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Integrated Curriculum Units
Africa: Grades 2-4
Architecture: Grades 3-5
- Utilizing the topic of architecture is a fascinating way to look at history, changes in cultures, structures and design. Embedded in this unit is a vast array of mathematical activities, including the study of symmetry, parameter and area in real-life situations.
- Students will also have opportunities to create and design buildings and participate in research-based activities, and hands-on design and construction. Other lessons include exploring the reasons for and design of artistic buildings, investigating building materials, and determining individual styles through historical studies of architecture and design.
- See a sample lesson plan for the architecture unit (PDF).
Arctic/Antarctic: Grades K-2
- This exciting unit focuses on the unique environments found at the poles. Young students (kindergarten through second grade) are actively engaged in science experiments and lessons, which build their understanding of the special conditions of both the Arctic and Antarctic.
- The unit focuses on the necessary adaptations of animals and humans for life in the Arctic/Antarctic, introducing students to the relationship between the physical environment and the development of culture, specific equipment, weather changes, and key components of a self-contained biome.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Arctic/Antarctic unit (PDF).
Australia: Grades 2-4
- The "Land Down Under" has an almost magical pull for adults and children. From the exotic koala bear and kangaroo to the sheep stations and rail system to the coral reef structures and beaches, this continent with varied biomes and ecosystems in many ways mirrors the United States.
- This single large landmass has an ancient cultural history and yet has a relatively young governmental and economic system. It is also a nation populated primarily by immigrants, matching the societal and cultural elegance and challenge of the United States.
- The lessons in this unit introduce learners to issues of culture, economic systems, physical environment, wildlife, trade and more. Through their exploration of these topics, students become familiar with not only the richness of Australia but also draw comparisons between the development of the United States and Australia.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Australia unit (PDF).
Bringing the United Nations to Life: Grades 5-8
- This integrated curriculum is intended to provide a rich simulation experience for young adolescents. The topic explores not only the structure and purpose of the U.N., but the relationship of complex governmental, economic and religious structures.
- Students are engaged in learning about specific member countries, the protocol and function of the U.N., and the long-term goals and missions of this organization. By assuming various roles, the students and teacher recreate the full United Nations.
- This curriculum offers many opportunities for both small group work and individual autonomy.
- See a sample lesson plan for the United Nations unit (PDF).
Early Childhood Thematic Units: Pre-K - K: A 30-Week Curriculum Resource Including Fairy Tales, Insects and Dinosaurs
- This resource guide is divided into three integrated curriculum units around the always-appealing topics of fairy tales, insects and dinosaurs. The curriculum is organized by the guiding concept questions of each topic.
- A "Setting the Stage" section helps teachers create an environment that invites learners into the topic. Each week contains a variety of activities around the concept questions in language arts, math, science, art, and music and movement. An emphasis on high-level vocabulary introduces students to language, which excites gifted learners while enabling them to build an extensive conceptual framework of ideas.
- Activities can be done as small-group or whole-group lessons, or set up as a center format allowing for flexibility in the presentation of the topics. Reproducible sheets provide patterns and suggestions for creating supporting manipulatives and materials.
- See a sample lesson plan for the EC book (PDF)
Maya: Grades 5-8
- The Mayan culture has a wonderful, mysterious draw to children of various ages. This unit has a plethora of math activities focusing on the calendar and number systems.
- Social studies activities in this unit range from historical timelines to the importance of corn. Through art and science lessons, students learn more about the ancient culture of the Mayan people and their astounding creative abilities and scientific findings.
- Students also make connections to current cultural groups. They will learn about pottery, weaving, sports, hieroglyphics, masks and mythology—all while engaging in the exciting topic of the Mayan people.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Mayan unit (PDF).
Millennium Moments: Grades 5-8
- In this simulation for middle school students, each student assumes the persona of a character from the 20th century. Students select their persona after reading a brief description and vignette.
- This unit is unique in the sense that the characters assumed by students are amalgamated characters rather than historical figures. This allows students to more fully understand and develop the context of their character, rather than completing a more traditional biography study.
- During the course of the research study, students will read a suggested piece of historical fiction, research the time period, organize the research findings, and create related artifacts and relics. This unit provides an exceptional cross-integration opportunity for language arts and social studies classes.
- Beyond the obvious use of history and literature, the use of Millennium Moments promotes the use of many forms of self-expression, such as art, music, drama, poetry, role-playing and creative writing. The Millennium Moments guide is accompanied by a CD, which enables teachers to further individualize the persona descriptions, as well as to provide easy copyright access to the student guide.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Millennium Moments unit (PDF).
Natural Disasters: Grades 3-5
- The topic of natural disasters is compelling. News reports from around the globe introduce children to weather patterns, biomes and catastrophic events.
- The Natural Disasters unit takes this sometimes-frightening topic and examines the causes and effects, and introduces students to the equipment, monitoring and support systems surrounding these phenomena. Topics in this unit include hurricanes, tidal waves, floods, droughts, avalanches, slides, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, wildfires, blizzards and tornadoes.
- This unit focuses on content with many scientific experiments designed to help students understand concepts such as air pressure, wave force and weather patterns. In addition to a strong grounding in science concepts, students focus on problem solving by examining specific conditions and developing new methods for storm tracking, evacuation patterns or relief efforts.
- Language arts lessons focus on examining current and historical primary documents, such as comparing stories from various media outlets and reading personal accounts of life during the Dust Bowl. This unit balances the scientific with the affective needs of gifted learners through a variety of active learning experiences.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Natural Disasters unit (PDF).
Oceans: Grades K-3
- The Oceans unit is rich in both content and affective opportunities. Students use the scientific method to learn about the weight of water, the difference between saltwater and freshwater, wave patterns, and more. Using a variety of art techniques, students create items such as Japanese fish kites, large-scale ecosystem murals and mythical creatures.
- As students explore this unique biome, they have the opportunity to wrestle with moral dilemmas such as fishing rights/overfishing, water usage/contamination and species preservation. This integrated curriculum is a comprehensive overview of the environment, the plant and animal inhabitants of the ocean, water use, and potential problems.
- Due to the scope of the unit, many different large concepts such as systems, interdependence and personal responsibility are explored during the course of study.
- See a sample lesson plan from the Oceans unit (PDF)
Passion Pursuits: Grades 1-6
- Passion Pursuits is an independent study plan based on an individual learner's personal interest. In addition to exploring a passion, independent units provide an opportunity for learners to engage in a range of skills involved in independent research and the creation of various products.
- The guide helps teachers and learners alike as they begin the process of using Passion Pursuits within their curriculum. The approach is applicable to many different settings, from general classrooms to pull-out programs to home-school settings.
- In addition to providing a comprehensive student guide for independent study, the Passion Pursuits book contains more than 40 developed unit topics for study. It also contains a CD that allows teachers to create multiple copies of the student guidebook and personalize individual unit goals.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Passion Pursuits unit (PDF).
Mosaic: Exploring Patterns through Literature is a literature series designed for gifted middle school students, grades 5-8, around literature of high quality and interest.
These integrated literature units select a theme or literary genre to explore. Novels have been selected to help learners focus on the theme or literary element.
Each unit has three components: a unit study that examines the theme; a literature component; and a writing component. The units include supporting integrated projects with a fine arts emphasis that provide students with an in-depth understanding of the topic.
These are self-supporting literature units designed to last 8 to 10 weeks. Assignments can be used exclusively at school or done in combination with homework. These are perfect for use in home schools, small groups or whole classes.
Volume 1: Fairie Tales
- This unit examines the components of fairie tales, looking specifically at the role of helpers, companions, guides, magic, quests, transformations, and growth and change.
- These concepts are examined through a specific novel set and include a detailed writing guide to help students write their own faerie tales.
- See a sample lesson plan for the Faerie Tales unit (PDF).
Volume 2: Virtual Voyages