Adapting Lessons for Your Classroom

Thursday 1:15-3:45pm PT / 2:15-4:45pm MT / 3:15-5:45pm CT / 4:15-6:45pm ET Online
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Christopher Berg, Orange Coast College
Megan Plenge, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Many fantastic Earth and Environmental Science lesson plans and course materials are now available from SERC, NASA, IRIS, and a variety of other institutions. This workshop will provide you with suggestions and strategies for modifying these existing lesson plans to align with your existing learning objectives and fit your course context (whether a remote asynchronous course, a laboratory, a large-enrollment lecture course, or something in between).


Some instructors may be daunted by the effort involved in integrating pre-made activities into their courses; either because the context doesn't match, the teaching style seems too far removed from what they typically do in the classroom, or because the content is not *quite* aligned with your course objectives. In this workshop, we will explore the lesson repositories, give examples of modifications that can be made to better align existing activities with your course needs, and brainstorm ways to modify lessons for different audiences and levels. Our goal is to give you time to explore these lesson repositories and work with peers to model the process of modifying lessons to fit different levels and audiences. Then groups will work together to modify an existing lesson in its entirety to suit their individual needs; participants will conclude by reporting out their strategies and progress made.

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for instructors who are interested in modifying and existing activity or curriculum to better align with their instructional needs or delivery method. K-12 instructors, novice college instructors, and experienced instructors who just want to integrate new activities into the classroom.


  • Participants will identify ways to modify existing lessons to meet the needs of different audiences, levels, and/or modes of instruction
  • Participants will modify an existing lesson plan or activity to suit their classroom context
  • Participants will justify why their modifications increase the utility of the lesson for their classroom context

Session Connection Information

This content is only available to individuals who have registered for the 2021 Earth Educators' Rendezvous

If you're a registered attendee you'll need to login to access this content












If you have trouble accessing this section after logging into your SERC account, please email John McDaris ( For more information about connecting to the Rendezvous, visit the Participant Information page.


We will start by providing background information on the design process and several repositories of Earth Science lessons and activities. Participants will brainstorm how to modify a lesson based on type of audience, size and level of class, mode of instruction and other considerations.

0:00 - Introduction and Icebreaker Exercise

0:10 - Examples of Exercise Repositories and Modifications to Existing Activities

0:30 - Activity #1: Practicing Making Modifications for Different Audiences (Breakout Groups)

0:55 - Report-Out and Discussion Group Workspace for Activity #1 Report-out

1:00 - Break

1:10 - Reset and Introduction to Activity #2

1:15 - Activity #2: Modifying Lessons/Activities for a Specific Audience (Breakout Groups)

1:55 - Discussion of Common Strategies / Solutions (in Breakout Groups)

2:10 - Gallery Walk and Discussion Jamboard for Activity #2 Gallery Walk

2:25 - Adjourn and Workshop Evaluation


Link to Workshop Slides - Slides include links to resources and embedded materials for participants

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