2061 Connections
An electronic newsletter for the science education community

March 2012

Green Schools Curriculum Project Launched

Whether pursuing full LEED certification or simply adopting more energy- and water-saving technologies and practices, K-12 schools are the fastest growing segment of the green building industry. Now, with a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Project 2061 is exploring ways to take advantage of green schools as powerful contexts for learning important science, mathematics, and technology ideas at the middle grades.

To begin thinking through the opportunities for learning that green schools might offer, the project team met at AAAS headquarters in January for an intense two-day working session devoted to information sharing, demonstrations of technology-based modeling, and brainstorming. The team includes mathematics and science educators, a green building architect, cognitive scientists, a mathematician, technology developers, informal science educators and classroom teachers. During the meeting members explored the types of data that can come from a school building, no matter where it may fall on the “green” continuum; how to identify and then integrate a set of important learning goals in science and mathematics that make use of such data; and how the use of informal science education settings and strategies as well as educational technology might enhance student motivation and understanding. Plans are underway to define the conceptual framework for developing green school curriculum materials and to produce the first prototype activity for grade 8.

To ground this new work in the reality of the classroom, the team is also exploring connections and exchanging ideas with STEM teachers from several schools such as Sidwell Friends Middle School and the E. L. Haynes Charter School in Washington, DC; the Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA; and the Park View School in Morton Grove, IL. “Our goal is to meet NSF’s challenge of transforming STEM learning,” said Dr. Linda Wilson, a project director at AAAS and principal investigator. “The team is committed to pushing this concept as far as possible.”

For more information, contact Dr. Linda Wilson, 202 326 6209, lwilson@aaas.org.

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