2061 Connections
An electronic newsletter for the science education community

August 2011

Planning for a “Green School Building” Curriculum

According to industry analysts, the education sector is the fastest growing market for “green” building. As green schools increase in number, they can offer more and more students a rich and highly motivating context for an integrated approach to STEM teaching and learning. Now, with a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Project 2061 will work with a multidisciplinary team to explore how to use the real-time data on energy generation and consumption collected by green school buildings to help students learn important STEM concepts and skills and foster their environmental stewardship. The team will include classroom teachers, experts in education and cognition and in the design and operation of green buildings, as well as curriculum and technology developers.

Over the course of the two-year project, the team will develop an action plan for transforming the middle school science and mathematics curriculum by rethinking the STEM content that is taught, the ways in which students and teachers can engage more effectively with that content, and the role that technology can play to ensure wide access and motivate and empower students as effective STEM problem-solvers and lifelong learners.

"We think this concept has the potential to reach far beyond schools that are already green,” says Jo Ellen Roseman, director of Project 2061. “The use of web-based technologies will let students in other schools or in out-of-school settings take full advantage of the learning opportunities provided by this unique context.”

By the end of the project, the team will conduct a needs assessment that describes the kinds of data that can be obtained from green school buildings and the relevant STEM concepts and skills that are most challenging to students. The team will also produce a conceptual framework specifying the STEM learning goals and possible content story lines; an instructional framework detailing the types of learning activities and technologies likely to further student understanding and engagement; a proof-of-concept learning activity that demonstrates key attributes of the new curriculum; and a blueprint for designing technology tools to promote data sharing, increase participation by more schools, and foster students' ability to use STEM knowledge to solve real-world problems.

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For more information, please contact:
Project 2061 Director: Dr. Jo Ellen Roseman, (202) 326 6752

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