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.
For more information about the samples, contact
Standards and Instructional Support
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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