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Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC)

Engineering is Elementary® Units

The Minnesota Mandarin Immersion Collaborative (MMIC)*, a K-12 – University partnership, with funding support through the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Language Assistance Program Local Education Agencies with Institutions of Higher Education (FLAP-LEA/IHE) is pleased to make available “Designing Model Membranes,” a Gr. 3 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) unit specifically designed for the Mandarin immersion classroom. With permission from the Museum of Science in Boston, the Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes curriculum served as the foundation for this model unit.

The MMIC Designing Model Membranes unit is an interdisciplinary unit designed to connect learning across multiple subjects, including Chinese Language Arts, Science and Engineering, and Social Studies and Culture learning. Consequently, when implementing this curriculum we encourage programs to temporarily suspend teaching of these curricular areas and continue teaching only the math curriculum. Each unit makes use of a focal narrative as a means for contextualizing the subject matter content throughout the lessons. Units conclude with an adaptation of the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA). The MMIC Designing Model Membranes IPA purposefully pairs specific subject areas with different modes of communication as a means to integrate the assessment of language and subject matter.

The MMIC Designing Model Membranes unit includes unit overview materials, the Juan Daniel的幸运蛙 (Juan Daniel’s Fútbol Frog) storybook, lesson plans and supporting materials, and a summative Integrated Performance Assessment. Some lessons also include a teacher guide and scoring rubrics. Many MMIC unit materials are made available in Mandarin Chinese and English. The MMIC unit is not intended as a stand-alone unit but will require purchase of the original Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes curriculum and materials kit. Portions of the curriculum were left unchanged and teachers will need to reference the EiE® Teacher Guide on occasion.

The MMIC curriculum team has worked to model best practice in curriculum, instruction and assessment for the dual language/immersion setting given what we have learned over decades from research. Each lesson includes a strong focus on language and literacy development within the context of subject matter learning. It is our hope that Mandarin immersion programs across the country will use and adapt these units as necessary to best fit their respective contexts.  Enjoy!


Available Units

Unit Title:  Just Passing Through: Designing Model Membranes

Science Topic: Organisms (Bess Beetle, Crayfish), Basic Needs
Engineering Field:  Bioengineering
Storybook (Cultural Context): Juan Daniel’s Fútbol Frog (El Salvador)
Grade Level:  Gr 3



*The MMIC is an association of four of Minnesota’s early total Mandarin immersion programs and the University of Minnesota (UofM).

The MMIC Leadership Team consists of:
Molly Wieland, Project Director, Hopkins Public Schools
Tara Fortune, Immersion Projects Coordinator, CARLA, University of Minnesta
Joan Brzezinski, Director, Confucius Institute, University of Minnesota

Mandarin immersion partner programs are:
Eisenhower Elementary XinXing Academy, Hopkins Public Schools
Scenic Heights Elementary and Excelsior Elementary Mandarin Immersion Programs, Minnetonka Public Schools
Madison Elementary Guang Ming Academy, St. Cloud Public Schools


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Last Modified: May 3, 2016 at 9:14