Advance from acquiring skills to using them to build knowledge.

The BASIS Charter School Curriculum for grades 1–3 comprises courses in language and literacy, math, civics, history, science, and physical education/martial arts. Our enrichment curriculum includes courses in engineering & technology, fine arts (visual arts, performing arts, and music), and Mandarin. Students in grades 1–3 learn in integrated, 85-minute blocks of core academic content, supplemented by their enrichment courses. Courses are the same in each of the primary years so that important skills and concepts can be revisited in increasing complexity and detail. “Mastery of the basics” is a key component of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum, and early consistency is critical.  Students are encouraged to draw connections between disciplines, and to the real world, throughout the curriculum and in a weekly Connections course, detailed below.

In grades 1–3, BASIS Charter School students are co-taught by two expert teachers,  The first is a Subject Expert Teacher (SET), who uses their deep knowledge of that discipline to design and teach their own lesson plans. The second is a Learning Expert Teacher (LET), who focuses on effective pedagogy, travels from class to class each day with their cohort of students, and co-teaches with each SET.

The role of the LET is to make sure that students understand what they are taught and that every individual student is working to the absolute best of their personal abilities. The LET provides a high level of individualized progress monitoring. This unique level of student-teacher engagement allows teachers to quickly identify students who are struggling, assist them in getting any extra support they need, and prevent them from falling behind. Importantly, LETs communicate with parents regularly to discuss progress.

The synergy of the SET and LET facilitates a relatively rapid transition from instruction in foundational skills and knowledge to independent thinking and active learning in the primary grades. These teachers work together to help students make interdisciplinary connections through the reiteration of key concepts across the curriculum. This fosters the progression from acquisition to application of skills to build knowledge. It also prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the program for grades 4–12 in the BASIS Charter School Curriculum.

In our unique Connections course, students have the opportunity to demonstrate ingenuity, teamwork, and mental agility. Students utilize a hands-on approach to create solutions to scenario-based problems that require the use of knowledge and skills learned in other classes. The course is designed to increase interpersonal skills, build critical thinking skills, and allow students to showcase their creative minds.

Inspired in part by the extraordinary innovations of Apollo 13 astronauts to maintain life-support systems in a crisis through active problem-solving, Connections presents students with highly creative challenges. Students learn to build prototypes and build connections to gain a deeper understanding of the topics they’re learning.

Below you will find a sample scenario for a grade 1 Connections course:

Grade 1

Theme: Egypt

In Humanities class, students learn about other communities and pinpoint the similarities between ancient peoples and modern cultures. For instance, students study ancient Egypt and cover topics such as the development of agriculture and early societal structure, mythology, mummification and beliefs in the afterlife, pyramids, temples, art, and hieroglyphics.

Scenario: Ancient Marketplace

“You are living in ancient Egypt. You must acquire the goods on the list given to you by trading with merchants from other Egyptian cities. Use the materials given to you to create items you can trade with the other cities.” Students are broken up into groups, each representing a different ancient Egyptian city. Students receive a list of goods to acquire and a set of materials that they can use to create tradeable goods. Ancient Egyptians used a barter system instead of money—so students do the same, exchanging their goods with students from other cities, and learning about economics in the process.