Master's Projects (People, Place & Pedagogy)
A Place-based study of Alaskan animalsIn the spring of 2020, my second-grade class, located in Fairbanks, AK, dived into a place-based exploration of Alaskan animals. The aim of the project was to increase students’ connections and understanding of the state where they live (Alaska) and the animals that they share it with. Through a backwards design, inquiry-based instructional model, my students met state standards with an integrated-subject approach. With art, guest speakers, research, and field trips my students learned about the Animals that share Alaska with us, their environments, and their adaptations. Students used informational writing published on digital mediums to share their knowledge with others. I propose to share this unit with other educators in the form of a website with links and lesson plans so that more teachers and children have access to quality place-based materials that align to state standards.
Applying the environmental identity development model in place-based education: an online resource guideI created an online resource guide for place-based education (PBE) informed by the Environmental Identity Development (EID) Model and research (Green et al., 2016). The EID Model provides a flexible framework for understanding how individuals develop their sense of self within and in relation to the natural world. The model is valuable as a diagnostic tool and a guide in the creation of place-based activities that support children’s play, learning, and growth in nature. The goals of this project were to create an accessible guide to understanding the EID Model and theory; to demonstrate how the EID Model and research may be used in the development of culturally relevant educational strategies; to utilize the EID Model in the creation and curation of effective and flexible PBE activities. Qualitative data from the EID research project were used to explain and contextualize the EID Model. Place-based pedagogies and land education pedagogies were utilized in the development of educational resources. The educational resources created for the website are accessible and flexible, adaptable for diverse ages and environments. The website encourages adults to support “spontaneous” child-initiated activities and explorations in the natural world. Ultimately, this guide is an accessible resource that encourages educators to utilize the EID Model in the pursuit of culturally responsive and child-centered PBE in their own context.
Building confidence and competence through the Environmental Identity Development modelThe integration of place-based environmental education into an existing educational program has the ability to drastically increase the environmental competencies of the participating members. A unique group of students, who are also potential candidates for leadership roles in the United States Military, are members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. These students are required to obtain a massive amount of knowledge and ability in a relatively limited time, while still being required to succeed in the degree program of their choice. By introducing them to the Environmental Identity Development model (Green, 2018), there is a better opportunity for them to identify their own competencies and confidence as they act as leaders in a natural environmental setting, and work towards bettering their own ability to perform, and succeed when operating in a field environment. Successful progression through this model will enable them to acquire new skills and appreciations for the natural world, a world in which they will be expected to be active and engaging leaders in our country’s military forces.