Curriculum Design and the Common Core
Students learn mathematical concepts and skills through hands-on lessons. These activities are active, tactile and visual, enhanced by digital tools, and inspired by real-world applications. Through analytical and creative math learning strategies, students develop their abilities in justifying why, for example, a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from. These strategies also make skills learning fun and challenging.
Additionally, math projects will intersect with themes in science, social studies, and language arts. At the end of each Helical Model module, students design and build projects guided by Common Core mathematical standards of coherence, rigor, and focus. Lessons are designed so students are prepared to demonstrate mathematical understanding with real-world applications.
In Social Studies, students explore concepts intersecting the 10 social studies themes, 11 social studies disciplines, and geographic/historical contexts as they relate to the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. At the end of each Helical Model module, students complete projects of their own design, demonstrating tenets of civil society and sustainable growth.
Context and thematic strands for each grade level provide deeper and connected understanding of issues, for example, health care, education, or race and equality. Students use social studies disciplines as frameworks for information gathering and as “analytical lenses” to develop insightful connections about society, community, and individuals.
Students create an appreciation of the multi-disciplinary nature of issues and contexts, while developing awareness of the knowledge tools in the social sciences that guide their understanding of people and society. Our curriculum strategy provides hands-on experiences that expose students to professional careers in the social studies fields.
The 11 disciplines in social studies are anthropology, political science, archeology, psychology, economics, religion, geography, sociology, history, philosophy and law.
Science learning involves the intersection of crosscutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and science and engineering practices. At the end of each Helical Model module, students design and build projects demonstrating the intersection of the natural sciences, engineering and technology, then reflect on the greater environmental and societal impact.
Context and thematic strands provide deeper and connected understanding of scientific and engineering concepts and practices as outlined in the New Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Themes and contexts are determined based on the academic, social-emotional, and physical developmental abilities of students in each grade level.
Students are exposed to physics, chemistry, biology, and earth and geological sciences through simulations, games, experiments, conversations, presentations, observations, reflections, and design activities. These strategies demonstrate multimodal approaches, which connect science to diverse learning styles while respecting students’ prior knowledge, building a community among learners.
Language Arts & Literacy
Our language arts curriculum weaves core disciplines, including mathematics, into English language learning, literacy, and media communications. Through reading, writing, and speaking literary genres and informational texts in fiction and non-fiction, students gain a broader and deeper understanding of concepts, processes, instructions, imaginative worlds, figurative language, and the human psyche.
The Helical Model enables students to build communication and comprehension skills using language in both oral and written forms. They gain understanding of literary genres, while growing literacy skills as they intersect with content. Students publish their own literary works, contributing to our library of books, graphic novels, picture books, scientific and social research, documentaries, creative writing, movies, poetry anthologies, and whatever new iterations they come up with as tastes and styles evolve.