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Curriculum Grades 6-12

Understanding the Units 

Indiana Academic Standards define what a student should know, understand, and be able to do. These standards serve as a foundation for the curriculum but are not a curriculum on their own. The Indiana Academic Standards are supported through grade-level curriculum maps and a selection of curriculum materials to support these maps. Below are instructions and information that may be helpful when reviewing Noblesville Schools curriculum guides.

When you open a specific curriculum guide, you will see a brief summary of the grade level’s content standards and a link where you can find the standards on the Indiana Department of Education. From there, you will see a table with the following row:  


Unit, transfer goals, enduring understandings, essential questions


This row has columns with information relevant to the grade level and subject area that you are reading about. If you would like to learn more, the terms are defined below. 

Important Terms

A Unit is one focus area within the course of study. Usually standards are centered around a specific theme, time in history, or overarching idea. Units will vary in length depending on the planned goals and learning experiences. Units connect together to complete one year of student learning. 

Transfer Goals are the long-term goals of all education. Students truly understand and excel when they can take what they have learned and apply it to a new situation independently. A long-term transfer goal for a physical education course might be to understand and make time for daily personal fitness. A long-term social studies transfer goal might be for students to apply the lessons of history when considering issues of the contemporary world. 

Enduring Understandings are the main ideas within a unit of instruction. These are not facts by themselves, but rather, new skills and knowledge that help students apply what they are learning.  

Essential Questions are also a critical part of NS units. They are not answerable in a single lesson or a brief sentence. Rather, their aim is to get students thinking, to spark more questions, and they are intentionally open-ended. These qualities help engage students intellectually and develop their higher-order thinking skills. Consider the following essential question:

“What are common factors in the rise and fall of powerful nations?” 

This question is open-ended and does not have one correct answer. Rather, it is a complex question that requires students to draw from their new understandings and learn to use evidence to support their response. Ideally, it is a question that a teacher would come back to throughout the unit. It’s an exciting thing to witness when students’ responses and considerations around an essential question grow throughout a unit! Essential questions are not used as a primary teaching tool, but rather, as a way to get students thinking and interested in the unit at hand. 

Additional Considerations

As you read through the units relevant to your child’s current learning, please remember that these documents are meant to serve as a snapshot of the year. Teachers work very closely with their grade level teams and subject area teams to discuss how learning went and make necessary adjustments. Therefore, unit order and content may adjust as the year goes on. These documents will be updated at semester’s end. If you have further questions about what your child is learning, please contact your child’s teacher.