Over the fall/winter of 2013-14, the content specialists in the Standards and Instructional Support office worked with educators across the state of Colorado to build instructional units based on select curriculum overview samples. Teams of teachers authored units for each grade and content area of the Colorado Academic Standards.
Below, are sample instructional units for 7th grade mathematics, reading, writing, and communicating, science, social studies, comprehensive health, visual arts, drama/theatre, dance, and music. The units include learning experiences, teacher and student resources, assessment ideas, and differentiation options.
As examples, these units are intended to provide support for teachers, schools, and districts as they make their own local decisions around the best instructional plans and practices for all students. Click here to view additional 7th grade curriculum overview samples and write your own instructional units using the Colorado based template.
Unit Title: Nutrition For a Healthy Life (Englewood School District)
Unit Description: This unit looks at an adolescent’s support systems and influences such as (family, peer and media) and how they impact a person’s decisions for making healthy food choices. Additionally, the unit will allow students to explore the importance of developing personal support systems to maintain overall physical and emotional wellness. The unit culminates in the creation of a public service announcement that will ask students to express what they have learned about living a nutritionally balanced life.
Unit Title: Poetry In Motion (Colorado Ballet, St. Mary’s Academy, Colorado Dance Education Association, and Littleton School District)
Unit Description: In this unit student partners will select a short poem with a structure such as Haiku, Limerick, or Sonnet. The students will research common choreographic forms such as ABA, Narrative or Variation on a Theme. Students will then compose a dance with movement that symbolizes the artistry, meaning and intent of the selected poem, using a common choreographic form to structure the dance. Students will reflect on cultural and traditional influences of compositions in dance and literature. Students will then perform duet dance pieces for peer audiences. This unit culminates in a final dance performance that symbolizes the meaning and intent of a student selected poem.
Unit Title: Improvisation and Scene Creation (Denver County School District and Adams 12 Five Star Schools)
Unit Description: This unit uses improvisation in the creation of a scripted piece adapted from other source material. Across the unit, students will explore various literary plots (e.g. fairy tales) through improvisation activities to inform story and character development. Group collaboration will lead to the culmination of the unit in which students create a scripted scene derived from a story told from a perspective different from the original narrative (the point of view of a different character or an inanimate object in the story).
Unit Title: Data Daze (Burlington School District)
Unit Description: Data Daze takes students on a journey into random sampling. Students learn to make inferences about a population based on sample data. Students are also introduced to the idea of variation through the mean absolute deviation. This is the first unit in which students explore the connections between samples and populations. These ideas will be extended at the high school level and linked to the concept of standard deviation.
Unit Title: R U Proportional? (Ellicott School District and Lake County School District)
Unit Description: Through participation in this unit, students will be able to develop a stronger understanding of personal financial literacy by applying ratios and percents to real-world situations. Learning experiences will include practice with calculations involving tax, tips, miles per gallon, rate of pay and simple interest. Concepts include proportional and non-proportional relationships, unit rate and unit cost, slope and the connection between y=kx and graphs of proportional relationships.
Unit Title: It’s About Time – The Power of Folk Music (Denver Public Schools and Metro State University of Denver)
Unit Description: This unit is an exploration of American folk compositions and how musical artists utilize expressions of circumstance to influence change. During the duration of the unit, students will consider the use of social justice themes in folk music, in both traditional and popular forms and how these songs influence culture and document the tension/conflict in historical and cultural events. Across the unit students will critically analyze the context and purposes of patriotic songs, folk songs, ant-war songs etc. The unit culminates in asking the students to create an original song about a social issue or cause they feel passionate about.
Unit Title: Analysis of Performance (Center Consolidated School District, Del Norte Consolidated School District, and Monte Vista School District)
Unit Description: This unit cultivates the analysis and evaluation of movement patterns. The focus is on students creating an evaluation tool and drawing conclusions for the tool's effectiveness in order to analyze a sequence of cues describing a movement pattern. Through this process students will gain a higher understanding for the value of assessment and the role it plays in providing feedback. This unit culminates with students working within a group to create a protocol for evaluation of movement patterns.
Unit Title: Everything's an Argument (Wray School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on understanding how authors use claims, evidence, and persuasive devices so that the students can then use these techniques within their own research, writing, and speaking. By critically analyzing arguments and persuasive presentations for validity, accuracy, and clarity, students will become more effective consumers of information. During the unit, students will analyze professional texts and culminate the unit by developing their own persuasive presentations in which they advocate for implementing a Service Learning Project of their choice.
Unit Title: Adaptations of Life Over Time (Ellicott School District and Hanover School District)
Unit Description: This unit begins with the introduction of Darwin’s scientific research based on his theory of evolution through natural selection. Students are then introduced to how natural selection occurs in an environment, how small changes results in the evolution of a species, and then transitions into evidence that supports the theory of evolution. The unit then shifts to discuss possible scenarios that can impact evolution and speciation and how humans are impacting the future of evolution. This unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to publish a book within a book series about how and why natural selection and adaptation occur within various environments.
Unit Title: Energy Transformations in Living Things (Ellicott School District and Hanover School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on energy transfer between photosynthesis and cellular respiration. It begins with a review of cellular organelles (vacuole, mitochondria, cell membrane, cell wall, chloroplasts, etc.). It then progresses into photosynthesis (using the chemical equation), cellular respiration, and their interconnectedness within the environment. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to create a formal presentation to NASA executives who are thinking about colonizing Mars.
Unit Title: Geologic Events through Time (Ellicott School District and Hanover School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on discovering the history of Earth by interpreting rock layers and their contents (e.g., fossils, composition of rocks). Students will explore how major events are used to divide history into eons, era, and periods, as well as how fossils are formed. This unit culminates in a performance assessment where students are paleontologists asked to investigate a geologic column and create a geologic time scale.
Unit Title: It’s All About You: From Cells to Organisms (Woodland Park School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on the structure and function from the cellular level to the organism within all living things including single-cell and multi-cell organisms. This unit describes homeostasis and interconnectedness of cellular organization to system functions. Beginning with cell theory, across the unit students investigate macromolecules, pro- and eukaryotic cells, active and passive transport, levels of organization, the structure and function of body systems, and the interconnectedness amongst systems. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to analyze the impacts of organ failure or disease on organ systems.
Unit Title: Mixtures and Substances (Lake County School District)
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is on properties of matter and investigating and analyzing mixtures, solutions, and substances. Beginning with filtration, purification, solubility, boiling point, density, magnetism, and physical size, across the unit students investigate how matter can be combined and identified based on these properties. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to explore the potential for a new mining site in their area.
Unit Title: Shake, Rattle, and Roll (Ellicott School District and Hanover School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on plate tectonics at the three types of plate boundaries (convergent, divergent, transform) and the various geologic events, including land formations that occur due to their interactions (earthquakes, trenches, mountains, volcanoes, etc.). It then progresses into the results of their interactions, and their impacts on communities. The unit culminates in a performance assessment where students will take the role of a worldwide news cast team member that is reporting on 2 events (volcanic eruption, earthquake, tsunami, etc.).
Unit Title: Rules, Roles, and Religions (Ellicott School District)
Unit Description: This unit begins with students hypothesizing the traits that characterize a civilization. Students will then be introduced to the geographic location of the ancient river civilizations and how the nomadic peoples transition to settled peoples in these locations. Using this introduction, students will then begin a case study of each of these river civilizations by looking at the ways humans interacted with other humans in these areas (e.g. the social and political structures) and the ways humans interacted with ideas (e.g. the cultural legacies). The unit culminates with the students developing a “history trunk” full of artifacts, activities, maps and information for classrooms around Colorado to study these river civilizations.
Unit Title: Haves and Have-Nots (Ellicott School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on the Medieval to Renaissance era. It begins with the students analyzing the need for protection after the fall of the Roman Empire. This includes the students examining the feudal structure and the power of the Church. Then, students will examine the cultural rivals of Christian Europe and Islam, which will lead students to exploring the Crusades. After exploring the Crusades, students will analyze the major societal and political changes that occurred, which led to the decline of feudalism and a change in thinking throughout Europe. Finally, students will take a look at how the Renaissance and Scientific Revolution were examples of these changes in thinking. The unit will culminate into a performance assessment which has students creating a newspaper that highlights the significant changes that occurred during this time period.
Unit Title: All Roads Lead
To From Rome… and Greece (Ellicott School District)
Unit Description: This unit focuses on the classical civilizations, Greece and Rome. The unit begins with an introductory look at the legacy of Greece and Rome to engage students’ prior knowledge. Students will then discover the geography of Greece and analyze its impact on the development of their political and social structures by studying the Minoans, Mycenaeans, Athenians and Spartans. To transition to Rome, the students will investigate the cultural diffusion of Greece in order to explain the establishment of the Roman Republic and Empire. Next, students discover the political structures and culture of Rome. The culminating assessment has students creating a travel blog that takes travelers around the world to sites influenced by the Greeks and Romans.
Unit Title: How Much Is that Colony in the Window? (Woodland Park School District)
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is the economics, technologies and innovations from the Middle Ages through the colonial era. Students explore the allocation, access, availability, and distribution of scarce resources, how new technologies changed the way people worked, communicated, and competed for the scarce resources. Additionally, students will study the ways in which trade, access to goods and resources, and competition led to a “global economy.” Finally, they examine the ways in which industrialization and technological advances encouraged colonization and the effects of colonization on colonized peoples. The unit culminates in a G7 Summit where students work in teams to develop a Memorandum of Understanding addressing global economic concerns.
Unit Title: Ch…Ch…Ch…Ch…Changes (Mesa County School District)
Unit Description: The focus of this unit is the continent of Africa. Students will investigate and analyze the economic (such as access to and availability of resources), social (the proliferation of cultures, interdependence), political (unrest) and/or environmental reasons why people migrate. The time frame encompassed in this unit is Ancient Kingdoms (e.g., Egypt, Kush, etc.) to European imperialism and the impact that the movement of peoples on native peoples/cultures. Teachers may choose to make connections to present day Africa in order to illuminate the continued conflicts that have their roots in European imperialism and/or the forced movement of people.
Unit Title: One of the Certain Things in Life... Taxes (Woodland Park School District)
Unit Description: This unit begins by connecting supply and demand to consumer choices. Then it continues into why and how citizens pay taxes and the types of taxes they pay as well as what personal finance responsibilities citizens have. Finally, students will have an opportunity to apply their knowledge of income and taxes with a simulated tax paying experience. The unit culminates with students writing a dialogue between a tax preparation professional and a new taxpayer.
Unit Title: Ways of Seeing: The Power of Visual Literacy - Urban Art Focus (Denver Public School District and Colorado State University)
Unit Description: In this unit students explore the concepts of street art, as well as discuss the various societal perceptions of street art and why perceptions vary. Students explore street art, including street artists, various terms associated with street art, and visual literacy/culture. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to collaboratively develop, propose, fund, and execute a public expression of art.
Unit Title: Ways of Seeing: The Power of Visual Literacy - Advertising Focus (Colorado Springs School District, Woodland Park School District, St. Vrain School District and Colorado State University)
Unit Description: In this unit the students will explore advertising in popular culture and how “truth” can be manipulated by cultural image-makers. The students will begin by learning the history of Pop Art and moving to the study and analysis of advertisements and cultural icons. Students will become familiar with various stages of putting an Ad or package design, label together (graphic design systems). Students will be naming a product, creating logos, slogans/jingles, graphic mascots and studying the art of typography. Understanding and planning how all the pieces create a whole and how the process of art making can be applied to commercial art. Expressive features and characteristics of art and metaphor are key elements throughout this unit. The unit culminates in a final project in which students design a 2-D advertisement.
Unit Title: Personal Geographies (Poudre School District, St. Vrain School District and Colorado State University)
Unit Description: In this unit students explore the concepts of personal artwork such as self-portraiture and its use to share personal messages and/or ideas. Students will explore artists known for their use of personal subject matter and determine their own messages based upon research of their family culture, traditions, environmental influences etc. The unit culminates in a performance assessment that asks students to produce a final personal geographic artwork that shares a personal message and aspirations for their future.
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