Curricular Resource Public Review

Please click on the links to review the curriculum proposals.

Elementary Social Studies

Over the course of the last few academic school years, we have been implementing the Illinois Social Science Standards at the elementary grades in order to address the changes in social studies education. Over the course of the 19-20 and 20-21 school years, the elementary teams worked to implement the new social science standards using team-vetted resources. When we first adopted the standards, the resources available at the time were not adequately aligned to the rigor of the standards.  During the 21-22 school year, we reopened the search for a curricular resource. In order to guarantee mastery of the Illinois Social Science Standards in a systematic and sequential manner with vetted and structured materials, we would like to purchase Inquiry Journeys for grades 1-5.

Inquiry Journeys provides the infrastructure to implement inquiry-based learning through sustained investigations. Additionally, Inquiry Journeys supports culturally responsive instruction and literacy skills through research-based practices. Instructional units are laid out in a model that allows students to build inquiry skills in a developmentally appropriate manner and will shift instruction to a more engaging model in which the students do the majority of the thinking in order to make meaning. Inquiry Journeys also provides professional learning throughout the application of the program, which will support the knowledge of all staff. The program is almost entirely web-based, including lesson outlines for teachers and text/video sources allowing teachers to make full use of the 1:1 environment in the schools.

As students move throughout the elementary grades, the inquiry skills will continue to be developed, providing a solid foundation for social studies learning in middle school and high school. The learning that takes place in social studies classes will give students the skills they need to become civically engaged adults and navigate the world as it continues to develop.

Middle School Science

In 2014, Illinois adopted the NGSS in order to address the updates in science education. When we first adopted the standards, the resources available at the time did not fully support three-dimensional instruction, otherwise known as storylining. A storyline is a coherent sequence of lessons built around phenomena that provides a path toward building understanding by using science and engineering practices. During the 20-21 school year, the middle school science team worked to increase the number of engineering opportunities and developed new rubrics that better supported three-dimensional assessments. During the 21-22 school year, OpenSciEd completed all of the middle school storylining units, and the science team began to investigate the units. In order to guarantee mastery of the NGSS through the implementation of high-quality, peer-vetted storyline units with assessments that expect students to engage in science and engineering practices to demonstrate understanding, we would like to adopt OpenSciEd for grades 6-8.

OpenSciEd provides units of instruction developed and vetted by educators that offer students the ability to experience hands-on investigations and connect concepts throughout and within the scientific disciplines. Additionally, OpenSciEd materials are based on research regarding how students learn, what motivates learning, and the implications for teaching. Instructional units are organized around bundled standards that support investigation concerning specific phenomena. “Bundles” are groups of standards purposefully grouped to provide an endpoint to instruction. The units will shift instruction to a more engaging model in which the cognitive demand is on the students for sense-making. The program materials are downloadable from the OpenSciEd website.

The units are built to support future learning as students move through the middle grades. The skills built in science classes will give students the skills they need in order to become problem solvers and sense makers in a rapidly changing world. Science instruction that focuses on questioning, investigating, and problem solving not only engages the students in science learning that will ensure they have the ability to figure out the world around them but also builds the foundational skills for careers yet to be invented. 

Please contact Alex Carson at [email protected] with any questions.