Environmental Science for Grades 6-12 : A Project-Based Approach to Solving the Earth's Most Urgent Problems
Apply high-quality project-based learning strategies to create lessons and units that help students solve a variety of urgent environmental problems. Environmental science (ES) education is essential to providing students with opportunities for hands-on investigations to find solutions to complex environmental problems. But the recent COVID-19 crisis has dramatically curtailed student access to ES-focused experiences, particularly affecting students of color and those from low-income communities. At the same time, changes in pollution and air quality levels, as well as a resurgence of wildlife, have created new avenues for students to connect with the revitalized world through technology and social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies. Project-based learning (PBL), with its emphasis on inquiry and authentic challenges, can be an effective approach to teaching ES. Those new to PBL may not feel they have adequate training. Likewise, teachers who haven't taught ES may question how to incorporate it into their curriculum. This book addresses both situations, providing practical guidance for teachers, along with examples of technology-rich, learner-centered student projects covering a range of timely and cross-curricular topics such as endangered animal populations, maintenance of oceans, rebounding of bee populations and urban air quality. This book:Helps teachers design learning experiences that model authentic problems and processes practiced by scientists and engineers, to prepare students for future careers in science. Provides strategies to develop students' SEL skills and instill in them a renewed empathy for the environment as they get a glimpse of what a better, cleaner and more sustainable world can look like. Introduces facilitation techniques that redefine the teacher's traditional role as one that supports increased student agency, the development of critical thinking skills and an expanded awareness of their place in the global community. Includes a chapter that focuses on applying the principles and strategies shared in the book in an online learning environment. Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) topics in environmental science and is aligned to the ISTE Standards for Educators. PBL is one of the best ways for students to explore complex processes and concepts, and this book will help teachers leverage this approach to empower students to take action toward a better future and world.