Standards and Backwards Mapping

It is increasingly understood that interdisciplinary learning enhances deeper learning. As part of my personal learning goals, I’m therefore trying to create units that meaningfully integrate multiple subject areas. Recently I launched a unit ambitiously titled: European Union, as it seemed an ideal and relevant theme for integrating aspects of History, Economics, Politics, and Geography. To avoid the risk of having too much breadth, while overlooking depth, I’m intending to anchor the unit with specific learning objectives. Below you will find the core standard we will be pursuing across the unit, ideas for assessing the attainment of the standard, and learning experiences to enable access to the standard.

Context: An international secondary school in Hong Kong. Grade 9 students. The subject is Individuals and Societies.

Unit title: European Union

Stage 1: What is the desired result? At the end of this unit, students will be able to   Analyze how cooperation and conflict influence political, economic, and social conditions. (Common Core Plus, History Standard for Grade 9, 2.12g).

This particular standard was selected as it anchored the huge topic ‘European Union’ into manageable and significant themes such as ‘cooperation,’ and ‘conflict,’ while embedding these themes into economic, political, and social contexts. Moreover, as the targeted students are in grade 9, analytical skills are increasingly critical to academic success.

The following factual, conceptual, and debatable questions will drive the inquiry:

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 6.33.46 pm

Using the KUD framework for unpacking standards, by the end of this unit, students will: Know four forms of political and economic cooperation amongst European states, and two sources of conflict. Understand how conflict influences the political context of various member states. Be able to reach evidence based conclusions on variations in economic development amongst three EU member states.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence. How will I know students are attaining the desired result? 

  1. Using a Google Forms Quiz to check fact-based understanding of the four systems of cooperation amongst European states.
  2. Comparative line graph analysis of variations in economic development amongst three member states of the EU.
  3. A debate on the topic: Should the U.K. exit the EU on June 23rd? Students will be divided into four different interests groups, each representing a different perspective on “Brexit,” both pros and cons.

Stage 3: Learning experiences

What learning experiences will enable the students to meet the desired result? 

  1. Students complete a K-W-L chart to assess prior knowledge and learning goals for the unit
  2. Complete a jig-saw activity, in which four groups of students are assigned to research and present to classmates on one of the four forms of cooperation in the European countries.
  3. Create a Popplet concept map for identifying what is meant by “economic conditions,” “political conditions,” and “social conditions.”
  4. Using the Twitter hashtag #globalinteractions, students will retweet articles posted by @ Europe Union, which discuss how cooperation or conflict has influenced economic, political, and social conditions. They will individually discuss the selected article and justify their categorisation.


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