Step 4: Summarize Your Unit:

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  • Description/Overview
    The written unit description/overview should include a scope and relevant purpose for the unit’s focus of study. The description/overview should clearly detail the broad topics or facts to be examined as well as what the students will know, understand, and be able to do as a result of studying the unit.


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  • As you begin to write the description/overview of the unit, ask yourself the following questions:
    • What will I title my unit in order to engage learners and reflect the centering topic of study?
    • How will you describe the unit of study so as to capture the imagination of other teachers who may use this unit as well as invite students to engage in learning?
    • Are there any compelling questions that drive inquiry?
    • What understandings will students arrive at as a result of the unit?


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  • Review the following examples of unit summaries. Consider how these are intended to engage both a teacher and a student in the study.
    • Kindergarten: Who we are is ultimately a reflection of where we come from, what we are raised with, and the experiences that change our lives. In this unit, students will learn about the factors that shape their young lives and the ways that people, places, and things can change over time, remaking who they are.
    • Third Grade: There is a growing recognition from educators and other leaders that to be effective citizens, students must have a basic understanding of the economic world around them. In this unit, we will equip students with the knowledge and tools necessary for them to understand the basic principles of economics and how to apply the basic needs and key elements (wants and needs, supply and demand, trade and interdependence, etc.) to real world situations so students can make informed choices in their roles as consumers, producers, savers, and voters. Student learning will focus on the basic needs within their county and/or region and natural resources in their environment.
    • Sixth Grade: A variety of factors influence the way that people lived and interacted in the past. Events and ideas from the past continue to shape contemporary societies. Those events and ideas often form patterns that help us understand not only the past, but the present as well. In this unit, we will examine the historical foundations of contemporary societies around the world.
    • Civics and Economics: Sometimes long-term goals can serve the dual purpose of helping people and making money. Beginning the journey of making money is a process of establishing financial goals, a budget, and a means of saving. These steps help people prepare for the important step of investing money to help reach those long-term goals. Investing money is saving money in a way that often, though not always, earns money. Its purpose is to earn a financial return. In this unit, we will see how both individuals and the U.S. government make money; how the government tries to ensure that people are protected from abuses; and why financial planning should not only focus on spending and saving, but also on how to help others.


  • Once you have reviewed the above examples of unit summaries, craft a quality summary for your own units. Remember that you want one which will draw in another teacher using the unit while also engaging the student learner.

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