Date of Award

Summer 7-1-2015

Document Type

Masters Plan B

Department

Science & Mathematics Teaching Center

Advisor

Ana Houseal, Chair

Second Advisor

Sylvia Parker

Third Advisor

Maggie Bourque

Abstract

Research demonstrates that place-based education can help connect formal science standards to students’ lived experiences, both in and out of school, thus increasing the relevancy of what students are learning (Dentzau, 2014). However, there has been no research conducted to date that shows how place-based practices can be integrated into curriculum developed using the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This intrinsic case study research aims to describe elementary school teachers’ experiences in integrating principles of place-based education within curricular units developed using the NGSS. A focus group and open-ended survey were used to gain a better understanding of teacher experience and provide insights into the compatibility of these two frameworks. Participants noted that integrating principles of place-based education was a natural fit with the NGSS and was essential in making these new standards relevant to their students’ lives. Additionally, benefits of integrating these two frameworks included (a) increased student ownership and engagement, and (b) an increase in their personal engagement as teachers. Rather than viewing these two frameworks as being in opposition, the experiences shared by the participants in this case study demonstrated that principles of place-based education can serve as a guide for developing new curriculum using the NGSS.

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