In Alicia’s classroom, students are mastering the Common Core Standards through thematic learning experiences. In this photo, students are on a learning journey under the sea—gaining number sense by finding ways to count and group the fish on the page. In this unit, almost everything students are learning is connected to the oceanic theme (note the artwork on the wall). When students review math facts and concepts about grouping numbers, they not only used word problems based on the ocean, but also incorporated some animal facts. When they practice reading in small groups and receive direct instruction from Alicia, they read about animals that live on the rocky coast. Later students engage in a science experiment to see if they can make an egg float in water by adding salt. The salt water links the lesson to the rest of their learning activities, all connected to the ocean theme. One by one, the groups begin putting teaspoons of salt, then larger scoops, into containers of water. If they dissolve the salt, the density of the water changes and the egg floats. Alicia’s class found it amazing whenever an egg rose from the bottom of a plastic container to the water’s surface, and students in each group exclaim, “It’s floating! It’s floating!” In the next lesson in the sequence, students will try to figure out why that happens. For Alicia’s students, mastering the Common Core Standards is done by allowing students to do what they do best—being curious about the world around them.