Curriculum Development

Years 3 and 4


While the C2C academic program for the first two summers focuses on strengthening literacy and numeracy skills for success in college, the emphasis shifts to college-level classes during the third and fourth C2C sessions.

The goal of Years 3 and 4 is to inspire students to consider STEM majors and careers, an area in which minority students are underrepresented.

Classes are now longer and somewhat larger, with 12 students and two instructors in each one. Every morning is devoted to a college-credit bearing science class, supported by afternoon classes in statistics, scientific reading, and college essay writing.


During Year 3, students study rural water ecology issues in the Mississippi river and streams that border the Winona campus. Their mornings are split between short lectures to introduce essential concepts and skills, suiting up in waders or boarding boats to collect samples, and analyzing data back in the science labs. Over their junior year back home, they investigate watershed management issues in their home environments.

Year 4 science focuses on comparison of rural and urban water ecology issues, with real and virtual field trips, labs, and lecture-discussions. The goal of Year 4 is development of a personal research proposal for watershed management in their home environment. This is the year that C2C students, now rising 12th graders, graduate from their Camino a la Universidad (Road to the University), the Spanish name for Countdown to College. Their graduation day begins with a poster session where each graduate explains their research proposal to instructors, judges, parents, and peers. After a celebratory lunch, the students and parents head home. But C2C is not ended. The C2C coordinator and director continue to follow them through their senior year, helping them and their parents with the college admission process.

Science Downloads (PDF)

Science Schedule   |   Science Lesson Plan

Water Ecology Syllabus |   AACU 2013 Presentation

Integrated Language Arts:

In Year 3 the focus is on reading scientific texts and mastering academic vocabulary, with an emphasis on STEM vocabulary. An example of texts used is The maladies of water and war: Addressing poor water quality in Iraq. Students continue to use Reciprocal Teaching cooperative learning groups to ferret out the essential information and develop summaries of this and other scientific writings. Another important pre-reading/summarization strategy emphasized in Year 3 is THIEVES. Language Arts, in addition to summarization, introduces Thinking Notes.

Year 4 Language Arts continues the emphasis on reading scientific studies, with a heightened emphasis on critiquing study design and author credibility. Readings are expanded to include studies from social sciences, e.g., neurophysiology of dyslexia and ethnographic studies of cultural groups. A linguistic unit on Language and Power introduces students to the structure of the English language and the issues surrounding different varieties of spoken English. The writing focus is on reporting and summarizing scientific studies without plagiarizing. Vocabulary includes descriptive and inferential statistics terms needed for understanding scientific reports. The primary vocabulary strategy, in addition to reinforcement of word webs for Latin words, is Walking Through Words by Meaning for Greek-derived words.

Integrated Language Arts Downloads (PDF)

Scientific Reading  |   THIEVES Worksheet

Vocabulary Self-Test  |   Spelling by Meaning

College Writing:

Year 3 students focus on developing a polished college admission essay on the topic of Long and Short-Term Goals. As preparation for this writing, students explore the question: What responsibility to society do individuals have? Alice Walker’s essay Anything we love can be saved provides them with important points to consider as they develop their essay. Painting word pictures of where they will be in 10 years, and how they will get there are essential parts of this course.

The final product of Year 4 Writing class is an essay on the role of place, in answer to the question where are we from? Students write about physical and cultural landmarks and changes in their environment as they transition from home to neighborhood to new environments. The focus question that is investigated in their writing is: How do we remain our authentic selves as we move in and out of different environments?

College Writing Download (PDF)

Goals Essay