This project utilizes four phases and a problem-based learning approach to allow students to progress from problem identification to sharing their story with the community.
Over the course of this curriculum, students will participate in a hands-on, locally-situated environmental science workshop series as they explore challenges facing their community. This project is unique because it centers students as knowledge producers, rather than knowledge consumers, on a path toward becoming scientifically literate citizens. Students lead the research project with support from their teacher rather than being led through a predetermined rubric. As a team, students undertake problem identification, study design, data collection and analysis, and sharing results back to their community. Throughout the project, students will utilize Public Lab to connect to a larger network of community scientists, experts, and locals working in their field.
Phase I: Identifying & Learning About Environmental Problems
- Lesson 1: How do communities respond to environmental issues?
- Lesson 2: What factors influence our environmental problem?
- Lesson 3 : How will we tackle our environmental problem?
- Lesson 4: What do we know and what do we want to learn?
Phase II: Exploring & Defining Research Methods
- Lesson 1: How do we study an environmental issue?
- Lesson 2: How can an environmental study effect change?
- Lesson 3: How will we study our environmental issue?
- Lesson 4: What will we do to conduct our study
Phase III: Data Collection - Data Collection Resources
Phase IV: Compiling & Sharing Results
- Lesson 1
- Lesson 2
- Lesson 3
- Lesson 4
Also check out the Education Wiki to see more projects, lessons, and discussion.
How Can Student-Led Inquiry Change Your Classroom?
Today's students have unprecedented access to knowledge; the phones in their pockets all them to tap into the internet anytime, and the the internet updates that knowledge every moment as we speak. As knowledge expands at a rate that's hard for teachers to keep up with, and textbooks are out-of-date by the time they go to press, classrooms must shift from a place where teachers and textbooks are the repositories of knowledge to a place where teachers define an overarching curriculum and guide students through a process to fill it in.
This environmental science experiential learning workshop series engages students in localized environmental exploration, from idea generation through sharing findings, while working together in scalable networks to encourage collaborative learning and civic engagement. It sharpens environmental and STEM literacy through deep, hands-on investigation of an environmental topic -- including observation and data-gathering, listening to community histories of living through environmental stressors, and reflection on environmental impacts to community resilience. Through our problem-based learning approach, students are able to hone their research and critical thinking skills while contributing to "real-world" problems.
How Can You Get Involved?
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Try These Lessons in Your Classroom and Share Your Experience
After using one of these activities in person, let us know how it goes in the comments. We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to share how you modify the lesson to better fit your classroom.