The BASIS model for curriculum development was based on the curriculum design framework of Understanding by Design (UbD)   The ultimate goal of the design process is to ensure that students are given multiple opportunities to create meaning from their learning in a way that makes a difference in their lives and allows them to develop their individualized personal narrative about and relationship with Israel. Understanding by Design (UbD) provides an inquiry based model for learning with a focus on robust and authentic assessment. Initially, it parses the Vision Statement to articulate learning outcomes. It does so by establish enduring understandings and essential questions for Israel Education in the school. If the members of the team are not yet familiar with the UBD approach to curriculum development, BASIS provides them with the requisite training—either by the BASIS Curriculum Consultant, or by sending team members to UBD professional development workshops, or both.

The establishment of the enduring understandings and essential questions enables the team to move on to the next step, which is the development of a curricular scope and sequence covering all grades in the school.

In the attached examples you will find a step by step guide to creating UbD based curriculum titled “Creating Israel Curriculum:  From Vision to Learner,” which was authored by the iCenter, BASIS staff and educators from Brandeis Hillel Day School, “A Practical Guide to Planning withUnderstanding by Design, Israel Focus”  was authored by Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D, and was presented as part of the BASIS Summer Forum in Israel, a “Curriculum Integration Model”  also authored by Stern. You will also find a sample of a UbD unit template for your use.  To contact Dr. Stern directly e-mail her at

In “Example from the Field” we chose to show how one BASIS school (Brandeis Hillel Day School) went through the process all the way from articulating a vision, parsing out Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions, articulated a scope and sequence for k-8 in the school, developed specific learning units and incorporated the enduring Understandings into school’s activities such as teachers’ travel to Israel.  Also in this section you will find a good example from Ronald C. Wornick Jewish Day Schoo demonstrating how to successfully integrate General and Judaic studies with Israel education.

For a comprehensive guide to UbD please see Wiggins and McTighe (2011) The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units.