
  • Conduct biological sampling, identify marine and plant species, evaluate water quality, and dredge for oysters 
  • Conduct water quality testing and use seining nets to examine marine specials 
  • Students gain a greater understanding of the Chesapeake ecosystem, including the human impact on the health of the Bay 

Solar System & Earth 

  • Learn how the position of the Earth changes day and night, the seasons, and the appearance of the night sky 
  • In Language Arts, read fiction and non-fiction stories that focus on stars and the solar system 
  • Conduct experiments and make models to understand the solar system and its components 

Historical Perspectives 

  • Do an in-depth study of the American Revolution 
  • Read and analyze the causes, events, people, battles, and results of the American Revolution 
  • In Language Arts, read a historical fiction novel about the American Revolution 
  • Visit Mount Vernon and experience life during the colonial times, as well as the home of our first president, George Washington 

Expand Content
Sixth Grade

Study of the Bible

  • Learn about the Hebrew people
  • Study the New Testament
  • Visit the Bible Museum in Washington, D.C.

Poetry Unit

  • Cultivate a passion for poetry by exploring different types of poems and studying their literary elements
  • Culminate with the SRS Coffee House, where students recite for an audience famous works from memory

Down on the Farm

  • Take overnight visit to Hard Bargain Farm in Accokeek
  • Investigate the watershed and record observed data
  • Identify and participate in daily farm chores
Expand Content
Seventh Grade

Study of the New Testament

  • Infancy narratives and synoptic Gospels 
  • Learn about the Hebrew people
  • Learn about the virtues

Earth Science

  • Learn about rocks and their formation
  • Study maps and globes
  • Visit Luray Caverns

Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages

  • Explore the rise and fall of the Roman Empire
  • Study the Muslim civilization
  • Visit the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
Expand Content
Eighth Grade

Celebration of Our Catholic Life

  • School retreat—an examination of our life as a child of God
  • Confirmation—affirming our faith
  • Confirmation retreat
  • Reflection upon our spiritual, social, and intellectual growth

Celebration of Our School Life

  • Class trip—an overnight visit to Busch Gardens
  • Graduation dinner—a celebration with school and families of our achievements
  • Graduation—a celebration of our past and future

Celebration of Service to Our Community

  • Commitment to serve
  • Cultivation of the desire to “Change the World”
  • Visits to Raphael House
  • The writing of monthly notes to parishioners

Note: The Signature Units above do not represent all of the curricula for the grades listed, but they do give an idea of some of the exciting areas of study each class will be exploring. Visit our Academics page for more information.