The C4 (Common Core Cross Curricular Research Writing Project) of 2013-14 brought teams of teachers together to write interdisciplinary curriculum units focused on research writing.  Below are three units from that project that each include

  • a unit overview
  • scope and sequence
  • subject-area lessons
  • additional resources
  • student work samples


What’s Eating You?: the Industrialization of Food
Lincoln St. Alternative School of Birmingham, 9th grade ELA, social studies & science

463191981This trimester-long unit explores the sustainability of processed foods. How does the media influence our vision of processed foods? What social and economic changes have allowed us to process food, and what are the implications? How does processed food affect our bodies? This unit investigates these questions from different perspectives in science, social studies, and ELA. Students will learn about what goes on during the processing of food so they can make more informed decisions about food choices. Students will also create a “working” definition of sustainability and explore how it applies to the food choices they make. The unit culminates with students developing a research paper in which they use all of the class artifacts to support a claim made about sustainability and food.


What Does it Take to Survive Civil War?
Oak Park Prep Academy, 8th grade social studies & ELA

177420891Through an interdisciplinary approach in Social Studies and English Language Arts, students will be immersed in the life and times of the American Civil War in this four-week unit. Through intensive study of the causes and outcomes of the war, students will be able to identify with and view this time period through the eyes of the people who lived through the war. Students will research individuals at the local, state, and government levels to gain perspective on the hardships and tough decisions that the North and the South had to endure.

Students will read a wide range of texts, from primary documents and documentaries to young adult novels, all of which will increase their literacy skills. Students will view the Civil War from both sides and from all walks of life. They will read and view accounts from well-known participants, such as General Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln, to the regular citizens of Gettysburg. At the end of this four-week unit, students will use their knowledge to create a multimedia presentation from the perspective of an individual who experienced this war and was forever changed by it.

World War II: Barbarism & Conflict
Berkley High School, 9th grade ELA & history

137161065Students will simultaneously study World War II in their US History course and Lord of the Flies in their English course. The study of both the war and the text will take approximately 3-4 weeks. The common thread between the text and the war is the progression towards barbarism within individuals and societies. In the war, the Axis powers become more and more aggressive, striking out at individuals and nations. The Allied powers progress down the same path of barbarism, attempting to justify their actions for a great good. Students will periodically make cross-curricular connections about these sources of societal breakdown when analyzing Lord of the Flies. When the units conclude, students compose an essay in which they compare aspects of the historical conflict to the events in the novel.