organized into a cohesive unit?
In this era of standards, many schools and school districts have identified specific content that should be taught at specific grade levels in specific courses. However, teachers are still free to organize this content into units of their design. Even when a school district or school identifies specific units that must be taught, teachers still have a great deal of flexibility in terms of how those units are structured.
There is no one best way to design a unit. This chapter addresses the various ways that a teacher might construct a unit and the lessons within that unit. To a great extent, this design question is a metaquestion. It organizes the previous nine.
In our classroom scenario, Mr. Hutchins's well-structured unit on Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not happen by chance. Rather, he thought it through from beginning to end and planned accordingly. He started by identifying the focus of the unit. He concluded that this topic was particularly conducive to analyzing the beliefs and values that underlie political decisions—in this case the decision to use atomic weapons to end World War II. He knows there are no simple answers to such issues, but he also believes that such issues will continue to face humankind for the foreseeable future. He decides that the centerpiece of the unit will be a task that requires students to examine the values and beliefs that led to the decision to use atomic weapons and then requires them to take a position on whether those values and beliefs are still prevalent today. He creates a learning