CGRER & College of Education K-12 Climate Science Initiative

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


Andrea Malek, University of Iowa
Susanna Herder, University of Iowa
Ted Neal, University of Iowa
In the fall of 2015, Iowa adopted the new Iowa Science Standards, based on performance expectations in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards are still new to teachers, who are scrambling to plan for new expectations, in addition to learning new content (particularly the earth and space sciences). With educators feeling unprepared and unsupported, there is a clear need for a more effective way forward.

Our project aims to provide teachers with a curricular framework that is data-driven, centered around phenomena, and NGSS-aligned. Each of the unit frameworks is connected through a phenomenon rather than a topic. This allows for place-based investigations, and gives teachers the ability to integrate and overlap standards, rather than attempting to cover all 25 standards in isolation. Each unit also relies on local, Iowa-specific data, and requires students to negotiate evidence-based claims in a meaningful context.

Our first phenomena-based bundle is "Historical Land Use Change," and addresses nine of the 8th grade Iowa Science Standards. Students are asked, "How has your land changed over time, and how is that related to human activity?" They use real-time, local data sets that describe water quality, soil composition, land cover, and more. Teachers have access to the data sets, resources, and standards they need to feel supported, but are able to pick and choose which to use, and which sequence to take. Grounded in local data, a direct connection is built between students and data, and students and scientists.

By the fall of 2017, we look forward to delivering our first professional development with the new bundle. With the future in mind, we are laying the groundwork to incorporate teacher feedback, strengthen the resources embedded in each inquiry framework, and build four other bundles to ultimately address the entire set of 8th grade Iowa Science Standards.