• Development and implementation of an elementary place-based science curriculum for the Yakutat School District

      Liben, Sarah; Todd, Susan; Conner, Laura; Ramos, Judith; Taras, Mike; Fabbri, Cindy (2017-05)
      The need for citizens with a fundamental knowledge of science who understand the interconnections between living things as well as the impact of science on society is more important than ever. To achieve this goal, studies show that major changes to the structure of science curriculum must be made in order to incorporate all aspects of: 1) inquiry-based instruction; 2) strategies that elicit students' prior knowledge; 3) building conceptual understandings; and 4) integrating an ongoing assessment process that provides feedback to students and informs instruction. These suggested changes are articulated in the recent Next Generation Science Standards. In order to construct an elementary science curriculum for the Yakutat School District, I utilized the Understanding by Design (UBD) framework to develop individual "investigations" that were formulated around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A place-based framework was constructed for each investigation using the GRASPS Performance Assessment model and Learning A-Z place-based instructional process. Existing lessons and activities that aligned with the NGSS and place-based framework were included in each investigation, and where there were gaps in addressing the standards, I utilized the BSCS (Biological Science Curriculum Studies) 5Es Learning Model to write a series of lessons for each investigation. Ultimately, I developed two curricula for the following grade levels: K-2 and 5-6. Curricula were divided into overarching units that contained between 1-5 investigations, or subunits, each of which were framed around 1-3 NGSS. This project's practical importance was to provide a curriculum for a school district that had no preexisting science curriculum. This curriculum is important to the field of science education, as it serves as a model that integrates western science and traditional knowledge in the context of the Next Generation Science Standards.