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The Chicago Curriculum

The Chicago Curriculum is a program in development that systematically embeds the learning opportunities of Chicago into the day to day framework of the IB curriculum above and beyond the Field Studies program.

About the Chicago Curriculum

The early and lower school Chicago Curriculum emphasizes “Parts of a City”, which include people, the environment, infrastructure, and spaces. The theme for the middle and upper school Chicago Curriculum is “Purposes and Complexities of a City,” or exploring the impact of interactions between groups, the impact of infrastructure and politics on economics, the environment, and our intellectual and cultural history.

The Chicago Curriculum Outline

The Chicago Curriculum is grounded on a foundation of six core topics that spiral in complexity and depth throughout a student’s experience at GEMS World Academy Chicago.

Core Topics

  • Physical
  • Land and waterways
  • Natural resources
  • Human
  • Migration
  • Immigration
  • Neighborhood formation
  • Demographic trends, historic and contemporary
  • Transportation: rail, road, air, and water
  • Water system
  • Sewerage system
  • Power grid
  • Housing and public housing policy
  • Public education

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Examples of the Chicago Curriculum

The curriculum is comprised of Chicago inspired authors, speakers, and field studies. Some examples include:

  • A lower school study of our unique relationship with Lake Michigan the Jardine Water Purification Plant and Stickney Reclamation Plant.
  • A lower school study of human migration patterns and their manifestation in Chicago, understanding the development of neighborhoods and their different cultural institutions.
  • A middle school study of gerrymandering, data collection, and neighborhood identity with a focus on Chicago’s West Side in the 1960s.
  • An upper school collaboration with students of OLT High School and Latinos Progresando on the Youth Voter Guide Project.

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