Article by Hayley Usedom, Education Coordinator, Marine Science Institute
This summer, the Marine Science Institute and fellow members of the San Mateo Environmental Learning Collaborative (SMELC)—Ten Strands, the San Mateo County Office of Education, Hidden Villa, Pie Ranch, Project Learning Tree, Project Wet and Recycle Works—hosted a series of teacher workshops titled “Professional Learning Collaborative for K-8 Educators: Succeeding with NGSS Using Your Local Environment.”
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are national educational standards that were developed by states and are based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education. The standards consist of three dimensions: Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core Ideas. During the workshops, teacher teams had the unique opportunity to co-create NGSS-based units of study, focused on one of the three dimensions, with help from standards experts and non-formal environmental education providers, such as the Marine Science Institute. The teachers that attended the workshops had varying backgrounds and many had little to no prior knowledge of the NGSS. They were eager, however, to develop new lesson plans and had questions on how to incorporate aspects of environmental education.
Each of the workshops ended with teachers presenting their lesson plans to the entire group. It was rewarding to see the teachers’ hard work and their creative ideas for implementing environmental education in their lessons. The collaboration doesn’t stop with the end of the workshop, however. The Marine Science Institute is currently working with a handful of participating teachers to help bring these standards to life in and out of the classroom, and teachers and providers will be connecting with each other throughout the 2015-16 school year to implement the newly created lessons. According to the National Environmental Education Foundation’s Environmental Literacy in the United States: An Agenda for Leadership in the 21st Century, “Building environmental literacy means sharing stellar programs and practices widely, investing in research and development for environmental education, measuring success, and working collaboratively to achieve more cohesive, strategic, and effective impact.” It is the Marine Science Institute’s hope that we can be an integral part in assisting teachers to implement engaging and impactful environmental curriculum.
Thank you Ten Strands, the San Mateo County Office of Education, Hidden Villa, Pie Ranch,
Project Learning Tree, Project Wet and Recycle Works for hosting this professional learning collaborative.
To learn more about program opportunities please visit our webpage at www.sfbaymsi.org.
This article was featured in our BayLines Autumn Edition 2015.
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