Unit Archive

A bookshelf for units we no longer teach in our schools, but which may still be useful to teachers using our curriculum.

Here at Fishtank Learning, we are constantly developing, testing, and refining our curriculum. As part of this process we sometimes create new units that we think better address specific standards or cover new topics or texts. Whenever we replace a unit we will make the old unit available here in our archive for teachers that may want to continue teaching the texts or topic it covers. We hope you will take the time to review our newer units by visiting the course page for your grade level and subject.

Kindergarten English Language Arts

Falling in Love with Authors and Illustrators (2018)

Students explore the works of five award-winning authors and illustrators, Grace Lin, Yuyi Morales, John Parra, Monica Brown and Jerry Pinkney, learning about their lives and inspirations.

29 Lessons

The Beauties of Fall (2018)

Students begin a year-long exploration of the seasons and how weather, plants, and animals change at different points in the year by reading about the beauties of fall and fall harvests.

17 Lessons

The Beauties of Winter (2018)

Students explore the beauties of winter through a variety of texts about winter, learning about winter weather and weather forecasts and how different animals and plants survive winter.

22 Lessons

Biographies: Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks (2018)

Students begin to explore African-American history and the civil rights movement by studying Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.'s influence, helping to instill the values of diversity and fairness.

17 Lessons

History of the Earth: Dinosaurs (2018)

Students learn about the history of earth by learning about how fossils are formed and what makes dinosaurs unique, and write daily responses to the informational texts that they read.

25 Lessons

Understanding Earth: Life Cycles (2018)

Students study the life cycles of different plants and animals and the characteristics of living, nonliving, and dead things, through multiple engaging informational texts and hands-on activities.

40 Lessons

1st Grade English Language Arts

Biographies: You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be (2018)

In this inspirational biography unit, students read and learn about a diverse assortment of artists, musicians, and dancers, while focusing on identifying evidence from texts and illustrations.

29 Lessons

Continents: Understanding the World (2018)

Students read informational texts about the seven continents, and what makes each of them unique, while working to understand text features and develop skills in writing about informational texts.

25 Lessons

Same Story, Different Version (2018)

Students compare and contrast events and characters in multiple versions of classic fairy tales, grappling with the bigger lessons of each tale, and support their writing with details from the texts.

26 Lessons

The Power of Reading (2018)

Students focus on subtle central messages and words that express feeling in various texts about reading and education around the world, discovering why people everywhere seek the power to read.

26 Lessons

Animals (2018)

In this science-based unit, students explore different animals and animal adaptations by reading informational texts, working to identify main topics, retell details and write responses to the text.

32 Lessons

What Makes a Good Friend? (2018)

Students read texts focused on what it means to be a good friend, and examine key details about characters through discussion and writing, helping to facilitate building friendships in the classroom.

19 Lessons

Folktales and Stories (2018)

Students use the text and illustrations of fables and folktales to analyze setting, characters, and key details, allowing them to connect traditional stories to their own lives.

22 Lessons

Fighting for Change (2018)

Students learn about the concepts of fairness and justice and about people who worked to overcome injustice, while developing informational reading strategies for reading narrative nonfiction texts.

35 Lessons

Appreciating Family (2018)

Students work to discover the central message of a text and to describe its characters, in order to build a deeper understanding of different types of families.

27 Lessons

Ancient Egypt (2018)

Students explore the values, daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Egypt and compare them to those of society today, while exploring the evidence an author uses to support points in a text.

23 Lessons

2nd Grade English Language Arts

Ancient Greece (2018)

Students read about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Greece, and are challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how that compares to today's society.

29 Lessons

Mystery and Baseball (2018)

Students explore the characteristics of a mystery, and how an author uses those characteristics to develop the plot, while reading about the American pastime of baseball in the text The Fenway Foul-Up.

21 Lessons

I Survived

Students build their reading and writing skills and examine what it means to be courageous and resilient in a time of crisis through reading I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

30 Lessons

Pinky and Rex (2018)

By connecting with the characters from the easily relatable series Pinky and Rex, students learn that it's okay to be different and consider what it means to be a good friend.

22 Lessons

Exploring Immigration (2018)

In this unit students explore immigration by reading a series of narrative nonfiction and fiction texts that highlight the experiences of early and recent immigrants.

24 Lessons

Zapato Power (2018)

Students continue to build reading and writing skills by engaging with the beginning chapter book series Zapato Power, exploring what it means for people to be friends and how they can help each other.

20 Lessons

Keena Ford (2018)

Students explore the concepts of honesty, forgiveness, and friendship by reading Freckle Juice, Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up, grappling with the concepts of peer pressure and jealousy.

25 Lessons

Biographies of Famous Leaders (2018)

Students research and learn about people who have changed the world by inventing things, standing up for what they believe in, and making the world a better place for everyone.

28 Lessons

Properties of Matter

Students engage in multiple scientific practices and explore the properties of matter through hands-on, teacher-created labs and activities as they begin to critically analyze the world around them.

14 Lessons

Cinderella Stories (2018)

Students read multiple versions of the fairytale Cinderella, challenging them to think about how the culture, or setting, of the story influences the plot, and examining the setting and characters.

24 Lessons

Human Body (2018)

Students study two important body systems, the digestive and urinary systems, and learn about how nutrition can positively or negatively impact our bodies through informational texts and hands-on projects.

19 Lessons

Insects (2018)

Students learn about insects and their impact on the natural world by asking and answering questions about informational texts in order to become inquisitive, active readers.

22 Lessons

Spider Stories (2018)

Students read, discuss and write about spider, or Anansi, folktales from West Africa which have been used for generations to teach lessons about human nature and the consequences of good and bad behavior.

17 Lessons

3rd Grade English Language Arts


Students explore machines and how simple and complex machines can allow us do work with less force or effort, through a selection of non-fiction texts and hands-on engineering projects.

15 Lessons


Students explore the world of poetry by reading, discussing and writing about a selection of carefully chosen poems, realizing that poetry can inspire, motivate, and help them see things in a new way.

12 Lessons

Mildred Taylor and Langston Hughes

Students explore the concepts of friendship, courage, and how racist behaviors can influence an entire community by reading two core texts by Mildred Taylor and a collection of poems by Langston Hughes.

22 Lessons

Forces and Motion

Students learn about the relationship between force and motion and the meaning of gravity, friction, magnetism, potential and kinetic energy while participating in teacher-created labs and activities.

16 Lessons

4th Grade English Language Arts

The Earth and its Changes

Students examine the different factors that influence change—physical, geographical, societal, and political—, what causes these changes, and ways to reduce the risks associated with the changing earth.

23 Lessons

Life Sciences: Structures of Plants and Animals

Students explore the internal and external structures of plants and animals that support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction, evaluating how body systems help animals (including humans) survive.

25 Lessons

5th Grade English Language Arts

Life Science: Ecosystems

Students read a selection of informational texts in order to explore the interconnectivity among organisms and energy within an ecosystem, and develop models to represent energy transfer.

22 Lessons

6th Grade English

The Lightning Thief & Greek Mythology

In The Lightning Thief and D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, students analyze the purpose of mythology in ancient Greece and explore the theme of hubris. This unit launches the year-long discussion on heroism.

28 Lessons

Fleeing Conflict: Refugee & The Unwanted (2018)

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the stories of young refugees from different time periods, all of whom face unthinkable hardships as they desperately seek safety.

28 Lessons

Developing Resilience: The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 (2018)

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of an African-American boy growing up during the civil rights era, and his family's strong bond in the face of tragedy.

31 Lessons

Declaring Identity: Being Jazz

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the memoir of Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen whose story has led to significant social change and the growing acceptance of transgender youth.

28 Lessons

Finding Connection: The Outsiders (2018)

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of a young man struggling to determine right and wrong in a world defined by violence.

24 Lessons


Students are exposed to poetry as an art form full of aesthetic qualities, rhythmic elements and poignant themes, and consider how the genre differs from prose in structure, form, purpose, and language.

17 Lessons

Challenging Authority: The Giver (2018)

Students explore the topic of "coming of age" through the story of one boy's life in a dystopian future, and his growing understanding that the world around him is not what it appears.

32 Lessons

7th Grade English

Death of a Salesman

Students read Arthur Miller's classic play Death of a Salesman, which offers a scathing critique of the American Dream and of the competitive, materialistic American culture of the 1940s.

14 Lessons

When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir

Students read Esmeralda Santiago's memoir about her childhood in Puerto Rico and her subsequent move to New York, exploring themes of cultural identity, social mobility and the American Dream.

29 Lessons

Defining America: Poems, Essays, and Short Stories (2018)

Students explore the diversity of the American experience through a variety of voices, texts, and genres.

26 Lessons

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Students grapple with themes of race, culture and class in the immigrant experience. Through deep analysis of texts, seventh graders explore a variety of perspectives as they wrestle with the authenticity of the American Dream.

23 Lessons

Exploring Identity: American Born Chinese (2018)

Students explore the American experience through the story of a young boy's conflicted relationship with his Chinese-American identity.

21 Lessons

Finding Home: The House on Mango Street (2018)

Students explore the American experience through the eyes of a young Latina girl as she struggles to define herself in relation to her community.

21 Lessons

Short Stories: The American Dreamers

Through a series of short stories and articles on the experiences of Muslims, the Scots-Irish, Central Americans and more, students examine the obstacles immigrants face in adjusting to a new culture.

13 Lessons

Fighting Injustice: Uprising & Flesh and Blood So Cheap (2018)

Students explore the American experience through close study of the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the social history of the early 20th century.

35 Lessons

Pursuing Dreams: A Raisin in the Sun (2018)

Students explore the American experience through the story of an African-American family struggling to achieve their dreams.

25 Lessons

American Poetry

Through an analysis of figurative language, imagery and historical context, students will explore questions of race, immigration, poverty and self-realization in a plethora of American poetry.

18 Lessons

8th Grade English


Students read August Wilson's play Fences, in which Troy Maxson paves the way for his children to have opportunities under conditions he was never free to experience as an African American migrant from the South.

17 Lessons

Seeking Justice: To Kill a Mockingbird

Students explore human nature through the story of a young white girl facing the harsh realities of racial injustice in the Jim Crow south.

35 Lessons

Surviving Repression: Persepolis (2018)

Students explore human nature through the story of a young girl coming of age during the Iranian Revolution, and the challenges she faced during this violent, turbulent time.

25 Lessons

Facing Prejudice: All American Boys (2018)

Students explore the American experience through the eyes of two young men - one white and one black - connected through an incident of police brutality.

20 Lessons

Making Change: Speeches, Essays, and Articles

Students explore human nature through the stories of teenagers challenging the status quo and making real change in the world.

11 Lessons

Encountering Evil: Night (2018)

Students explore human nature through the memoir of Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who vividly describes the horrors he experienced.

23 Lessons

Twelve Angry Men

Students grapple with the prejudice and flaws in the American justice system by reading the play Twelve Angry Men, and analyze how objective facts can be colored by personal attitudes and experiences.

11 Lessons

Abusing Power: Animal Farm and Wicked History (2018)

Students explore human nature through careful study of the Russian Revolution, focusing on the ways in which leaders manipulated and oppressed their own people.

30 Lessons

The Warmth of Other Suns

Students continue to examine the Great Migration, the massive relocation that cause more than six million African-Americans to move out of the South between 1915 and 1970, in The Warmth of Other Suns.

8 Lessons