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Understanding by Design Model for Curriculum Development or BACKWARD BY DESIGN

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Understanding by Design Model for Curriculum Development or BACKWARD BY DESIGN in a Nutshell!). Backward by Design means just that………… Start with the end in mind!. Here’s the UBD order in planning:.

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here s the ubd order in planning
Here’s the UBD order in planning:
  • Look at your state standards and indicators- how can they be clumped together to make real connections for students?
  • From those “clumps”, what are the over-riding themes or concepts that you want students to know and remember long-term?
  • What questions would you ask to lead students to those long-term understandings?
What kinds of assessments would accurately assess what students know and can do? Will these assessments assist the teacher in driving his/her instruction? Should the assessments be different based on needs and abilities of students?
  • What varied instructional strategies will the teacher choose to insure that students will be successful?
  • What student activities will insure student success?
here s the district format in planning order
Here’s the district format in planning order:
  • Standards and Indicators
  • Enduring Understandings
  • Essential Questions
  • Instructional Objectives
  • Student Assessments
  • Teaching Strategies
  • Student Learning Activities

EU’s - Enduring UnderstandingsWhat are the Big IDEAS for your unit of study? What concepts do you want the students to know five years from now regarding the standards and content?

essential eq s questions or focus questions lead the students to the enduring understandings
Essential (EQ’s) Questions (or Focus Questions) lead the students to the enduring understandings
  • EQ’s are usually the “how” and “why” questions (higher Bloom’s levels)

that lead to enduring understandings EQ’s encourage students to THINK.

  • EQ’s are often debatable. Why or why not?
  • EQ’s change with each unit and concept.
standards and indicators
Standards and Indicators
  • State standards and indicators should be “clumped together” to help you determine your themes, big ideas, and essential questions.
  • You have to really know them to be able to do this!
instructional objectives
Instructional Objectives
  • The student will be able to know and do…..
student assessments
Student Assessments
  • I will KNOW that my students understand the EU’s and standards because they can do………
  • How will you know that they know? What will it look like?
  • Assessments can be a written test, a demo, a project, a performance, oral responses, etc.
  • There are formative (along the way) and summative (cumulative) assessments.
instructional teaching strategies
Instructional Teaching Strategies

What varied strategies and structures will the teacher choose to ensure that students understand the concept…. few examples:

  • modeling, demos, use of manipulatives, visuals, games, interactive questioning, explanations, charts, conferencing
  • Whole group, small group, pairs, etc
instructional student activities
Instructional Student Activities
  • What activities will the students do in order to practice and learn the standards so they can have a deep and enduring understanding of these higher themes and concepts?
  • What will the teacher do to support the learning?
  • Vygotsky’s Learning Cycle:

“I do, you watch… I do, you do…. You do,

I watch….. You do.”


Examples of EU’s: Theme or Concept –Health and NutritionEU’s: A balanced diet is important for physical and mental health.Dietary requirements differ for individuals based on weight, age, activity level, and overall health.

Ex. Theme or Concept - HistoryEU: History is a “story” and who tells the story affects how it is presented.

Theme or Concept – Reading for MeaningEU: Reading involves making sense of the text, not just decoding words.EU: Sometimes authors convey ideas indirectly, and the reader must infer their meaning.


Theme or Concept - StructureEU: All governments have defined structures and functions which interrelate to provide a governing system for citizens.EU: The structure of an organism may inhibit or enhance its ability to make survival adaptations.

Example of EQsArt - How does art reflect culture?Language Arts - Why do we write?Geography - How does place influence how we live?
so why is it backwards to begin with the end in mind you would
So, why is it Backwards? To begin with the end in mind, you would:
  • study the standards and indicators first in order to know what the themes and enduring understandings should be.
  • know what your focus is (instructional objective) to create essential questions.
  • know what your assessments should look like before planning the student activities.
  • know what you are going to do to model, demo, support student learning.
what s the enduring understanding here

What’s the Enduring Understanding here?

The Backward by Design model helps your students