• Integrated learning is a critical element in all classrooms at BCS.  The ability to understand big themes common to human experience, past and present, provides students with a framework for thinking about themselves and their world.  The themes and essential questions for this year were carefully chosen to connect and link all curriculum areas.

    For an overview of the elementary and middle school curriculum in the Birmingham Public Schools visit: Birmingham Public School Teaching and Learning Department.

    Interdisciplinary curriculum themes unique to BCS rotate on a two-year cycle. The 2016-2017 school year is Cycle 2. Odd Year start is Cycle 1, and Even Year start is Cycle 2.

  • Cycle 1

    3-4:  SYSTEMS

    • What is a system? 
    • What systems are you a part of and what systems are a part of you?
    • What makes a system break down? 
    • Challenge: How can systems change and adapt? 


    • What forces in society and the world encourage independence: What forces operate against it; undermine it?
    • Is anything ever truly independent? What would happen if living things were completely independent?
    • How is the concept and understanding of independence used to improve our world? Has it been used to harm the earth? 


    • What does being an individual mean in one's own life? How does one express individuality and also participate in groups and activities?
    • How much does one have the right to be an individual and express one's individuality? How much does one have the responsibility to accept societal rules and norms?
    • How have past cultures valued the individual? How do we value the individual in our multicultural society today?
  • Cycle 2

    3-4:  PATTERNS

    • What is a pattern?
    • How do patterns help (you) to make predictions?
    • How do patterns influence behavior?
    • Challenge: How can patterns change and adapt?


    • What is interdependence?
    • How does interdependence play a role in my life at school, at home and with friends?
    • In what ways can a person be interdependent and also be an individual? Is one more important than the other? Why or why not?

    7-8:  DIVERSITY: A Matter of Perspective

    • What does a culture in which a person lives affect that person's understanding of the world?
    • What obstacles (physical, social and mental) does an individual encounter and how does one resolve them?
    • What are ways individuals react when faces with challenges to their culture/customs/beliefs?