Curriculum and Instruction

Providing a guaranteed and viable Curriculum (what is taught) and Instruction (how it’s taught), ensuring that teaching and learning are consistently Rigorous, Inclusive, Meaningful, and Engaging (RIME) for all students that we serve.

About Curriculum and Instruction

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction at the School District of Philadelphia is dedicated to fostering academic excellence and equitable educational opportunities for all students. Our office plays a crucial role in shaping instructional programming across the district.

New Core Instructional Resources

In the 22-23 SY the Office of Curriculum & Instruction led a 5-phase process to adopt new core instructional resources as one of the evidence based strategies to accelerate academic achievement in ELA, Math, Science, English Language Development, and Supplemental Special Education.

Since then, the School District of Philadelphia has committed $70M toward implementing new, high-quality core instructional resources over the next five years. We will use a phased approach to implementing these new resources, starting with new K-12 math resources for the 2023-2024 school year. Visit the Math tab (on the left) to find more information and resources. Find more details about our commitment to new core instructional resources here.

Our Goals & Primary Responsibilities

The Office of Curriculum and Instruction (OCI) supports and empowers teachers and leaders to provide a high-quality education for every student.

We utilize a collaborative process of:

  • developing inclusive curricula with, and for, School District of Philadelphia teachers
  • guided by standards for each grade level for students, which
  • describes what should be taught across various content areas.

Our goals: 

  • provide a guaranteed curriculum (what is taught)
  • provide instruction (how it’s taught)
  • provide a viable curriculum (the time to teach it)
  • ensure teaching and learning are consistently Rigorous, Inclusive, Meaningful, and Engaging (RIME) for all students that we serve

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Curriculum and Core Instructional Resources Adoptions and Collaborative Implementation
  • Aligning and vetting Supplemental Instructional Resources
  • Evidence-based Instructional Practices

Our curriculum elevates the 5 Pursuits named in Dr. Muhammad’s text, Cultivating Genius. Educators teach in ways that create spaces for celebrating our differences and building self confidence.

Instructional Minutes

Provide and enforce instructional time per subject for maximum impact. Click Here to download the below chart.
Instructional Minutes

English Language Arts (ELA)

English Language Arts (ELA) instruction is guided by standards for each grade level that determine what students should be taught in reading and writing.

In ELA, our approach is grounded in the “Science of Reading” which is an evidence-based approach to how the brain learns to read. To develop strong oral and written language skills, we focus instruction and assessment on:

  • Creating a passion for reading
  • Creating excellent writing and grammatical skills
  • Enhancing critical thinking and presentation of thoughts
  • Practicing different types of writing, such as opinion pieces, informative essays, and narratives, to develop our communication skills
  • Engaging in research projects, learning to gather information from various sources and cite them accurately
  • Participating in discussions, actively listening to others and respectfully expressing our own thoughts and opinions

Grade/Course Specific Overview:

Kindergarten → 1st Grade

Students begin their literacy development with a focus on language development. This age group:

  • explores the alphabet, listening closely to the sounds within words, playing with rhymes, and matching words to their initial sounds, with a focus on paving the way for joyful and proficient reading
  • engages with diverse stories and read-aloud books, students expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding of the world
  • learns to engage in meaningful discussions with their peers, responding to comments, asking questions, and learning how to engage in discourse
  • begins to experiment with writing, using a combination of drawings and writing letters to express information, ideas, and emotions

2nd Grade –3rd Grade

These students grow as independent readers and writers. They:

  • strengthen their reading skills by memorizing patterns learned in earlier years and building oral fluency
  • expand their vocabulary through phonics and exploring root words in order to learn the meaning of new words
  • explore traits of figurative language, and work to understand phrases beyond their literal interpretations
  • begin to tackle more complex stories and informational texts, which broadens their knowledge across subjects like science, history, and the arts
  • use writing as an exciting outlet to express ideas using their expanding vocabulary, crafting clear sentences and paragraphs across various topics

4th Grade → 5th Grade

Students continue to focus on developing their reading skills by engaging in a wide and diverse range of challenging fiction, informational texts, and more. They also:

  • deepen their understanding of subjects through research projects
  • analyze and respond thoughtfully to historical, scientific, and artistic sources
  • pay more attention to vocabulary, variations in word meanings, including synonyms, antonyms, idioms, and words with multiple meanings
  • strengthen their language skills by utilizing roots, prefixes, and suffixes to decipher complex words
  • develop their ability to provide clear and detailed explanations of information found in books
  • practice crafting effective summaries, book reports, essays, and character or event descriptions through frequent writing assignments

6th Grade → 8th Grade

During middle school, students refine their skills in analyzing, defining, comparing, and evaluating ideas through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. They also:

  • apply their skills to comprehend more challenging books and articles across various topics
  • cite specific evidence, use precise academic vocabulary and background knowledge in their writing
  • expand their vocabularies and incorporate new words into their stories, reports, and essays
  • support their own arguments by presenting relevant evidence in both in writing and through speaking, enhancing their ability to reason and evaluate others’ use of textual evidence

9th → 12th (English I-IV):

At this level, students are expected to comprehend written materials more deeply and use a broader range of textual evidence to support their inferences. They focus on:

  • making connections between complex ideas within and across books, essays, articles, and other resources, exploring different aspects of the same topic
  • extensive reading of increasingly sophisticated literature and literary nonfiction, to expand their cultural and literary knowledge while gaining a deeper understanding of references and imagery
  • developing the skills to produce well-reasoned writings and presentations supported by evidence
  • actively writing and engaging in diverse conversations, and practice articulating and defending claims

These literacy practices extend beyond English Language Arts and find relevance in other disciplines such as science, technical subjects, history, and social studies, allowing students to acquire knowledge and skills through the careful study of texts and topics.

Resources

Resources for Families

(coming soon)

Resources for Students

(coming soon)

Math

Our math classrooms are spaces that foster curiosity, critical thinking, and joy. We are all mathematical thinkers, and we learn math by doing math – by solving problems and engaging in rich discourse with our peers. Students engage in sense-making and develop conceptual, procedural, and applied mathematics understandings.

New Core Instructional Resources
In 2023, Imagine Learning LLC/Illustrative Mathematics (IL/IM) became our primary high-quality instructional material. Learn more about IL/IM. Find additional resources below.

Our Approach

We approach common core state standards for math in a new way, that lets math become more than just numbers; it becomes a way to think and understand the world around us. In our classrooms, we:

  • focus on understanding the concepts behind the math problems, rather than just memorizing steps and formulas
  • learn to think critically and solve problems using logic and reasoning, not only to find the right answer but to also explain how we got there
  • work on real-world math problems that show us how math is used in everyday life
  • collaborate with others, discussing our ideas and learning from each other

Grade/Course Specific Overview:

Kindergarten (K)

Students will work to:

  • know the number names and the counting sequence
  • count the number of objects and compare numbers
  • understand addition as “putting together” and “adding to” understand subtraction as “taking apart” and “taking from”
  • build their understanding of number facts that add up to 5 and by the end of the year, work with numbers 11-19 to form the foundation of place value

First (1st) Grade

Students will represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction. They will:

  • understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction
  • add and subtract within 20 and work with addition and subtraction equations
  • work to extend the counting sequence and understand place value using place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract
  • measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units

Second (2nd) Grade

The most critical work in mathematics requires students to represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction, solidify their fluency of addition and subtraction within 20, and understand place value and use it to add and subtract. These big buckets of work can be taught together and a number line is one of the most powerful models to support this work.

Third (3rd) Grade

Students are working in 4 major skill areas:

  1. developing an understanding of multiplication and division and strategies for multiplication and division within 100
  2. developing an understanding of fractions, especially unit fractions (fractions with numerator 1)
  3. developing an understanding of the structure of rectangular arrays and of area
  4. describing and analyzing two-dimensional shapes

Fourth (4th) Grade

Students will learn to use the four operations, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, with whole numbers to solve problems and generalize place value understanding for multi-digit whole numbers.
They also:

  • use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic
  • extend their understanding of fraction equivalence and ordering to build fractions from unit fractions by applying and extending previous understandings of operations on whole numbers
  • develop understanding of decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions

Fifth (5th) Grade

Students will understand the place value system and perform operations with multi-digit whole numbers and with decimals to hundredths.
They also:

  • use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions
  • apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to multiply and divide fractions
  • understand and explore concepts of volume and relate volume to multiplication and to addition

Sixth (6th) Grade

Students will understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
They also:

  • apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions
  • apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers
  • apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions
  • reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities
  • represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables

Seventh (7th) Grade

Students will analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematics problems.

They also:

  • apply and extend previous understandings of operations with fractions to add, subtract, multiply and divide rational numbers
  • use properties of operations to generate equivalent expressions
  • solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions

Eighth (8th) Grade

Students will work with radicals and integer exponents.

They also:

  • understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines and linear equations
  • analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations
  • define, evaluate, and compare functions and use functions to model relationships between quantities
  • understand congruence and similarity using physical models, transparencies, or geometric software

Algebra I

In Algebra I, students formalize and extend what they learned in the middle grades. This course offers more challenging content as well as strengthening the development of critical thinking skills. Students will:

  • continue to summarize and analyze data, using one-variable Statistics
  • compare and contrast data sets by using summary statistics and their graphical representations
  • continue to analyze graphs as well as interpret them in the context of real-world situations
  • continue to simplify algebraic expressions, then use their skills to solve one-variable equations and inequalities and graph the solution sets
  • solve systems of equations and inequalities -with one or two variables; using a variety of graphical and analytical strategies
  • continue to explore linear and exponential models individually before comparing and contrasting them
  • expand their understanding of functions with the introduction to quadratic functions
  • use two-variable statistics to make inferences with mathematical tools such as correlation and regression

Algebra II

In Algebra II, students focus on expanding their knowledge and skills with linear, quadratic, and exponential functions. They also:

  • extend their repertoire of functions to include polynomial, rational, and radical functions
  • work closely with the expressions that define the functions
  • continue to expand and hone their abilities to model situations and to solve equations, including solving quadratic equations over the set of complex numbers and solving exponential equations using the properties of logarithms

Geometry

In Geometry, students focus on formalizing and extending their geometric experiences from the middle grades. Important differences exist between this Geometry course and the historical approach taken in Geometry classes. For example, transformations are emphasized early in this course.

Students also:

  • explore more complex geometric situations and deepen their explanations of geometric relationships, moving towards formal mathematical arguments

Science

In the School District of Philadelphia, every student, every year, will work as a scientist to make sense of the world, so they can change it for the better. Students will be prepared to imagine and realize any future they desire.

Science in Our Classrooms:

  • Science is powered by student ideas: Learning is ignited and illuminated by students’ changing ideas about science.
  • Students are the scientists:Students do most of the scientific thinking, communicating, and investigating in the classroom.
  • Learning is three-dimensional: Students meet research-based state and national standards by engaging Science to understand the specific Science Ideas using the thinking tools of Science Concepts.
  • Phenomena drive the learning: Students’ science learning is motivated and sustained by the need to make sense of phenomena: puzzling, observable events that require the mastery of science ideas to explain fully.
  • Understanding is developed over time: Curriculum and instruction are intentionally planned to support students as they revise and refine their understanding of science ideas, practices, and concepts over time, whether over the course of a unit, throughout a school year, or across their K-12 journey.

Instruction is equitable and responsive: Science classrooms are culturally and linguistically responsive, leveraging the brilliance and diverse experiences of our students as resources to help everyone learn science.

Resources

Resources for Families

Studies show that family involvement is one of the biggest predictors of success in school.

  • Seek opportunities to explore science at home and in the community with your child.
  • Encourage them to keep asking questions, just like scientists.
  • Let them know you don’t have all the answers, and together try to find them.
  • Get involved at your child’s school and connect with teachers to learn more about changes in science instruction as they occur
  • Help inspire children by exploring careers in STEM fields.

Click Here to check out the National Science Teaching Association’s parent page. You’ll find tips to support science learning at home, links to student competitions, recommendations for science trade books, and much more.

Social Studies

The goal of Social Studies at the School District of Philadelphia is the continued development of students who can think critically, question thoughtfully, listen deeply, reason soundly, and have a passion for engaging in the world informed by an understanding of community responsibility.

Guiding Principles of Social Studies Instruction

Social Studies in Our Classrooms

  1. Collaborative Learning Communities. Working together and sharing ideas to learn from each other, boost confidence, and develop important skills that allow students to grasp diverse perspectives and actively participate in their local communities.
  2. Dialectical Thinking & Multiperspectivity. Looking at problems from many angles, considering history’s impact on people’s actions, and preparing for real life where different answers and perspectives have value, even when people disagree.
  3. Critical Literacies. Understand the world by actively thinking about important global issues, forming unique opinions, and promoting fairness, understanding, and respect for different ideas and diverse cultures.
  4. Community Transformation. Teaching students to think, talk, and understand different people to gain skills for collaboration, and fostering a sense of social responsibility to effect positive change in our neighborhoods.

5. Inclusive & Equitable Practices. Creating a classroom where every student feels respected and included, where fairness and equal participation are emphasized, regardless of appearance or background.

Grade/Course Specific Overview:

K-5: Elementary

Grades K-3 

In the early grades (K-3) social studies classes, students discover important ideas like geography, culture, history, civics, and economics. Students:

  • Explore interesting subjects such as understanding their own identity, the community they live in, the importance of rules and taking responsibility
  • Create maps of their neighborhood and school area, which helps them understand geography
  • Learn how to ask questions and talk to their classmates and family members to explore different cultures and family history

Grades 4-5 

In grades 4-5, students explore the big ideas of culture, geography, history, civics, and economics by studying the history and culture of Pennsylvania and the United States up to 1860.

This in-depth study allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural aspects of their state and country during this significant time period.

6-8: Middle School

In grades 6-8, students learn about geography, culture, civics and economics of different parts of the world:

  • Grade 6 focuses on the Eastern Hemisphere, including Africa and Asia.
  • Grade 7 shifts to the Western Hemisphere, including Europe, Latin America, and North America.
  • In Grade 8, students return to the United States, starting from its early days before colonization and leading up to the Civil War.

High School U.S History (Reconstruction to Modern Era)

In high school, we learn about the events and ideas that made America what it is today. We explore important history topics and practice thinking critically and communicating effectively.

Quarter 1:

  • We learn about the Civil War and why it happened, looking at Abraham Lincoln’s changing ideas and how technology affected the war.
  • We study important documents like the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, which changed America.

Quarter 2:

  • We explore how the economy worked, immigration, and ideas about society during the Gilded Age.
  • We look at how America started to become more involved in the world and how its decisions affected other countries. Students do a research paper on issues from this time.

Quarter 3:

  • We study World War 2 and what happened after, including why the war started and what America’s foreign policy was.
  • We learn about how people reacted to big events like the Holocaust and the Cold War, which was a time of tension between powerful countries.

Quarter 4:

  • We study social movements from the 1960s and 1970s, like the Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and Gay Rights Movements.
  • We talk about how some people pushed back against these movements, and compare the stories we’ve heard about this time against what really happened.

African American History

The new African-American History lessons want to take students on an exciting trip through history. Coursework begins with ancient African civilizations and continues to modern times. With activities including essays and discussion, we’ll learn about sustaining culture, standing up for what’s right, and how people saw the world back then

World History

In our studies, we explore important topics like culture, resistance, and conquest. We talk about economics and what makes an economy good or bad, delve into war and ask if it’s something that humans always have to do, and look at the challenges our world faces today, like climate change and inequality, and how we can make a better system for a sustainable planet

The themes and essential questions are:

Beliefs, traditions migrations and resistance

  • How is culture and the denial of culture used as a tool for conquest?
  • How are culture and language used as acts of resistance?

War and militarization

  • What is worth fighting for?
  • Is war inevitable between humans?

Capitalism, Imperialism and Struggles for Liberation

  • What is an economy of extraction?
  • How does a sustainable human-centered economy look?

Confronting the new world disorder: human rights and social movements and the challenges for climate change, fascism, economic inequality, and globalization 

  • How is the climate’s current state related to the Western economic system and culture?
  • What system do we need to create a sustainable planet?

Social Sciences: Civics and Economics

Civics

We explore the history of democracy in the United States and the struggles against unfair systems. We learn about how to be active in our communities and understand democracy.

  • We study citizenship and look at how people around the world fight for their rights
  • We talk about how economies and military power can affect the world and people’s lives.
  • We listen to the stories of real people and learn about their cultures and experiences in the context of United States citizenship rights

Economics

We learn about how money and resources work, how some people have more than others and how this affects the world. We explore:

  • How power and privilege impact money and resources in society.
  • The history of the modern global economy and listen to voices that are often not heard.
  • The idea of scarcity, which means there’s not enough of something, and how different societies have tried to solve this problem.
  • What kind of economy do we need for a better future and how to make sure we have what’s most important to us.

Resources

Resources for Families

(coming soon)

Resources for Students

(coming soon)

Nutrition

The Nutrition Team (a.k.a. Eat Right Philly) is fully funded through a federal grant – Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (PA SNAP-Ed). We use a Collective Impact approach alongside six external organizations in order to reach as many schools as possible. Our goal is to help students and families make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose physically active lifestyles consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s MyPlate.

Programming for Students

The Eat Right Philly Program supports schools in creating a healthy environment for students to learn and grow. Programs offered include engaging nutrition lessons that support the School District of Philadelphia’s Academic Framework; Project-based learning initiatives; Nutritious food tasting opportunities; Hands-on gardening experiences; and health and wellness promotional school-wide events. Eat Right Philly staff ensure that students are learning the importance of making healthy food and physical activity choices that lead to behavior change in a supportive and inclusive environment.

Resources for Families

Find free food in Philly – Use this link to for the City of Philadelphia Food Finder

Our program isn’t just for students – we also work to engage parents and caregivers to improve their knowledge and skills around eating healthy and being active.

Our Family Wellness Site has a Recipe Index, which we are adding to all the time. Check out our Sweet Potato & Black Bean Quesadillas – one of our favorites. Then, explore our Families Move Together page for ideas to get your whole family up and moving.

Resources for Staff

Schools are a key environment for encouraging healthy student behaviors, which in turn impact academic achievement. That’s why a large part of our work involves supporting schools and staff in improving wellness for their students.

Our School Wellness Site has plenty of fun and interactive resources staff can use – including lessons on nutrition, materials for movement break activities and information on farm field trips available for classroom and schools.

Our External Partners

The Eat Right Philly team includes School District of Philadelphia staff within the Office of Curriculum and Instruction, as well as staff from the six community organizations. We all work collaboratively to serve as many schools and students as possible. Although there are unique aspects to how we each deliver programming, we all work toward the same goals by performing similar activities – educating students and families, supporting schools in creating healthier environments, and improving access to healthier choices in communities.

To find out which organization provides programming in your school – click on the  “Find Your School’s Provider” section. You can access each organization’s contact information by hovering over their logo below.


This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through the PA Department of Human Services (DHS). To read the full funding and nondiscrimination statement, click here.

Health, Safety & Physical Education

The Office of Health, Safety & Physical Education exists to support the students and staff in The School District of Philadelphia by providing curricular and instructional guidance and supports. Physical Education works to advance physical literacy through use of the thoughtful practice of movement related activities. Health Education focuses on content and skill development to create health literate individuals.

Instructional Time Expectations for Health and Physical Education

GRADE

K

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

HEALTH

30min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk

PE

30min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk 45min 1x/wk

PE= Physical Education

  • Minutes listed above are the minimum requirements for these content areas and grade levels.
  • Expected minutes are based on available programs offered at the school.
  • Health education may be taught by the classroom teacher in Grades K-5. Grades 6-8 should receive instruction by a certified Health and Physical Education teacher.

Health Education

National Standards

  • STANDARD 1 – Students will comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.
  • STANDARD 2 – Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.
  • STANDARD 3 – Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information and products and services to enhance health.
  • STANDARD 4 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • STANDARD 5 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use decision-making skills to enhance health.
  • STANDARD 6 – Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal-setting skills to enhance health.
  • STANDARD 7 – Students will demonstrate the ability to practice health-enhancing behaviors and avoid or reduce health risks.
  • STANDARD 8 – Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal, family, and community health.
Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards. (2007). National Health Education Standards, Second Edition: Achieving Excellence. Washington, D.C.: The American Cancer Society.

General Learning Outcomes/experiences for students in Health Education

coming soon

Physical Education

National Standards

  • STANDARD 1 – The physically literate individual demonstrates competency in a variety of motor skills and movement patterns.
  • STANDARD 2 – The physically literate individual applies knowledge of concepts, principles, strategies and tactics related to movement and performance.
  • STANDARD 3 – The physically literate individual demonstrates the knowledge and skills to achieve and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical activity and fitness.
  • STANDARD 4 – The physically literate individual exhibits responsible personal and social behavior that respects self and others.
  • STANDARD 5 – The physically literate individual recognizes the value of physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression and/or social interaction.
SHAPE America. (2013). National Standards for K-12 Physical Education. Reston, VA: Author.

General Learning Outcomes/experiences for students in Physical Education

  • K-5: instruction and movement related to the development of motor skills
  • 6-8: instruction and movement related to continued development of motor skills and small-sided games
  • 9-12: instruction and movement related to continued development of motor skills and individual, small and/or large-sided games

Activity Categories and suggested content

*These are suggestions and not intended to limit the variety offered to students. Offerings may vary based on individual school resources and facilities.

  • Dance And Rhythm– creative movement/dance, ballet, modern, ethnic or folk, Hip Hop, Latin, line, ballroom, social, square, Drums Alive
  • Fitness Activities– Pilates, resistance training, yoga, running, fitness walking, cardio-kick (without contact), Zumba and exergaming
  • Lifetime Sports: Invasion Games- rugby, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, soccer, handball, speedball, guard the pin
  • Lifetime Sports: Net/Wall Games- volleyball, handball, badminton, tennis, pickleball.
  • Lifetime Sports: Fielding/Striking Games- baseball, softball, kickball, cricket
  • Lifetime Sports: Outdoor Pursuits- geocaching, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, Adventure activities
  • Individual Performance Activities: gymnastics, skating (roller/ice), track and field, wrestling
  • Individual Performance Activities: Target Games- bowling, bocce, horseshoes, croquet, shuffleboard, golf, archery

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC)

The Health, Safety and Physical Education (HSPE) Office works closely with our Offices of Nutrition Education, and Student Health Services to focus on development of the Whole Child (CLICK HERE for Centers for Disease Control explanation of Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model). We work to expand understanding and implementation of the SDP Student Wellness Policy.

STEAM

The goal of STEAM is the development of literacy in individual subjects as well as in specific transdisciplinary competencies necessary to empower students to tackle the challenges of today and build our tomorrow.

As we live in a continually evolving science and technology-based society, the District must help students develop

  • core subject knowledge, creativity,
  • the ability to think computationally,
  • a fluency with data,
  • an awareness of social and cultural perspectives,
  • the capability to transfer knowledge and skills across disciplines,
  • the power to understand and express their identities, and
  • skills in problem-solving, communication, and collaboration.

The STEAM office is focused on developing systems of support for schools and networks that are interested in growing STEAM opportunities for their students. This includes curriculum development collaboration, professional learning, resource sharing, makerspace development, and extracurricular programming.

STEAM Overview

STEAM – an acronym encompassing science, technology, engineering, the Arts, and math – is an interdisciplinary approach to education grounded in the development of identity, intellect, criticality, skills, and joy. The goal of STEAM is the development of literacy in the individual subjects as well as in specific transdisciplinary competencies necessary to empower students to tackle the challenges of today and build our tomorrow. While the District has no standardized structure for a STEAM program, many schools have developed STEM or STEAM classes, built makerspaces, or developed interdisciplinary projects across classes.

The primary goal of SDP STEAM is to develop STEAM literacy in order to create successful, fully engaged citizens of the world. The SDP defines STEAM Literacy using Ghouldy Muhammed’s Historically Responsive Literacy framework including the following five dimensions: identity, criticality, skills, intellect, and joy.

  • Identity – Students who are literate in STEAM have developed social and cultural awareness, investigated and validated a sense of who they are and what they want to do, envisioned themselves in STEAM roles, and taken steps to realize their visions
  • Criticality Students who are literate in STEAM have developed an understanding of power, inequality, equity and oppression. Students who are literate in STEAM are provided the tools, understanding, and practices necessary to investigate and act upon systems of oppression
  • Skills – Students who are literate in STEAM have developed proficiency in the following core competencies: collaboration, communication, computational thinking, critical thinking, creativity, data and digital literacy, design thinking, ethical work, problem solving, STEAM mindset, and transfer
  • Intellect – STEAM literacy means having the ability to investigate and act on the challenges facing students’ communities, both local and global. This ability requires students to meet standards in science, math, ELA, Art, computer science, and technology.
  • Joy – Creating, designing, expressing, investigating, collaborating, and tackling problems facing our world are powerfully joyous experiences. Students who are literate in STEAM have gained the ability to find joy in these activities.

Definitions

STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Makerspace – According to Diana Rendina of Renovated Learning, a makerspace can be defined as “a place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials.”

Resources for Families

Online

  • TeachEngineering.org – Collection of vetted STEAM activities for a variety of ages
  • Make Code – Learn how to use the BBC Micro:bit
  • Coding: Scratch, Code.org
  • Tinkercad – Tinkercad is a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. There is also a wonderful simulation system called Sim Lab.
  • STEM Projects from MIT – Variety of advanced STEM projects
  • Unreal Engine Learning Kit – Use this free real-time 3D creation tool to design and simulate physical systems, including lessons to create a virtual rube goldberg device

Materials

Books

Extracurricular

Family Support Video Library

Math
Select your student’s grade level to view Math Family Support Videos

Virtual Introduction to Imagine Learning LLC/Illustrative Mathematics

Something Missing? Broken Link?