July 18, 2023
BASIS Curriculum Schools have always associated their classes with elements from the periodic table. At BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Lower, we have thoughtfully organized our grade bands into distinct elemental characteristics to provide a structured and inclusive educational experience for each student that creates a sense of belonging and pride. Our chosen elements include transition metals, the lightest elements, alkaline earth metals, alkali metals, expensive transition metals, and radioactive elements created in California. Each grade level has unique characteristics, and we assign them diverse and meaningful names to reflect their individuality.
Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Starting with our youngest students, Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten are represented by the transition metals on the periodic table. These four sections include zinc (Zn) for Transitional Kindergarten, with copper (Cu), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni) representing Kindergarten. Transition metals are also great conductors of heat and electricity. TK and K represent an academic time where students can absorb a vast amount of information while simultaneously learning how to be BASIS Independent students.
Kindergarten Cobalt (KCo) heading back to class after lunch with their Early Learning Teacher, Ms. Ocampo
The lightest gasses on the periodic table represent Grade 1: hydrogen (H), helium (He), and neon (Ne). Two elements are members of the noble gas family, which represent elements that function independently. However, with the advances in modern science, we now know that is not the case. While hydrogen is not a noble gas like helium or neon, it represents a compound that quickly pairs with carbon compounds that make up all life on Earth. Even though all three of these elements are not a member of the same family, they represent two essential characteristics to students within Grade 1; making social connections while simultaneously practicing independence.
Grade 1 Hydrogen (1H) starting their new book Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary in their Humanities class
Grade 2 consists of alkaline earth metals, including calcium (Ca), radium (Ra), and barium (Ba). These three elements all have the characteristic of being basic rather than acidic. Metaphorically, this basic quality represents the solidification of academic foundations, which is very characteristic of Grade 2 within our program.
Grade 2 Calcium (2Ca) performing River Child at their Spring Musical Performance
Our Grade 3 goes by potassium (K), lithium (Li), and sodium (Na), also known as alkali metals. These types of metals are all known for their ability to react with water forming alkalis that neutralize acids. Grade 3 is a time of combining academic and social knowledge to gain more independence as a learner.
Grade 3 Lithium (3Li) enjoying their Mindful Mandala Drawing exercise in their Connections class
Grade 4 consists of the “precious” transition metals; platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh). These three metals are also known as platinum group metals because they share similar characteristics and are considered rare. Grade 4 embodies a rich academic foundation ready for the second most amount of independence within our school. These students get many opportunities to let their academic and social skills shine. This is the last year they will have a Learning Expert Teacher (LET) to guide them, and they gradually become ready to take on a self-reliant scholarly role.
Grade 4 Palladium (4Pd) showing off their Bobcat pride in their matching sweatshirts
Lastly, Grade 5 consists of the radioactive elements created in California, including berkelium (Bk), californium (Cf), and lawrencium (Lr). These three elements fall within the transuranic element group, also known as man-made elements. Grade 5 features the shortest time of complete academic independence within our lower school campus, much like the short life of most radioactive elements. These three elements were also created within our state, giving our BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Lower students a connection to the state of their education.
Grade 5 Californium (5Cf) engaging in group work on their laptops
Element assignment per class is used within all of the BASIS Independent Schools. However, the specific elements we selected represent our campus to show what we cherish within our BE A LINK value system. Our Bobcats have truly embraced the connection between academia and self-identity, creating a remarkable synergy that fuels their growth and success. They have come to understand that their unique talents, passions, and experiences are not separate from their academic pursuits, but rather integral elements that shape their learning journey here at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley Lower.