Academic Core is a highly structured four-level program (A through D) developed by the National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI) to teach students important science facts and information. The program ensures mastery of sophisticated information and includes a built-in reward system to motivate and reinforce students. Measurement, time, the solar system, rocks, body systems, and United States geography are just a few of the units included. It is intended for students in grades 2 and above. Each lesson is designed to be presented to the entire class but can also be presented to small groups and should take approximately 20 minutes to teach.
Academic Core is primarily a verbal program directed by the teacher. The teacher presents lessons from a script and students respond verbally. Once brought to verbal mastery, students respond to questions in writing. Many units include reference charts, maps, or displays. This material is on a PowerPoint display contained on a CD. (For teachers who do not have access to the equipment necessary to use the PowerPoint displays, printable PDFs are also available on the CD.) Most units stand alone; however, some units depend upon information from earlier ones. This overlap of information requires the teacher to either follow the exact sequence of each level or to make sure the students know the prerequisite information. The program includes evaluation material to ensure students have mastered the material and rewards for students as they progress through the program.
Level D includes 3 units comprised of 11 to 25 lessons each. The following topics are covered:
- Eastern United States and Great Lakes
- Western United States
- United States and Borders
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