Core Curriculum

In EL Education schools, students spend significant time engaged in purposeful, rigorous “learning expeditions” which are the core of the curriculum.

Although learning expeditions often take students outside of school, unlike the familiar “field trip” or outing, these expeditions are in-depth studies of a single theme or topic. Expeditions vary in length depending on the topic. Most classes at Centennial will complete a minimum of two expeditions each school year. They are very carefully planned to have a clear set of learning goals – goals consistent with school and school district standards.
Bug Expediton

Guiding questions frame the inquiry of the class. They are open-ended, non-judgmental questions that motivate students to explore and discuss topics from multiple perspectives. A plan for an expedition typically describes specific, engaging, skills-rich activities that result in high-quality, authentic products or performances for audiences beyond the classroom. These products are typically modeled on real-world documents and artifacts, with professional models guiding student work. Specific performance standards inform how students and teachers will measure success in the expedition.

Expeditions integrate skills and instruction across the content areas. Research skills, reading, writing, and public speaking are common components. Mathematics is applied wherever authentic connections can be made. Art and music are often integrated into the synthesis of information and final product. The expedition becomes a highly focused, real world application that motivates children in their further studies across the curriculum.


Expeditions begin in Kindergarten however our ECE classrooms incorporate EL themes into their lessons. Possible expeditions include:

ECE: Growing Strong: A Healthy Bodies Expedition
Kindergarten/1st Grade: Toys and Play; Weather Wonders; Trees; Tools and Work; The Sun, Monn and Stars; Birds
2nd/3rd Grade: Schools and Community; Fossils and the Changing Earth; Wide World of Frogs- Animal Adaptations;
Gathering Evidence and Speaking To Others: The Role of Freshwater around the World
4th/5th Grade: Reading Closely and Writing to Learn: Poetry, Poets, and Becoming Writers
Considering Perspectives and Supporting Opinions: Animal Defense Mechanisms: Suffrage and the Leadership of Susan B. Anthony; Becoming a Close Reader and Writing to Learn: Stories of Human Rights
Considering Perspectives and Supporting Opinions: Sports and Athletes’ Impact on Culture
Gathering Evidence and Speaking to Others: Natural Disasters in the Western Hemisphere

Read more about our Expeditions
Examples of Centennial’s high quality student work

Teachers at Centennial use the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to teach literacy and math. Instructional resources used at Centennial include:

Students at Centennial also participate in these electives: