Using global sustainability as a context and framework, Facing the Future promotes effective teaching and learning through well-tested curriculum models and strategies.
Curriculum Content Framework
Facing the Future uses a unique content model approach consisting of a three part framework that includes global issues, sustainable solutions, and positive action.
- Global Issues
Global issues are those that pose significant challenges for humanity and the planet today, such as climate change, energy, food security, and governance. To effectively participate in our interconnected world, students students need to be equipped with more than just knowledge about key concepts. Our resources teach students systems thinking, critical thinking, media literacy, and communication skills.
- Sustainable Solutions
Infused throughout Facing the Future curriculum are examples of sustainable solutions to address global challenges through remedies that attempt to balance the interconnections between environment, society, and economy. These are real-world examples of people (especially youth) taking action and of sustainable technology that is already being used around the world.
- Positive Action
Students can become easily overwhelmed by the complexity and magnitude of global issues. Offering stories of hope and the positive actions that people of all ages around the world have taken provide students with the vision, confidence, and motivation to take action themselves. Engaging students on these issues through action and involvement is critical to developing citizens who know they can make a difference.
Facing the Future curriculum materials draw from the tenets of a number of proven pedagogical models, including:
- Simulations, problem-based, and inquiry-based learning
Many of Facing the Future's lessons use simulation learning to create a sense of empathy while increasing students' knowledge and understanding. In these simulations, students have a visceral experience with a global issue. When they are faced with a real-world scenario, students experience the impacts and solutions of global issues in an interactive and compelling way. During a simulation learning suddenly becomes personal.
- Differentiated instruction
Facing the Future curriculum maximizes opportunities to use differentiated instruction strategies and help close the achievement gap. It incorporates a variety of teaching methods to reach a diverse student population. These include a mixture of direct instruction and constructivist learning; individual, small group, and whole class projects; kinesthetic and art-based activities; verbal and written responses, and a variety of formative (during instruction) and summative (post instruction) assessments to both gauge and direct student learning.
- Understanding by Design
Facing the Future's activity-based lessons are closely aligned with the Understanding by Design framework. Lesson design incorporates big ideas and essential questions. The lessons include multiple forms of assessment to let students demonstrate their understanding in various ways. They provide opportunities for students to act on the six facets of understanding. Facing the Future lessons include authentic performance tasks calling for students to demonstrate their understanding and apply knowledge and skills. The lessons prompt students to revisit and rethink important ideas to deepen their understanding.
- Interdisciplinary/integrated curriculum
Facing the Future curriculum uses global sustainability as a context for teaching the core content areas, including social studies (history, geography, civics, and economics), science (life, physical, and environmental), math, reading, and writing. With a real-world, contextually-based curriculum, Facing the Future provides opportunities for students to make connections between themselves, their community, and the contemporary world.
Read our Curriculum and Program Pedagogical Model for a complete description of our approach.