Core Curriculum

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

Students on a bug expedition

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.

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.


Below are the links to K-5 Curriculum Maps. Part of the EL Education model involves having kids “infer the topic” of their expeditions. Please do not share the topic (ie “birds”, “toys and play”) with your kids ahead of time! Thank you for understanding.

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 enrichments: