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Curriculum Highlights

Read about our monarch butterfly project, interdisciplinary Chicago unit, and annual science fair

Innovation and creativity abound in the Chicago City Day School curriculum. Our teachers develop projects and units of inquiry that delight students while pushing them to think in new ways. Here are some examples of the incredible learning that happens at City Day


CCDS Monarch Butterfly project

Curriculum Highlights

Butterfly Project

The magical transformation of caterpillar into butterfly is the centerpiece of City Day's unique monarch butterfly project. Students in grades 1 through 4 maintain their own monarch butterfly habitats in their classrooms, where they observe a monarch's lifecycle from the caterpillar stage to full-grown butterfly. Students then tag the insects' wings in the hopes of tracking their migratory patterns, potentially as far away as Mexico!

The students' work with live butterflies is supplemented by visits to the Butterfly Haven at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, the creation of a "garden" of butterfly paintings outside the art room, and research into the dangers facing monarch populations around the world. 

Created by two City Day teachers and utilizing the outdoor spaces of our unique campus, the monarch butterfly project is a vivid example of the passion and creativity that live within our curriculum. 

City Day third-graders perform a play about Chicago

Curriculum Highlights

Chicago Unit

Third-graders at City Day take a deep dive into the history and culture of Chicago. They study the city's past, its people, its tragedies, and its triumphs. This yearlong inquiry stretches across academic disciplines, incorporating social studies, language arts, technology, drama, and visual art. 

Highlights include a visit to the Chicago Fire Department's Survive Alive house, in-depth research of famous Chicagoans buried at Graceland Cemetery, study and observation of Chicago architecture, and the students' production of Stars in Chicago, a play about the Chicago flag.

By the end of the year, our third-grade students understand the roles that people, natural environments, art, and civic institutions play in the history of the city we call home.

CCDS Science Fair

Curriculum Highlights

Science Fair

Our annual Science Fair gives students a chance to develop a science project from start to finish in a noncompetitive environment. Students in senior kindergarten through sixth grade choose a topic to research and then create an experiment around it, following the scientific method. The students present their findings to fellow students, teachers, and parents.

As they work on their Science Fair projects, students hone research skills and develop a keen understanding of the scientific principals governing the world. Presenting their findings helps students refine their public speaking abilities. The Science Fair has become a highlight of the year for the entire City Day community.