Global temperatures continue to be affected by the combustion of fossil fuels and the subsequent release of carbon dioxide. This 3-week unit is designed to give 9th grade physical science or environmental science student an introduction to climate change, how humans are influencing it, and what efforts we can make to help limit or prevent it. Topics necessary for this unit include electricity, circuits, greenhouse gases, alternative energies, embodied energy, payback period, and life cycle assessments. This unit functions as a culminating project incorporating all of the topics listed above and challenges students to conduct research, engineer their own alternative energy solutions and prove their efficiency through calculation. Individually or in pairs students must pick an alternative energy, spend a day or more researching it, a day drawing a blueprint for it and creating a materials list, two or three days building model “power plants” to light 3 LEDs, and two to three days writing summary research papers. The quantitative analysis of their models (included in their research papers) and student’s ability to prove their models environmental superiority over fossil fuels will be weighted heavily.
This unit introduces instructional moves for how teachers can use their classroom libraries for deep critical thinking on issues of race, racism, and inequality. This unit uses a middle school level novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Taylor, 1976), but the content objectives, teaching strategies, and activities are applicable to any novel study. Building upon how classroom libraries function as resources for thought provoking literature and discussions from the 2019 Yale Teachers Institute Seminar Teaching about Race and Racism Across the Disciplines, this unit primarily explores the historical context of the novel primarily using the language of music to analyze characters. Students will develop interpretations about how these conditions influenced characters’ traits, roles, or conflicts and construct a central thesis on a character of their choice. It incorporates pedagogical tools and resources expanding curricular strategies and provides a framework for student discussion beyond the text on issues about race, racism, and forms of inequality.
The unit will teach elements of civics and democracy through the lens of the Presidential election. Students will be asked to research, read, and write about various aspects of civics and democracy, using a wide array of multimedia resources that will include (but not be limited to) literature, music, visual arts, and technology. The goal of the unit is to help students understand the importance of voting and participation while building their knowledge of the election system. The unit will encourage your students to think about government in a new way and connect this remarkable election to their day to day lives. While this unit will be taught during the first marking period, the unit will work at any point throughout the next few years. It is a Social Studies based unit designed for middle school students, primarily in the sixth grade, but can be modified and adapted to fit high school curriculum, grades nine through twelve.
This unit is designed for middle-school students in the Content Area of Visual Art focusing on Identity Politics, Voice, Critical Race Theory, Activism and Social Justice. The unit is accessible for modification and inclusion of all grade levels. Anti-Bias and Anti-Racist training interwoven with Social-Emotional Identification and Self-Care gives students skills and guidance to navigate humanity in the twenty-first century. The objective of the unit is for students to gain critical awareness of the self in the past, present, and future. Students will be able to project and assist in their vocality and aspirations for the self and the collective. Students will explore critical race theory and identity politics in relation to the self and their visual art practice. Through research and application, students will consolidate, frame, and expand their visual thinking to be full of self-determination and self-respect.1 Through critical analysis, students will activate their critical conscience and create a voice that is written, spoken, and established through visual representation. This visual art practice will give students a voice for change and act as a facilitator to sustain all paths of liberation.
This unit is about the role of the curator in the art world and their power to confer value and legitimacy within a culture. The intended audience for this unit is a high school entry level art class entitled Exploring Visual Design taken by all high school grade levels. The goal of the unit will ultimately be to address Anchor Standard 6 in the National Core Art Standards by asking students to curate their own art exhibit that communicates a message and conveys meaning to their intended audience. Along the way, students will also explore themes of identity, community and representation as they prepare for their role as curator.
This unit aims to provide a framework for introducing economic theory as an instructional strategy supporting ELA comprehension skills. Titled The Economics of Inequality, the unit will examine the arguments germane to the study of economic inequity gleaned from the seminar titled An Introduction to Income Inequality in America: Economics, History, and Law for the 2018 Yale Teachers Institute. Enduring unit goals intend to build student capacity to become literacy-based economists by examining the relational patterns between economic inequality and mobility while reinforcing reading comprehension and writing skills through novel analysis. This approach is unique because currently there is no formalized alignment between English Language Arts standards, Standards in Economics, and economic education. As teachers explore this unit, it is hoped that strategies, especially those that support critical and extended thinking, are used as a springboard for learning. This unit considers a cross-curricular approach as it was designed with the intent for teachers to spark more ideas on how they can enrich their own pedagogy and engage in lesson development using economic literary across other core subjects. It is also hoped that students’ enduring understandings are made through text-to-self connections by reflecting on how the economy affects their own lives.
My first experience teaching climate change came after a unit covering the mechanisms and impacts of climate change. After this unit, I realized students may have a pessimistic outlook on the future. However, in the past humans have successfully reversed some major environmental problems. One example is banning the use of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) as an insecticide which caused birds egg shells to be too thin. Another example is a global agreement to stop the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) which caused a hole in the ozone layer. Also the banning of lead in gasoline was another environmental success. The unit presented here is a engineering solutions oriented unit focused on climate mitigation. The mitigation strategies considered are carbon sequestration and alternative energies. This unit will cover the engineering design process with activities to practice this process while learning about carbon sequestration or wind energy. Information provided here includes background on climate change, information on the engineering design process, and different alternative energies or carbon sequestration.
This four week curriculum is for elementary learners to explore environmental engineering in urban environments. The unit starts with a broad question of “how can we make our community more sustainable?”, the unit will cover what the field of environmental engineering is, what predictability, mitigation and sustainability are, and how they relate to each other. These principles will be taught as vocabulary and will be supported with the use of anchor charts; students will be expected to use them during discussions. The unit will teach about urban infrastructure and the phenomenon of the Urban Heat Island effect. Students will then learn about and explore the possibilities of alternative energy sources and cities that already implementing green engineering. Students will explore how they can answer the question that was presented to them at the beginning of the unit. Following the engineering design process students will plan changes that they would make to their own city (in our case New Haven, Connecticut). Students will act as environmental engineers to come up with potential solutions to answer the broad question posed at the beginning of the unit.
The course is structured in theme-based quarters; each quarter targets a mode of writing (argumentative, persuasive, analytical) paired with a thematic unit of study. No texts are mandated, but texts are suggested to align with each theme. Though teachers have the flexibility to teach texts that they believe will best engage and push their students to a deeper understanding of the targeted standards, I became more and more aware of a lack of depth to the curriculum’s nature writing unit.
The district-endorsed unit, titled “Self and Nature: Exploring Human Relationships with Nature” recommends texts that are familiar to many English teachers as the canon of American transcendentalism, the 19th-century literary and philosophical movement advocating for the unity of nature, the divine, and humanity. Some suggestions outside of that realm are recommended (Rachel Carson, Jack London, Jon Krakauer), but even these more modern suggestions do very little to tell a more accurate and complete story of human’s place in the environment.
In this unit, students will learn about multiple ecosystems and the human impact to these systems as they follow migratory fish through their life cycles. As students study migratory fish, they will learn about the ecosystems of the rivers, Long Island Sound estuary, and the Atlantic Ocean. In this way, students will develop an understanding of the complex interactions between these ecosystems as well as their interdependent relationships in our global water system enabling the survival of these world travelers. This engaging thematic curriculum unit is designed for students of 3rd through 6th grades to explore the more complex ecosystems of the Long Island Sound watershed. This unit builds upon a prior unit I wrote called, “Just Ask! Exploring Marine Life of Long Island Sound.” /curriculum/units/2013/4/13.04.02.x.html
Through this study, students will learn the fundamental principles and interactions between multiple ecosystems and the marine creatures that swim within them. As students develop an appreciation and deeper understanding of these marine creatures and each ecosystem, students will more fully understand the significance of the human impact of these systems and be inspired to invest in potential solutions. This problem based unit will build core knowledge of watershed science, our global water system, and the migratory fish that move through these marine environments as students ask questions, read, write and investigate these topics.
The purpose of this unit is to make EM waves of different wavelengths apparent in students’ everyday lives. This will be accomplished by using devices that students are already familiar with and most likely take for granted –microwave and conventional ovens. Students come into the classroom with the understanding that the microwave oven makes their food hot but without knowing why or how this happens at a molecular level. This unit will give the students real-world context for applications of microwaves and infrared waves.
Understanding wave properties and EM waves is relevant to students because EM waves are used for many purposes and surround us every day. These EM waves are used for technology. There are valid health and safety concerns with exposure to some higher frequency waves, such as ultraviolet radiation, x-rays, and gamma rays. This unit will explore why the microwaves in the microwave oven and infrared radiation from the conventional oven do not have the same safety concerns as the higher energy EM waves.
This unit is written for high school French 3 and 4, and it focuses on interpreting historical events while building up background knowledge. It creates an overall awareness about the French-speaking world rather than memorizing grammar structures and rules often emphasized in language learning. Our curriculum is designed to give the teachers leniency to expand and use history, art, culture, and cross-disciplinary topics. Students in French 3 and 4 can explore various themes independently – under the overarching themes of contemporary and standardized French language teaching. As students move from levels 1 and 2 to 3 and 4, the task difficulty increases as students go through stages of second language acquisition. Precisely, in levels 1 and 2, our curriculum, although thematic, focuses more on vocabulary, which is often contextualized. Hence, in French 3 and 4, the tasks become more cognitively demanding. The context becomes less evident as we go from conversational scenes to interpreting facts, giving opinions, and expressing thoughts in speaking and writing.
A unit on wave phenomena, and its applications to detecting and evaluating extrasolar planets, and lighting and sound design in theatrical productions. The unit is designed for a high school physics class, but could be modified for physical science, astronomy, technical theater, or the middle school level.
This unit is designed to give students an introduction to this pressing societal problems and to teach students how to analyze some of the compiled data on global warming through rates, ratios and proportions; students will also learn to make projections and predictions using slope, and linear and exponential functions.
To teach this unit, the teacher has to have at least a general knowledge of global warming, the greenhouse effect, and the carbon cycle. I thought that it was important to explain the basics of these topics. This unit is designed as a math unit, to help students gain a deeper understanding of linear functions, slope, exponential functions, as well as rates, ratios and proportions. Global warming, the carbon cycle, and the greenhouse effect, will be the real life application to which we will apply our mathematics.
At no other time in a person’s life does one search for a sense of identity, a definition of what self means on a personal level, than during adolescence. It is during the middle and high school years that we are provided meaningful opportunities to step outside of the principal parental/guardian dominated influence that shaped our identity for our first decade.
This unit explores the combined use of music and literature as a means through which youth and adolescence navigate the development of what I have defined as personal, projected and perceived identity. Lessons are organized using the three areas of scope as a guide through sequential and iterative modules designed to develop students’ lines of inquiry towards a deeper and broader understanding of how music mirrors and supports the psychological and emotional events impacting our sense of self.
As English teachers, we often teach novels that reflect the struggles of racism and poverty within the African American community through the twentieth century. Landmark civil rights laws in the 1960’s changed the legal landscape of freedom in our country, but equality of opportunity and economic prosperity is still hindered by political policy and racism. It is critically important to reveal these truths to students, especially students in the African American community. However, as teachers, we should also be offering solutions to economic disparity that go beyond angry rhetoric, which are based in logic and are data-driven. What are some concrete ways families and individuals can break the cycle of poverty? What kinds of services should we as a society be fighting for? How does income parity benefit all of us? What are some ways to achieve this, and achieve a society that is more meritorious and efficient? This unit uses the play, A Raisin in the Sun as a model. The dreams of the Younger family are posed to students as choices to break out of poverty. Students will research the effects of moving to a good neighborhood, home ownership, college education, and entrepreneurship as economic paths to success.
This curriculum unit, exploring the energy in food and the thermodynamics of cooking, will include 5 days of 80-minute lessons in which the students will pick a particular food to study. The food will either need to be purchased or produced, and will need to be a food that begins as batter or liquid and solidifies during cooking. For those students who, for any reason, cannot bring in the food, they will be provided a brownie, cupcake, or other common food item. The project will contain two main components or parts. First, the energy stored within the food will be analyzed by applying mathematics. This will require conversion between a common physics unit of kilojoules (kJ) and a common household unit of kilocalories (kcal, CAL or Calories). Students will then need to apply their knowledge of work and energy conservation to provide an example of physical exercise that would be required for them to expend an equal amount of energy that is contained in their food. If a student is uncomfortable sharing their own mass, they may use the common example of a 70-kg person. The second part of their project will involve them using experimental data to determine the heat diffusion constant for their particular food by using a method similar to that described by Rowat et al. published in 2014, “The kitchen as a physics classroom10.” This can be done by placing several thermocouples in their food sample (or probing with toothpicks as will be described later) while heating until the center of the food gets to a desired temperature. Once the diffusion constant is determined, it can then be used to derive an equation that will allow the students to determine the required cooking time based on the size of the food sample. Although larger meals may be interesting samples for the experiment, the food samples must remain reasonably small so that the experiment can be completed within a single class period and can be cooked using toaster ovens or small classroom heaters. Students, in groups of 2-3, will be required to share their data with the class so that the results can be discussed. Students will be graded on their mathematical analysis and an accurate derivation of an equation to predict cooking time based on their measured diffusion constant. Teacher checks will be structured strategically throughout the process to ensure student projects meet the requirements and that student groups remain on pace. By relating energy in food to exercises with equal outputs, and by generating equations to ensure foods will be cooked properly, students not only learn physics in an engaging way but also learn how physics can be used to tackle real-world problems.
Within this unit, I will take a three level design that is planned to make these courses more relevant to students and promote questions that interrogate the authority of statistics that students will encounter throughout the course and in their lives.
The skill of interrogating statistics is crucial for all adults in our society to become thinking consumers and users of data. In addition, it is important to deconstruct data to see implicit ideas of domination and subjugation that travel through numbers that can appear nuetral. Statistics shares a creation story with the field of Eugenics. Francis Galton, a mathematician who contributed many of the major ideas to statistics was also one of the originators of eugenics. The influence of eugenic thinking in statistics drives a notion of superiority, fitness and ranking alongside measurements. Milton Reynolds describes this in Shifting Frames:,” The term “eugenics” refers to a scientifically based, ideological movement dedicated to the reiification of race. It is the wellspring of scientific theories used to construct taxonomies of difference within the human family and to legitimize the subjugation of different groups.”.1 Statistics often does the work of justifying this subjugation through its “innocent” and authoritative work as a logical system. These embedded assumptions of superiority are validated by the seeming neutrality of mathematical calculations. The “taxonomies of difference” he describes are invalid and biased assumptions about difference that dominate our interpretations of data, however they appear as factual products legitimized by math.
We will be studying Macbeth and how the Visual Arts teacher can help enhance a student’s learning experience. The graphic novel form can help students interpret plot, character, and theme through its unique lens. This paper will examine both the purpose and the specifics of having students create their own graphic novel panels using Photoshop and Wacom (electronic drawing) tablets. One area of focus will be inclusion of detail. Deciding what to leave out is just as important as deciding what to leave in. Sometimes the reader’s imagination can conjure up an image that is far more powerful than any image an illustrator can create. Students will also closely consider the importance of visual clues to the reader, asking key questions as they proceed. For example, how will a sense of mood and atmosphere be conveyed? The same scene with different shading and or use of lighting can appear dramatically different. Character expressions are another consideration: How will the scene convey emotions?
Students will complete the unit – Four Scenes from Macbeth – having improved their skills in both literary interpretation and artistic technique.
This unit is a multidisciplinary unit created for a high school math classroom, designed to combine statistics and hydrology. In this unit, students will learn about the water cycle and water budgets within the watershed. The unit starts with learning about basic budgeting in a watershed, comparable to financial budgeting, and expands to creating linear regressions based on the relationship between precipitation, discharge, and evapotranspiration in a watershed system. Students will be able to synthesize the information they learn about the watershed to learn about topics such as graphing points, lines, creating scatterplots, and creating linear regressions for the line of best fit. By teaching statistics through the lens of the watershed, the primary objective is to facilitate active, engaged learners who understand how math can be usefully applied to various contexts in the world around us while gaining a deeper appreciation for the water resources on Earth.
This was designed for a Geometry classroom, but could be modified for Pre-Algebra- Statistics based on student needs and interest level.