The World in Which We Live: Blending Place-based Education and NGSS for Greater Student Engagement

1. State the focus of the workshop and its relevance to the science teacher education.

The purpose of this workshop is to shed light on the ways in which Place-Based Education (PBE) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) can inform each other and be used in conjunction to create engaging, meaningful, and effective lessons for ALL students. The NGSS represent the most recent science reform effort in the United States and is a major shift for many teachers and students. Providing opportunities and examples of how to effectively teach these new standards will be pivotal if this reform effort is to succeed. We have found that using place-based principles to teach science has helped students and teachers find relevance in the content, engage in a more authentic manner, and transfer knowledge to their everyday lives.

2. Explain who within the ASTE membership would be most interested in your presentation (e.g., methods instructors, educational researchers, curriculum developers, etc.) and why.

In-service teachers, teacher educators, and curriculum developers would be interested in our presentation. We will be providing a framework for how PBE can be used to support NGSS and NGSS can be an avenue through which PBE can be accessed. This can help teachers envision a method of engaging students in meaningful, real-world scenarios to gain a deeper understanding of where they live and community resources. This can also help curriculum development specialists design more applicable, engaging units for students. It can provide teacher educators with one way in which to approach effective teaching practices with their participants.

3. Describe the expertise/experience of the workshop presenters to present in the topic area.

Dr. Ana Houseal is the Outreach Science Educator and an Associate Professor in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming. As a former teacher, she has experience designing, executing, and evaluating middle-level science units and knows the challenges that come with classroom teaching and shifts in teaching expectations. As part of her Ph.D. research, she worked with the National Park Service in Yellowstone to design and implement a place-based science curriculum. She also has collaborated with Teton Science Schools, a place-based education program in southwestern Wyoming, on research projects related to natural science education and PBE.

Martha Inouye is a Research Scientist and science PD specialist in the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming. Prior to her current position, she taught at both the middle and high school levels. She attended the Teton Science Schools, a place-based graduate program, for the first year of her Master’s Degree and completed an M.S. in Natural Science Education. During her Master’s program and currently as a research scientist, Martha has been facilitating PD on the NGSS to K-12 teachers around the state of Wyoming. One guiding principle in this work is to use the place in which we live to frame student learning experiences. Martha has firsthand experience being taught science through PBE and facilitating learning about science through PBE.

4. List the learning objectives of the workshop and how you will assess whether participants met those objectives.
• Participants will develop an understanding of the connections between placed-based principles and the Next Generation Science Standards
• Assess: Participants will complete an exit ticket at the end of the workshop asking them to describe connections they have made between the two
• Participants will consider potential local, place-based phenomenon they could use in their instruction to drive a unit/lesson
• Assess: Participants will share in person (and post) their ideas to the resource website

5. Provide a description of the workshop activities/ instructional strategies you will be using to meet the objectives.

We will begin by engaging participants’ prior knowledge of the standards and what they consider place-based education (PBE). This will serve as a diagnostic assessment and provide some common experience/ideas as they share with colleagues. We will also have them take on the role of a student as we model one activity that blends PBE with the standards. From there, the workshop will consist of a series of collaborative discussions among participants before and/or after being given information or a prompt. Using think-pair-share, modeling, evidence-claims, and reflection, we will guide participants on an experience that has them compare the place-based principles (local to global, community as classroom, inquiry, design, learner-centered, and interdisciplinary) with the 3-dimensions of the NGSS. They will have the opportunity to independently and collaboratively consider PBE and NGSS in the context of their own place and opportunities their students can have to learn about the science of their place. They will be introduced to the website where they can find resources and contribute to discussion boards. The workshop will end with teacher reflecting on what they have gained over the session and what questions remain.

6. Describe how you will make yourself available/offer support to the participants for continuing their learning and collaboration after they return to their home institutions.

Participants will have access to a website with resources from our presentation, a forum with which to communicate, and contact information with which to send queries. Participants will have time during the session to think about their place and potential opportunities for PBE integration; these can be posted on the website as an idea bank. They can also post/reply on a discussion board.