The Shape of a Unit.

Each unit is different. Each unit has a different shape. 

Some of them are straight linear lines, start at point A, pass point B, end at Point C. 

Some of them are more root-like, branching off into many different directions.

We just finished planning a unit with the big idea of CONSERVATION. This concept suggests a lot of different pathways to inquire down, so we wanted to define it to constrain the inquiry a bit so we can really dig into the Central Idea (which we keep in our mind as teachers but don't share with students). We came up with 4 main aspects of the big idea (in verb form); to PRESERVE, to PROTECT, to USE WISELY, to SPREAD. 

We then thought of an example of each, a case study to help understand the concept. These two inner circles will represent the guided inquiry aspect of the unit, where we as teachers can model and assess and make sure the concepts are understood. 

The outer circle represents the students own inquiries.  Using the verbs they can narrow down their inquiry, adding a WHO, WHERE, and HOW.
  • An inquiry into how the city is trying to PRESERVE temples and shrines in Kyoto
  • An inquiry into how organizations are trying to SPREAD indigenous cultures
  • An inquiry into how nations are attempting to PROTECT endangered species
  • An inquiry into how communities are trying to USE their timber resources WISELY
Using the Sustainability Compass as a lens, they can choose an issue and dive in, looking at CONSERVATION through various perspectives.