Social Studies

21st Century Capacities

21st Century Capacities listed by unit

Kindergarten

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Me in My Classroom

The initial unit in Kindergarten Social Studies complements the ELA workshop launch unit and serves to establish the foundations of citizenship, community, and compassion. Students will focus on introducing themselves and getting to know each other, being a member of a class community and the class environment, learning about their classroom, and the school. Using resources from The Responsive Classroom, themes of focus will include safety, classroom procedures and rules, and working with others. Students will understand different sets of rules relating to the cafeteria, bathroom, playground, Bus, hallway, and other areas of the school building. Rules also include consequences and actions, often times based on a behavior chart. Students will begin to think about what a role model looks and acts like, and the importance of their choices and understanding of socially appropriate behaviors. This introductory unit will also explore concepts of citizenship and the qualities and characteristics of a good citizen (friend, classmate, etc.) and how this connects to friendship. Participation, perseverance, and risk-taking will all be encouraged as students learn to be active participants in their classroom community. The unit will culminate with a role-playing activity where students will be presented with a classroom scenario and will need to describe what actions a model citizen would take to solve problems.

21st Century Capacities: Decision Making, Citizenship

Unit 2

Traditions and Celebrations

"Family Traditions and Celebrations" focuses first on foundational understandings of the family unit and family structures. Students will learn about what different roles and responsibilities a family member could have. Other questions include: "What does it mean to be a good family member?" and "Do families have rules that members need to follow?" Overarching lessons will focus on the importance of accepting and appreciating everyone as good citizens, celebrating many traditions, and respecting the diversity of other families. As students begin to learn more about their family and family's history, they will understand the definition and significance of a tradition. A family story can come to life through the exploration of unique journeys, cultural components, and traditions. These will be realized through each family member and some extended family members.

The unit will transition to popular American traditions and celebrations, especially those that include themes of Americanism, patriotism, citizenship, and freedom. Students will better understand the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem and other national songs, and the importance of Election Day. Through each concept, terms such as patriotism, citizenship, freedom, choice, and active participation will all be defined using examples. Some of the more traditional American holidays are also explored, including Thanksgiving and Veterans' Day. These celebrations help students connect their community to the past.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing

Unit 3

Me in My School Community

This unit expands upon the student's immediate environment and introduces the student to the community beyond the classroom, helping to define the entire school as another community. Students will learn and experience what it means to be a productive member of a school community. Students will consider what their individual and collective roles are as members of a school community. Students will realize that they are representatives of their school community and their actions and behaviors reflect the values and mission of the school community. They will discuss school pride and the school logo, mission, and mascot, understanding why it is important to have school pride. They will determine how to best represent their school community as model citizens.

As citizens of these different communities, students will begin to learn of their roles and responsibilities. Specific character traits will be explored and students realize the importance and impact of helping others. Through philanthropy, or the importance of giving, students will learn about different ways to contribute to a collective cause and the reasons for helping others in the community that may live with special needs.

The Unit will culminate with an introspective look at leadership. A focus will be on school leadership, the desired qualities of every leader, and why leaders are admired. Examples and models will be present through the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents' Day. This will allow students to recognize leaders in both history and the school community.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Decision Making

Unit 4

Tiger Pride in the Madison Community

In the final unit of the Kindergarten Social Studies course, students, as community members, are ready to explore Madison. This unit will begin with an investigation of what makes up a town community, including important services, buildings, resources, jobs/roles in town, and why they are important. Students will familiarize themselves with the geography of Madison, identifying and visualizing important features, locations, buildings, and other landmarks in the town community. This will help students to learn more about the resources and local environment. Areas such as Bauer Park or a Maple Syrup farm may be explored to understand the availability and responsible use of resources. Students will experience how and why Madison citizens are using, sharing, and protecting environmental resources and persevering special places.

As students gain a better understanding of the town of Madison and its history, different jobs, and resources will be explored. Students will be able to determine how a variety of Madison citizens contribute to the local economy. As students develop an appreciation for Pride in one's hometown, they will deepen their understanding of community. They will then be able to share this pride with others. By taking information and developing a clear summary argument to convince others, students will create a product which promotes a favorite place in Madison. This will reveal to their classmates their personal "Tiger Pride".

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation

Grade 1

UnitDescription

Unit 1

My Rules and My School Community

In this roll-out unit students will be reflecting on their kindergarten rules and developing rules for their new experience while discussing why we have rules and what it means to be an active participant in a larger community (family, classroom, school, bus, hallway, cafe, specials). Students, as classroom community members, will discuss why it is important to be respectful of others and to be active listeners during turn and talk, lessons, stories, and other interpersonal activities. They will be discussing what happens when a member of a community does not follow the rules and the reasons for consequences associated with such actions. Mentor texts will be utilized to help the teacher emphasize lessons in citizenship and other local and global issues. Additionally, embedded in the unit will be a concept which focuses on the celebration of certain holidays and how they connect to citizenship and community.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Citizenship

Unit 2

The Family Unit

In 'The Family Unit," students will explore their heritage, culture, and family traditions. Historically, students will ask and answer questions about the general family structure, history of their own family, and changes to their family throughout time. As family members, students learn about the diversity of families and cultures and how other families are the same and different from their own families. Examples of different traditions and celebrations can be identified as examples. Through alternative perspectives, students gain appreciation and respect for families' differences. Students, as family members, will bring in the thread of the first unit about being a member of a community and discuss their family as a "micro-community." As members, they will also seek to define and understand what their role is in their family. They will discuss and explore how family roles have been defined and have changed throughout history. As another link from Unit 1, they will be revisiting the importance of being an "active" and "respectful" participant in their family "community", as well as respecting the differences in other families. Additionally, embedded in the unit will be a concept which focuses on the celebration of certain holidays and how they connect to both family heritage and their communities.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 3

What I Need vs. What I Want

Questions and concepts surrounding "Needs vs. Wants" will be guiding students into thinking about what they need to survive, how they get what they need, and how that differs from what they may want. The students will also draw on their understanding of being a responsible member of a larger community and how that guides them in contributing to the collective needs of the group. The students will also have the opportunity to learn about economics and resources, especially how the resources available to them in their community affect how they live (and vice versa). Additionally, embedded in the unit will be a concept which focuses on the celebration of certain holidays and how those events connect to needs and wants.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Decision Making

Unit 4

Me on the Map

In this unit, the students will employ maps as a means of better understanding the resources and characteristics of their community and the relationships and interactions that shape them. Map literacy will help them determine important features and items to include on a map of their bedrooms, houses, neighborhoods, town, and school. They will learn about a map key, symbols, and what information the key represents. They will be constructing and discussing their own maps of familiar places while thinking about how a geographical location determines what is available in that location. (ie. Madison has a green and a beach; what does that mean for people in this area?) They will be discussing what maps tell us about the way people live in Madison. They will discuss how geography impacts people and people impact geography. They will also discuss how their parents use maps to inform their lives.

21st Century Capacities: Product Creation, Engaging in Global Issues

Grade 2

UnitDescription

Unit 1Town as Community and Community as Town

Second Grade Social Studies focuses on the town, broadening the first grade view of community beyond the family, classroom, and school. Different types of communities, such as urban, suburban, and rural, will be introduced, including the varying structures and characteristics. Guiding questions may include what makes a community and what unique features exist in different types of communities. Experiences and activities will help students understand their role as a citizen of a community and their rights and responsibilities. As they "become community members", they will experience different roles or jobs and how all community members need to work together to make decisions and resolve local issues. Town government will also introduce students to local rules and how they benefit the whole community. The initial unit also begins to look at what resources are available or provided in a community, as well as other economic decisions which best serve the community.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Citizenship

Unit 2Madison Then and Now

Studying the history of Madison helps students explain and understand how historical events and developments have shaped our community. Madison's geography, native peoples, and colonial development have all contributed to the nearly four century story of this classic New England shoreline community. Throughout the unit, students will explore historical events, local landmarks, and key figures to provide additional insight into changes in the Madison community over time. Tracing key events over time will help students determine cause and effect of change in local history impacting citizens' lives today.

Through historical sources, photographs, and other evidence, students will consider how life in Madison has changed over time (education, business, employment, housing, transportation, recreation, etc.). Students, as historians, will also use their initial exposure to Madison maps to understand the influences of geographic location and environment on the development of the community and lives of its members. Other resources will help students understand how historians use historical information to learn about the importance of the past and its influence today. As a culminating PBA, students will be referencing unit concepts on Madison's history to develop an updated crest which blends the town's history with its present day culture.

In each concept, teachers should utilize the Smart Board lesson as guide for discussion.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Product Creation

Unit 3Madison, USA

Throughout the study of Town as community, students will question and explore what "Madison" can look like in other geographic regions of the United States. Students will be introduced to Madison, WI as a way of comparing and contrasting geographies, climates, and lifestyles. The geographic, economic, and cultural elements of different regions will then be explored through investigations of other towns and cities, especially as those elements affect the people living there. Students will be able reflect on those factors which make each region unique. Students will compare the similarities and differences between Madison Connecticut and other towns in different regions. Maps and map skills will facilitate this by helping students identify and understand relative location, proximity, use of natural resources, topography, climate, population density, and other pertinent information; students will synthesize information gained through maps in order to develop hypotheses about life in different places.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Presentation

Grade 3

UnitDescription

Unit 1Our Connecticut: The Citizens, The Geography, and The Environment

Third grade social studies begins by expanding the definition of student's community to the state of Connecticut.

Through a geographical introduction to Connecticut, students will build their understanding and knowledge of how state residents impact and are impacted by their environment. Using maps as a vehicle, students will discover how people of Connecticut use their land and resources, what business and industry rose up as a result, and what would be ultimately produced. Historical investigations will include a look at the development of Connecticut's borders and the location of indigenous populations. Students will be asked to explore the diverse qualities of regions in Connecticut's, as well as characteristics of environment and climate. Students will investigate and analyze how and why people live in urban, suburban and rural communities.

The unit will culminate with an exploration of environmental and geographic issues facing the people of CT. Students will identify environmental issues that would arise regarding the Connecticut River and work together to generate solutions to these problems.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification, Collective Intelligence

Unit 2Connecticut History

In the second unit, students will investigate and apply historical knowledge to better understand Connecticut's story. Beginning with the first settlements by indigenous populations, students will analyze the initial encounters native peoples had with Europeans. Students will understand the establishment and growth of the Connecticut Colony and its first government by exploring this period through multiple perspectives. This foundation will serve students as they investigate historical figures, early economic developments, early transportation systems, and the relationship between these and Connecticut's history. Students will discover how the movement of populations into Connecticut related to these available regional opportunities. Examples from both a historical and contemporary perspective will allow students to understand how the settlement of Connecticut by diverse populations has contributed to the state's cultural heritage. Through a synthesis of multiple sources of evidence, students will begin to develop claims about historical concepts and construct valid arguments.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation

Unit 3Connecticut’s Government

In this third unit of study, students will learn about Connecticut's government from the perspective of state leadership and the way in which they represent and serve the citizens.

Students weigh individual rights with the common good by examining government power and fairness. Students will explore the ways in which government has direct effects on Connecticut legislation(law-making) and justice, taxation and funding, safety, education, and community resources.

Equally important to the civic process is the active participation of Connecticut citizens. Through legal responsibilities, tax obligations, jury duty, and voting, our state's citizens must all fulfill an important role in Connecticut's governmental system. Authentic activities will allow students to experience how the state government has an impact on their lives. Through inquiry, investigation of evidence, and development of claims, students will investigate the reason behind a law. Other scenarios will be presented to students, helping them understand how ideas can become movements and issues can be solved by informed action. Students will reflect on the government process and develop innovative solutions based on the concepts throughout the unit.

21st Century Capacities:Citizenship, Decision Making

Grade 4

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Historians Exploring the Past

This unit's focus on native peoples and their settlements will help to establish the foundation for students' understanding of the yearlong theme of "How people's choices and actions affect others." The class will use an introductory lesson to explore how choices and actions lead to both problems and solutions in the students' own community. As students begin to understand the social studies and historical thinking/investigation through an identification of the types of resources and evidence historians use, they will be introduced specifically to the field of history and what it means to be a historian. They will explore cultural components of the eastern woodland native people including the Wampanoag, Pequot, and Iroquois and how these tribes used their natural resources to survive and thrive in a particular location and environment. This will help to determine how a geographic location contributes to the way in which people live. Students will also have the opportunity to look at the European peoples, from Columbus to the Pilgrims, journeying to this new land and interacting with the native peoples. Evaluating multiple primary source artifacts and other resources will help students accurately ask and answer questions about various peoples, settlements, and significant events. Students will also investigate, through different viewpoints and perspectives, the interaction among colonial European settlers and native peoples in order to begin to develop arguments and support claims as part of the process of understanding how people's choices and actions affect others.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing

Unit 2

Let Freedom Ring

The concept of liberty forms the foundation for the rebellious birth of the United States. Students will be guided by unit themes which consider the questions, "How do people's actions and choices affect others?" and "What is freedom?" This unit will highlight the thirteen colonies, with a focus on mapping the geographic, economic, and religious differences. This knowledge will help students understand why colonists settled in various regions and the cultural and environmental impacts of those settlements.

Students will also analyze the multiple causes and precursors of the American Revolution (including the French & Indian War, various imposed taxes, and acts of protest against the British Crown), questioning the necessity of the fight. Much of the focus will center on disagreements that led to the American Revolution and the reasoning and motivation as to why colonists chose to speak out against the British Crown. Students will use primary source documents and other resources to evaluate the "truth" of the Boston Massacre and other key events leading to conflict between the British Crown and the Colonies. Through an investigation into these causes, students will see that historians must consider why colonists were willing to suffer through terrible hardships and years of war in their quest for independence. Using "Argument Protocol", students will debate the benefits and risks of being Loyalists or Patriots. This ultimately reveals how various groups of people are able to impact history. At the individual level, students will also be investigating important battles and heroes/heroines of the war. Through a final reflection (and exit slip) students will look back at the concept of freedom and wonder whether it is worth the fight.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 3

A Recipe for Democracy

The theme of this unit continues with the larger course theme which considers "What is freedom?" Students will make the connection between the Declaration of Independence, freedom, and the purpose of government. Looking through this document, students will need to both understand and critique the colonial argument for Independence. Referencing concepts from the previous unit, including the challenges and opportunities of the colonial citizens, students will learn about the difficulties of state vs. federal power when establishing a new nation's Constitution. Students will investigate the Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention and its writers, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights to better understand the structure and function of the federal government and a Constitutional Republic. US government, through the three branches of government and some of the elements in place to check and balance power, will be dissected by the students. Ultimately, students will be able to see how some of the initial concepts and purpose of a representative democracy result from citizens looking to balance personal freedoms with the common good. All this can be realized through an analysis of the Bill of Rights and selected Amendments which help to define today's "We the People". With a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of citizenship, fourth graders will demonstrate the importance of civic duty and its role in communities. These young Americans will be asked to demonstrate the true meaning of freedom and examples throughout this nation's history which have helped to define, for different groups, this unalienable right. Putting these lessons into action, the class may take on a local issue or evaluate a law and look at the role of government in the process.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Product Creation

Grade 5

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Westward Expansion

The introductory fifth grade unit will look at the effects of the Manifest Destiny in relation to the attitude prevalent during the 19th century period of American expansion. This is a time when the United States not only could, but was destined to, stretch from coast to coast. This attitude helped fuel western movement and settlement, Native American removal, and war with Mexico. Students will dissect and question the factors which led to both the expansion and interactions of peoples in 19th century America.

Students will look at the opening, exploration, and settling of the West and how this affects many diverse populations of people. These groups include the Mexicanos, Chinese immigrants, 49ers, Mormons, Oregon Pioneers, Cherokees, and the Nez Perces. Students will investigate a variety of reasons why people headed west, including the search for gold, abundant land, religious freedom, employment (such as the working on the Transcontinental Railroad), and adventure. The experiences of each group will help students gain perspective on the movement of particular individuals and societies. It will be important to consider how the value of resources play a role in both the opportunities and conflicts that resulted. Students will seek to discover and develop a working definition of the term "Manifest Destiny" throughout the unit.

Through introductions to their historical peers, students will role play in cooperative groups, making decisions and writing diary entries as their wagon makes its way west, facing many challenges along the journey. Students will, through the analyzing of primary sources (such as journal entries) and works of art, "travel" with Lewis & Clark, exploring newly acquired land, charting the land and resources, and encountering challenges while searching for a passage to the Pacific. Students will develop an understanding, from multiple perspectives, of how change can be challenging and rewarding.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 2

Slavery

The focus of the unit is for students to understand the origins of slavery in America. Students learn about Africa before and after the arrival of Europeans and the increasing demand for slave labor in America. Several economic aspects will help students understand different resources and economic conditions which related to the trading of slaves. Students will also have the opportunity to learn more about what life was like in Africa for several tribes in the 1500s prior to the slave trade. Through exposure to the Middle Passage and experiences of life as a slave in the colonies, students will focus on three dilemmas Africans faced:

1. Trading Slaves for Guns

2. Surviving the Middle Passage

3. Living as a slave in the Colonies

There will be a concentrated emphasis on forms of resistance including the Underground Railroad and the Abolitionist Movement. Students will participate in various simulations including the Middle Passage and Mission-US Flight to Freedom. Students will analyze primary sources including images, runaway slave posters, auction broadsides, song lyrics, poetry, diary entries, and speeches. Students will connect key concepts from the unit to elements of the slave trade in New England and Connecticut. Students will develop an understanding that people need to stand-up to injustices, voice their concerns, and fight for change.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing

Unit 3

A House Divided

This unit will ask students to look more deeply into the causes of the Civil War, including some fundamental differences between the North and South, the Missouri Compromise, Abolitionists and the Underground Railroad, the Compromise of 1850, Bleeding Kansas, the publishing of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and the election of Abraham Lincoln. The escalation of tensions surrounding many of these issues all led to the development and secession of the Confederacy.

Students, as historians, will investigate and compare the life of Union and Confederate soldiers, key battles, military tactics and advancement of war technology, combat conditions, medical care, life on the battlefield and the homefront, and the end of the war. Students will work together to develop a deeper understanding of specialized and specific roles of those citizens living during this divided time in US History.

Students will analyze many primary sources including photographs, letters, journals, and maps. Students will select a topic of interest and develop a guiding question to further research, analyze a variety of materials, and design a product. Students will develop an understanding that there are alternate and competing perspectives with every argument.

Through this investigation of evidence and alternate perspectives, students will identify with history through a connection to young Americans from the 19th century that experienced life during the Civil War. They will work together to question what is worth fighting for and whether or not war can be avoided. The unit will culminate in a writing experience which applies their understanding of life during the Civil War.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 4

Industrialization and Innovation

This Industrialization and Innovation unit will focus on how 19th and early 20th century industrialization revolutionized the economic and social conditions in the United States. Changes began in the late 1700's when innovation impacted both how products were made and how Americans lived and wanted to live. After the Civil War, further advances would occur in the areas of technology and transportation, changing the economic landscape of the nation. An exploration of how and why the Industrial Revolution began and "gained steam" in late 19th century America will help to introduce major concepts in the unit. Student learning will focus on innovation, inventions, and industrialization and their impact on citizens' lives. Students will be asking and answering questions based on how nations use resources to achieve their goals and how industrialization changed the way Americans lived. Examples in New England and Connecticut will help students make local connections to this time period. Along with industrial growth came many social and economic issues tied to labor and the rights of workers. This increased demand for workers led to child labor and unsafe working conditions. The life of a child laborer will serve as a model which allows students to understand the time period directly from their historical peers. Students will experience life in a New England factory as an example of this experience of an industrial worker. Photography and other primary sources will also expose students to many of the realities of the industrial age in America. Students will be asked to connect their understanding of this massive progression in 19th and 20th century industry, technology, and society to the rapid changes that are occurring in the United States today. As a transition to the subsequent themes in the course, students will make the connection between the need for labor and an expanding economy with waves of immigration in the later part of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Through an analysis and presentation of information and ideas, students will promote a collective understanding of the continuing influence of this period in American history.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Presentation

Unit 5

A Nation of Immigrants

The study of "A Nation of Immigrants" will be an introspective look at the lives and experiences of families and individuals arriving and assimilating to the United States. Students begin by looking at the reasons why someone would emigrate to America, what their expectations might be, and how they maintained their cultural ties and/or assimilated to their new home. Students will identify the various challenges immigrants faced when transitioning from their homelands to the United States. Teachers should find relevant examples from Connecticut to help students make meaningful connections with local communities. As part of this learning experience, students will also understand the impact of geography and environment as it relates to resettlement of immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th. Additionally, as the unit makes connections to the present, students will read about how immigrants continue to move to America for a number of reasons. These more recent immigrants continue to impact and contribute to the culture and society of the nation. Students will analyze many primary sources including photographs, letters, journals, and maps. Through personalized stories, students will develop an understanding about sacrifice, challenges and obstacles, taking risks, opportunities, and potential rewards. Students will gain an appreciation for the opportunities, freedom, and diverse cultures of America. Students will develop a sense of empathy and gain an appreciation for the differences of people and their immigrant experiences. Students will compare and contrast as they develop a knowledge base of key people, places, and figures associated with the topic of immigration. As a culminating experience of the unit, students will connect to their historical peers through an exploration of the immigrant experience of their ancestors, conveying this experience to a public audience. Reflection on this product and process will also allow the student to build a better understanding of present-day immigration in America.

21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Engaging in Global Issues

Grade 6

UnitDescription

Unit 1Access to Food

Our first unit on food asks students to grapple with the global issue of hunger and the question of why, when there is enough food being produced, so many people are going hungry. Students will conduct inquiries into how humanity moved from hunting/gathering into agriculture, and explore how this revolution allowed for the specialization of labor and development of complex societies. We will examine how our geography impacts food availability and explore different conceptions of "responsible food choices." The unit will conclude with students examining their own behaviors and choices surrounding food, and develop a plan of action for how they might make responsible individual choices that will help alleviate this problem.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Citizenship

Unit 2Water Changes Everything

Water is an essential resource, not only because it impacts food production. Access to water can impact economic and educational opportunities as well as health and well being. In short, this unit is about the ways that complex societies rely on, fight over, and work together to secure access to water.

After an introduction to the unit in which students explore the modern extent of water scarcity around the world and develop an understanding of the sources of the problem, students will conduct a historical inquiry into how early civilizations dealt with getting access to water and make judgments about water as a source of conflict or cooperation. Students will then conduct a second inquiry in which they explore the modern "costs" of water and make judgments about which cost is the greatest.

After conducting these inquiries, students will use the interpretations developed in order to identify and advocate for an existing product that might help to alleviate water shortages. Students will adopt the perspective of a stakeholder in an area of water shortage, find a solution that aligns with their interpretations of whether water is a source of conflict or cooperation, and develop a pitch to the World Bank seeking funding to further develop the product.

21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Decision Making

Unit 3Access to Education

The third unit of this course turns the focus to equity in education around the globe, and continues the theme of exploring the historical forces behind modern inequalities. Just as students conducted inquiries into how the history of agriculture helps us to understand modern hunger, and how the history of early river valley civilizations helps us to understand modern conflicts over water, in this unit they will explore how the history of colonization and imperialism can help us to understand modern inequalities in access to and quality of education. Students will then investigate modern obstacles that stand in the way of greater educational equality around the world, and will conclude the unit by participating in an "International Education Action Symposium."

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Engaging in Global Issues

Grade 7

UnitDescription

Unit 1The Challenge of Global Citizenship

"What does it mean to be a global citizen in an increasingly interconnected 21st century world?"

The entire Grade 7 social studies course is framed by this challenge, introducing students to an exploration of natural rights and responsibilities of global citizenship. To start this work, this unit invites students to explore global organizations such as the United Nations, as well as other non-governmental organizations dedicated to improving understanding of different beliefs, allowing for all people to settle in a safe environment, and opening economic opportunities for all. The class will practice collective intelligence to develop a common understanding of their mission as global citizens, to explore what actions are required to improve the human condition, and to further their understanding of how to create more equitable opportunities for all of the world's people living in one large community.

Embedded throughout are the teaching of key reading and notetaking skills required in the research process that students will draw upon throughout the course. The unit will culminate in a performance task in which students are asked to apply their understandings of global citizenship to create a product designed ot inspire others to action.

21st Century Capacities: Collective Intelligence, Citizenship

Unit 2Human Rights, Equality, Governance

This unit is about acceptance and understanding of various cultures, religions, and belief systems throughout the world using the events of 20th century Europe as a lense. Through this lense, students will analyze the complexities of human rights, equality and governance. It will be important for students to consider examples when belief systems have been, and continue to be, manipulated by individuals or groups in order to maintain power and control. The students will critically analyze the role of propaganda and divisive language to manipulate the masses.

Students will explore how valuable education is today in breaking down these barriers and dispelling misconceptions. With this in mind, students will consider the historic significance for the need for the development of the League of Nations and the United Nations with applications and connections to modern day. Specifically students will hypothesize how to develop religious acceptance and understanding for the purpose of community building and coexisting as allies.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 3Conflict, Peace, and Security

This unit builds on students' learning in the previous two units, continuing to explore the question "What does it mean to be a global citizen in an increasingly interconnected 21st century world?" Students will continue to develop their understanding of the importance of being informed, active, global citizens and use knowledge previously gained from the "Challenge of Global Citizenship" unit to help justify their positions.

Specifically, students will explore to what degree it is possible, and why has it been difficult, for the UN to maintain peace between hostile groups in a region. To do this, students will look more deeply at the role and responsibilities of the United Nations as an actor in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. Students will be able to demonstrate deep understanding of the historical factors that have led to present day conflicts. Students will analyze patterns in history in order to to critically identify, evaluate and predict future areas of global concern. They will be introduced to violent and nonviolent conflicts and movements in order to understand how hostilities and rebellion lead to regional and global disharmony.

The intent of each concept is to engage students as active, informed, and participating citizens, understanding their roles in the global community. In the end, students will be able to cite appropriate evidence to justify conclusions.

21st Century Capacities:Problem Identification, Decision Making

Unit 4Overcoming Inequality

"How can we be active and effective global citizens?"

This unit is designed to be the culmination of the 7th grade learning experience. Students will consider how global partners have worked to overcome social, economic and political inequality around the world. In order to prepare students for their culminating performance based assessment related to global citizenship in action, students will identify and analyze specific successes from South Africa. Students will use examples of past success to connect to future situations. Students will also consider the United Nations sustainable goals and use them as a guide to develop a plan of action to address a global rights issue. The goal is to empower students to apply their learning from the course to consider and work to become a more informed and effective global citizen.

In this final project, students will investigate a specific human rights abuse occurring today. In this investigation, they will evaluate the extent to which the abuse stems from a failure of governance, a failure to maintain peace in security, and a failure to promote economic opportunity; in doing so, students will conclude the course by seeing how often these three elements are tightly intertwined.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Citizenship

Grade 8

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Defining Democracy: US Citizenship

The purpose of the Government and Civics unit is for students to develop a historical and philosophical definition of the United States federal government. Students will be investigating the purpose of government and origins of US democratic system. They will question the concept of citizenship and what makes a good citizen in a healthy democratic society. As the Constitution and US government are dissected, the student begins to understand the framework of the federal system through concepts such as the roles of the three branches, separation of powers, checks and balances, and how a bill becomes a law. Various Constitutional issues will guide this unit as the student gains a deeper understanding of the challenge of balancing personal freedoms with the common good.

The intent of each concept is also to engage the students as active, informed, and interested citizens, understanding their roles and responsibilities as contributing members of their local, state, and national communities. They will be introduced to social and political movements, understanding what triggers change in law and policy. While researching, students will also develop a deeper understanding for the research process, evaluating sources, and validating evidence. Through a final, performance-based assessment, students will evaluate the definition of the "citizenship standard" in Madison Public Schools, applying content and concepts they have learned throughout the unit. Finally, the foundational understanding from this unit will serve as a basis throughout the rest of the course as democracy is continually "re-defined" to determine if the American system is functioning as intended by its founders.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Presentation

Unit 2

Redefining Democracy: Social and Political Change

The purpose of the "Redefining Democracy: Social and Political Change" unit is for students to develop a framework for understanding the changing role of citizenship in the United States as the nation experienced industrialization and immigration in the early 20th Century. Students will develop an awareness of the changing roles, duties, and responsibilities of both the federal government and its citizens. Students will compare the ideals of the Constitution with the practices of the US government in the mid to late 19th and early 20th centuries. This unit will also establish a foundation for students to understand and analyze social, political, and economic reform in the 20th Century.

Specifically, through the inquiry process and Socratic seminar, students will analyze how individual citizens and groups created change in our society. Students will be asked to consider questions such as; What is the role of government in a changing society? How does the government balance personal freedom with the common good? How do people and/or groups impact history? How does one craft an argument to convince others to see a particular point of view? Student will also need to develop their own questions regarding government action and its impact on society as they develop opinion/argument papers which use evidence and sourcing to justify a claim.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation

Unit 3

Redefining Democracy: The Economic Rollercoaster: 1920s and Great Depression

Continuing with the theme of "Redefining Democracy", students will evaluate the economic impacts of a post-WWI democratic system where the US has entered the world stage and will enjoy the peace and prosperity of the time. The aim of the "The Economic Rollercoaster" unit is to foster student understanding of the complex interaction between global economic forces, communities, and policy makers. Students will evaluate Americans' standard of living and question the government's reaction to the high peaks of prosperity during the roaring 1920's. Included in this is an analysis and inquiry into how overproduction and speculation led to economic collapse and what the government's role would become as a result. An evaluation of the government's interventionist response to the economic depression and New Deal policies of the 1930s will help students determine the appropriateness of this remedy. Students will be asked these compelling questions based on their knowledge of Constitutionally established limitations in government power. Essentially, was the New Deal a good deal for all Americans, both past and present? This question will be weighed in the face of other essential questions focused on the distribution of wealth in America, citizens' expectations for a standard of living, and the political regulation of the marketplace. The unit will culminate with an economic summit in which students will be asked to explore, research, and debate a contemporary economic issue, arguing their policy recommendations, course of action, and impact on the American people.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Decision Making

Unit 4

Redefining and Evaluating a Democratic Culture

The global impact of the Great Depression on Europe would ultimately result in examples of totalitarian leadership. A post-WWI United States and its political leaders would shift from isolationism to interventionism in a dire quest to preserve democracy and freedom at home and abroad. As a focus for this unit, which helps to define democracy during wartime, students will understand the impacts of mobilization on socio-cultural elements of America.

The emphasis for the unit will be on the home front where it will be important for students to recognize how there was a clear shift in attitudes as intervention in global conflict seemed imminent. They will evaluate the impact of the war on such topics as the economy, women, immigrants, and minorities. With the attack on Pearl Harbor and declaration of war, all aspects of society would be affected. Looking at multiple sources for evidence, students will understand how the balancing of security and freedoms played a role in democracy's guarantee of basic human rights.

After the previous unit was focused on exploring how citizens responded to major social issues during the progressive era and the government reacted to the crisis of the Great Depression, students will investigate how the nation as a whole struggled to meet the demands of the largest war in world history. Students, as historians, will consider the growth of the nation's economy as a result of the overnight needs brought about by the war effort.

The learning in the unit will lead to a culminating opinion/argument digital reflection which asks students to evaluate a contemporary continuation of their course-long selected theme (socio-cultural, political, or economic issue). They will evaluate the entire theme, considering its historical, and contemporary components in relation to the Constitutional promises at the heart of our Nation's founding. In order for students to prove and present their thesis, research and conclusions, they must answer the course-long question: Have we made progress?

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Presentation

Grade 11

Civics & American Government

UnitDescription

Unit 1

Problem Identification

The introductory "Problem Identification" unit establishes the overarching mission and foundation for the Civics and American Government course. Students will identify a significant contemporary problem of personal interest which they wish to track throughout the course. The problem may impact citizens and the community on a local, state, and/or national level. Through their questioning and investigation, students will collect artifacts and journal about the connections between unit materials and their problem, gaining a greater understanding of its background, scope, and overall societal costs. From this initial understanding of the problem, students begin to consider their issues and the role or responsibility of government to take action. This will lead to an exploration of possibilities for solving the selected problem. Students also consider the rights and responsibilities that accompany American citizenship in order to understand the meaning of citizenship. The foundational disposition towards both citizenship and the American democratic system will guide the student to think critically while investigating civic, governmental, and political issues throughout the course.

21st Century Capacities: Problem Identification

Unit 2

Legitimacy of Power

Concepts of power, influence, and control are inseparable from the study of government. Understanding both the source and legitimacy of power will help the student understand many of the foundational concepts of the American Constitutional Republic. To inform their exploration, students will study the early philosophers and the different theories on how power is allocated in a government and also where the legitimacy of power is based. Students will connect this concept to their selected issue being followed throughout the course, examining the people, groups, and government organizations that may have power, influence, or control relative to their issue, as well as whether these individuals should be in control of this issue.

Continuing with the theme of power, students will then look at various trends and events leading to the Declaration of Independence and American Revolution. This study will take place from multiple perspectives, considering both the viewpoints of the Patriots and Loyalists and their determination as to how to move towards the establishment of a new, independent nation. Students will journey through this process, understanding that the ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation would require "Constitutional compromises" from the powerful elite meeting together for a summer in Philadelphia. Much of what would come from these compromises represent not only a particular demographic perspective, but also a view of the ideological divide between Federalists and Antifederalists. Students will be prepared to have the same debate on Constitutional ratification, with the focus based on the question of where one places both power and trust when establishing consensus in government.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Alternate Perspectives

Unit 3

Governing by Consensus

In 1787 the Founding Fathers established a Federal Republic through a Constitution which established core principles of democracy: equality, rights, liberties, opportunities, and security. Central to those principles is the concept of consensus. Over 200 years later, the importance of the role of consensus will allow the student to better grasp the inner workings of the American democratic system. The Unit on "Governing by Consensus" focuses on the structure, function, and relationship between and among branches in the federal government and local, state, and national governmental bodies. Through a deeper look into the principles of the Constitution, students will know and be able to apply knowledge and concepts about government power and purpose as the Founding Fathers may have intended. Students will also break down how both formal and informal change occurs in government, especially considering the enduring nature of a 200 year-old Constitution. Students will discuss the organization of the government at the federal level, and may also compare those structures to state and local government structures. In particular, the unit will ask students to consider the reasoning behind laws, how they impact their daily lives, and the benefits and drawbacks of making decisions (legislating) by consensus. In a government that was established to consider equal representation and power of the majority, students will define consensus and evaluate how citizens work together within this social contract. Students, as lawmakers, will further their understanding of the way in which the Framers established the lawmaking process. Experiencing a model senate provides perspective as to how citizens are represented, how decisions are made, and the importance of consensus.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Citizenship

Unit 4

Individual Rights vs. the Common Good

As students prepare to understand both individual rights and the common good, they will need to analyze how the Constitution and government are both limited and powerful as they aim to protect the citizen. Students will learn that the federal powers, as outlined in the Constitution and interpreted by the Judiciary, guide the operations of the US government. The function and purpose of the Judicial Branch in the democratic process, as well as its organization and connection to consensus, will be of focus. Through the study of this branch, students will break down how judicial review potentially exerts the power of change in Government and contributes to the enduring nature of a 200 year-old Constitution. Students will learn, through case study, how the Supreme Court has broad power in government through its rulings on specific Constitutional issues, as established through precedent in landmark cases. Concepts of judicial activism, judicial restraint, and strict vs. loose constructionism will help students to dissect some of these past court rulings and determine how the court may rule on future issues. The unit will ask students to apply these lessons, from the judiciary to the Bill of Rights, to their own lives, weighing the balance between Individual rights and the common good. Specific Constitutional rights and liberties, as outlined in the First and Fourth Amendments, will be used to exemplify this balance between personal freedoms and the common good.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Engaging in Global Issues

Unit 5

How to Win Elections and Influence Voters

Essential to the health of the American political system is an active and informed electorate. Throughout this unit, students will take an introspective journey through the political system, reflecting on their own roles as active participants in the election process. Beyond the historical components of voting and voter rights, student focus will be to investigate the factors which influence an individual's political attitudes and actions to better understand voter behavior. Students will question and research political, economic, social, and geographic influences on voter behavior. In addition, a comprehensive look at political parties and their platforms will guide students as they dissect the structure and elements of elections, the campaign process, and campaign finance. With a focus on the Presidential election, students will break down elements of the Electoral College system and effectively analyze what is required to both manage and win a Presidential campaign. Students will be able to recognize and assess many factors, including the role of the media, which influence the political process and voter consensus. Through inquiry and informed action, students will apply concepts from the unit and manage a campaign which looks to develop a political approach to a contemporary civic issue.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Citizenship

Unit 6 Revisiting the Problem

Effective, productive citizens work toward solving problems and addressing issues. They may or may not achieve their long term goals. However, their efforts often pay off by making others aware of the situation, by building constituencies who will further move the cause, or by inspiring others to be more engaged. In this reprise of Unit 1, students will return to their initially identified problem with a deeper knowledge of the powers and pitfalls of American government. Students have collected artifacts and written journal entries about the connections between each unit's materials and their problem, gaining a greater understanding of its background, scope, and overall societal costs. Students will now employ these connections to develop a Civic Action Plan (CAP) to affect positive change. This mini unit may also encompass the exam.

21st Century Capacities: Presentation, Perseverance, Citizenship

US History

UnitDescription

Unit 1

A Panorama of American Eras

The 11th Grade United States History course will allow for students to focus on the major themes of equality, economics, and foreign policy to help drive and define the Nation's history in the 20th and 21st centuries. This introductory "launch" unit focuses students on many of the reading, research, writing, and historical thinking skills being applied throughout the course. Throughout the two trimesters, using a "workshop-style" model, students will have several days each unit to work with their peers and the instructor as they build a culminating opinion/argumentative research paper and performance-based project in the final unit of the course. Designated activities will also be dedicated to an application of these skills and reflection on the process. In addition, a focus on inquiry, research, sourcing, and communication skills will also be assessed as students will be required in subsequent units to participate in classroom discourse as they challenge their peers' thinking.

Specifically, this initial unit also includes a foundational "panoramic" analysis of American history based on an arrangement of chrono-thematic eras from the nation's founding through the modern day. Students will trace and analyze key events, statistics, and development of ideas/innovation over eras to both determine patterns and inspire research topic selection. Workshop sessions and deeper exploration of historical eras in American history help the students build the foundations of research and opinion/argumentative writing. An end of unit performance allows students to create an informative visualization of a significant era in American history which will be referenced by the class throughout the course.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Synthesizing

Unit 2

Liberty and Equality

The focus of this unit design is to have students challenge themselves and their thinking about why, despite incredible historical efforts of marginalized groups, inequalities have perpetuated for African-Americans, Latino Americans, women, Native American/Indians, LGBT groups, groups with mental or physical disabilities, etc. Students will use an inquiry approach to analyze the definition of equality/inequality, different natures of oppression, alternative approaches for overcoming oppression, the variety of obstacles that have stood in the way of equality, and what subsequent actions a particular group might take. In order to develop a deeper understanding of these trends, students will investigate what equality really means to the individual. Students will question why all Americans have not always experienced equality and what was necessary to change conditions and achieve equality and justice. The unit will conclude with students evaluating their understanding of past civil rights movements and applying this to present obstacles of inequality. The student will be able to make informed decisions through the planning of a grassroots movement designed to challenge a specific form of inequality (i.e. gender pay gap). Reading, research, opinion/argumentative construction, and historical thinking skills will also be of focus during several workshop sessions as students develop a thesis statement for their final research topic, begin to make connections to the themes from unit 2, and select a related book which will be read throughout the course. Students will also choose groups for the collaborative end of course project.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Perseverance

Unit 3

Economics and the Land of Opportunity

In this unit, students will research major economic trends impacting the US Economy in the 20th and 21st centuries. Through this understanding of historical economic policy, internal factors, external influences, and resultant socio-economic trends within the US population, students will contemplate what a "healthy economy" might really look like and the role that government has played (and should play). A closer look at labor, market, and other historical factors impacting the economy allows students to understand that almost everything can be measured using a cost/benefit analysis. Every economic choice has the potential to impact others and students will investigate these impacts from multiple perspectives. Each concept will have students grappling with compelling questions through the lens of a particular economic focus, ranging from the individual family unit to the global economy. Understanding socioeconomic factors leading to opportunities and/or disparity in wealth will also help students develop an end of unit personalized case study which evaluates future educational investments and career paths. Through the analysis of data, texts, first-hand experiences, and in-class tasks, students will be equipped to make informed decisions based on forecasted economic trends in the United States and the global economy. Continued reading, research, opinion/argumentative writing, and historical thinking skills will also be of focus during several workshop sessions as students further develop a thesis statement, make connections to the themes from unit 3, and begin outlining their writing based on guiding questions in preparation for a draft paper.

21st Century Capacities: Analyzing, Decision Making

Unit 4

American Foreign Policy

As American society developed throughout the 20th century, the country's position in the world substantially changed. Inevitably, like all nations, the United States continues to balance its global interests while holding true to its founding principles. With the rapidly changing dynamics of the 21st Century information age, the intricacies of diplomacy, collective security, and globalization challenge the US government and its interests and actions around the globe. A major dilemma, which has become more apparent with global extremism and polarization, is that of determining a particular approach or course of action and the potential impacts of that action. Included in the evaluation of foreign policy is the importance of geographic reasoning and its influence on diplomatic decision-making. This unit encourages students not only to develop a clarity in their underlying beliefs about foreign policy at specific "decision points" in the 20th century, but also to understand the impact of the various foreign policy tools available to preempt, respond to, and influence contemporary global issue and conditions. Continued reading, research, opinion/argumentative writing, and historical thinking skills will also be of focus during several workshop sessions as students further develop their thesis statement and outline, make deeper connections to the themes from unit 4, and begin working with peers and the instructor to draft a paper and reflect on the process.

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Engaging in Global Issues

Unit 5

A Panorama of American Legacies

The culminating unit in the US History course has the dual purpose of finalizing the research paper and also helping students understand how contemporary American culture reflects the themes explored throughout the course. Students initiated the process of research and opinion/argumentative, thesis-based writing in the "launch" unit of the course. Through regular workshop experiences, students have developed and applied historical thinking skills as they prepared to construct a final draft for their research paper. The culminating stages in this workshop process will be for the student to produce a final paper and an annotated works cited, which has incorporated major themes from the course, independent research assignments, and review/feedback from both classmates and instructor

For the latter half of the unit, students will inquire as to how the course has helped define Americanism and American Culture. What does it mean to be an American and how have we defined ourselves based on the lessons and experiences from our nation's story? An essential aspect of the United States History course has been to dive deeply into the course themes of social and political equality, economics, and foreign policy, requiring that students draw on foundational historical knowledge, research, and historical thinking skills. Through a functional definition of Americanism and American Culture, including its progression and evolution or consistency, students will use this summative "landing" unit as they evaluate and present an analysis of social, political, economic, and foreign policy issues from throughout the US History course. Students will essentially be using the US history course to better understand who we are today as an American people. The "Legacy Project" a final performance-based assessment, will ask students to serve as consultants to the business and entertainment community, communicating the importance of these cultural themes throughout American history

21st Century Capacities: Synthesizing, Product Creation

High School Electives