Standards and Backwards Mapping

“In the real world, no teacher is there to direct and remind you about which lesson to plug in here or what strategy fits there; transfer is about intelligently and effectively drawing from your repertoire, independently, to handle new situations on your own. Accordingly, we should see an increase, by design, in problem- and project-based learning, small-group inquiries, Socratic Seminars, and independent studies as learners progress through the curriculum across the grades” (McTighe).


Subject and Grade Level:

This Unit is geared towards a 5th grade social studies class.

Standard Of Use:

5th grade AERO Social Studies Standard :
(Connections and Conflict) Students will understand causes and effects of interaction among societies, including trade, war, and diplomacy.

Identify and use primary and secondary sources to
examine the past and present.

Explain the major ways groups, societies, and nations interact with one
another (e.g., trade, cultural exchanges)

Reasons For Choosing This Standard:

“The primary purpose of social
studies education is reflective inquiry, that is, students will develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills in the
context of relevant, “real world,” engaging issues. By acquiring these skills, students can then enter their working and
adult lives equipped to resolve problems of their own and of their communities and their nation.” (AERO Social Studies Standards)

  • Studying our ancestors and other cultures helps student understand how we, as a species, have developed.
  • As a social science major I have a personal fondness for social studies.
  • History and other social studies subjects are often presented in a boring fashion. This creates dislike and disinterest for students in such an important area. If done in a creative and interactive way, perhaps interest can be cultivated.
  • History can be tedious, especially ancient history. However, it is an important skill for students to examine how the past has affected the future.

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3 Proficiencies Demonstrating Mastery of Unit:

  1. Use textbooks and internet resources to piece together information about Greek life, Geography, and city-states.
  2. Identify how Greek city-states interacted with each other (trade, war, diplomacy).
  3. Explain the differences between various types of governments that existed in ancient Greece (Monarchy, Oligarchy, Representative Democracy), and determine which is most similar to the current U.S. government.

3 Assessments To Show Adherence With Standard:

  1. Exit ticket with essential questions: Examples of questions could be –

– What is a city-state?

– Did the city-states get along with each other?

-Besides having lots of coastline, Greece has a very hilly and mountainous                                    interior. How did this affect its development?

2. Quiz: Students can take an in-class quiz, or the teacher might assign a take-home or             online quiz (potential online quiz).

3. Reflection on simulation: The activity 4 listed below, can actually serve as an          informal assessment in and of itself. It requires students to interact with each other as if they were separate Greek city-states. However, to solidify the content perhaps a written reflection, or a class discussion of the simulation would be beneficial.

3 Instructional Learning Experiences or Activities:

  1. Social Media Campaign Project: Then Objective of this activity is for students to work together in groups to create a commercial and social media campaign to “sell”, “promote”, and convince their classmates that their Greek city-state is a desirable travel destination. They will need to identify and explain the key characteristics of their particular city in an appealing fashion.
  2. Greek Life Web Quest: Students will be given a map, mind map, or timeline that they need to fill out. The teacher will create a web-quest that could be completed as a homework assignment, or perhaps as in-class group work.
  3. Mind Map or Essay: The students will work in pairs and will describe and compare various forms of government by writing a short essay or creating a mind map examining the “How would you survive in Sparta or Athens”.
  4. Greek City State Simulation: In this activity, students will take on different roles as members of a Greek city-state. Each member has a specific job to do and will work with other members in the city-state to complete assigned tasks. Students will employ collaborative, creative and communication skills to develop an understanding of ancient Greece by participating in a simulation game,
    using the internet to gather information and answer assigned questions on ancient Greece, identifying and label major cities and landforms on a map, and
    constructing a monument following instructions and using specific materials. This simulation could be used as supplemental activity for a unit on Ancient Greece. It could also be used partly for test preparation, where students gather information and answers to questions in preparation for a test. This simulation will promote and enhance the 21st Century skills of collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and communication and could serve as a perfect end of unit activity.



McTighe, Jay. (6, December 2012). Common Core Big Idea 4: Map Backward From Intended Results. Retrieved from

McTighe, Jay. (27, January 2014). Greatest Lesson Learned. Retrieved from

@. (2013). Backward Design Definition. Retrieved October 15, 2016, from



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