High School Courses and Units

At high school, each Inquiry By Design course of study is made up of six units featuring detailed, but flexible, lesson plans aimed at building critical, standards-aligned, grade-level literacy skills. Each unit is built around challenging grade-appropriate texts and spiraling cycles of work marked by reading, writing, and collaborative small-group and whole-class discussion. All grades of Inquiry By Design’s high school course of study feature

  • Independent reading initiatives focused on selecting books, setting goals, and tracking progress.
  • Compelling short fiction as a basis for in-depth orientation to the process of developing and writing text-based arguments.
  • Error journal work that supports and reinforces grade-appropriate language conventions by having students identify, track, and solve grammatical errors in their own writing.
  • Engaging informational texts to help students learn to determine and analyze the development of central ideas and arguments.
  • Challenging literary nonfiction to build the strategies, skills, and tenacity to deal with difficulty head on.
  • Substantial, scaffolded research-based writing projects where students try out the methods, style, and structure of some of the smartest and most engaging contemporary writers.
  • Multi-text studies marked by close reading, text-based writing, and collaborative discussion that support students to compose their own arguments, narratives, reports, and essays on complex issues.
  • Repeated, supported summary writing practice opportunities to ensure growth in this critical form of writing.

Assessment-Driven Writing Instruction (Grades 9-12)

High School Overview
(Grades 9-12)

Grade 9 Units

  • Foundations For Inquiry (O’Connor and Canin)
  • Reading Intelligence (Informational Texts)
  • Dealing With Difficulty (Church and Tocqueville)
  • Borderlands: Theories and Stories
  • Tracing Cultural Influences: A Study of Research-Based Report Writing
  • The Icarus Tales (Retellings)

*Optional add-on: People, Places, and Things: Reading and Writing Poetry

Grade 10 Units

  • Foundations For Inquiry (Baxter and Didion)
  • Language and Thought (Informational Texts)
  • Dealing With Difficulty (McPherson and Plato)
  • Language Matters: Essays and Arguments
  • Models and Methods of Research
  • The Demon Lover (Retellings)

*Optional add-on: Poetry Traditions: Reading Difficult Texts

Grade 11 Units

  • Foundations For Inquiry (Jones and Hempel)
  • Bias and Assumption in Research (Informational Texts)
  • Dealing With Difficulty (Winthrop and Ross)
  • Writing to Witness, Writing to Testify
  • Spreading Innovations: Study and Research
  • Interpreting Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire (Retellings)

Grade 12 Units

  • Foundations For Inquiry (Lahiri and Gordimer)
  • Science Writing for Lay Audiences (Informational Texts)
  • Dealing With Difficulty (Orwell and Montaigne)
  • Being and Unbeing: A Study of Four Poets
  • How We Learn: Research-Based Report Writing
  • Shakespeare at the Movies: Much Ado About Nothing (Retellings)