Kathryn Baldwin: Using Soils and Society at Eastern Washington University
About this Course
An introductory methods course intended for preservice K–8 teachers.
Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 237kB Aug25 15)
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
This module was taught in a combined science and social studies methods course for future elementary and middle school teachers. This module really helps to model what we want our students to do in this class—create an interdisciplinary lesson that integrates subject matter typically taught in isolation. Not only were students able to align their Kits with multiple areas of science, they also aligned them with state social studies standards in history, geography, civics, and economics. It was evident in the Kits that the students were able to see the impacts of science on our society on both local and global scales of perspective.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate MaterialsI like how the module makes science relevant by looking at the impacts soil has on society. The students take something that is everywhere—soil—and come up with so many different societal issues/impacts for building their Kits.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
The course where I implemented this module is a combined science and social studies methods course that meets twice a week (130 minutes each) for 10 weeks. This module took about 5 class periods for the students to complete with one in-class "work day" to complete their Kits. After careful consideration and discussion with other authors, I decided to implement the module during the last three weeks of the course. I think that the Kit lends itself to a final project and I like having the Kit as the final assessment for the course. This placement at the course end also allowed me time to talk about many methods (inquiry, misconceptions, lesson planning, assessment, etc.) that not only make this module successful but apply to science teaching in general. This provided pre-service teachers the scaffolding needed to create a cohesive, authentic and meaningful unit for their own K–8 students.
The Soils Issues Homework was formatively assessed during the class discussion. Additional formative assessments, such as questioning and providing feedback, were used in Units 1–3. The Kit guidelines and rubric, the summative assessment, were given to students on the first day of the unit, and the guidelines and rubric were revisited at the end of each unit in the module until the students turned in the Kits on the final day of the module.
Overall, the Kits presented by the pre-service teachers met the goals of the module. Pre-service teachers demonstrated the ability of taking a science issue and developing an entire unit around the issue. Pre-service teachers were able to show the influence of soil issues on society through their selection of lesson activities, lesson objectives, reflection, and lessons aligned to both the NGSS and the state social studies standards. Although the module is written for a science methods course, instructors may want to collaborate with the social studies methods course instructor regarding this module.