Learning progressions for students’ environmental science literacy
The Baltimore Ecosystem Study Education Team has been collaborating with educators across the nation in the Pathways to Environmental Literacy Project (http://www.pathwaysproject.kbs.msu.edu, and see Figure 1) to develop learning progressions for middle and high school students’ environmental science literacy. Learning progressions (LPs) are the pathways of increasingly sophisticated understandings students demonstrate for particular concepts. We hypothesize that LPs can provide powerful insights and tools for both students and teachers to set challenging yet appropriate learning goals and to support student engagement and learning. While our current research focuses on five topics – carbon cycling, water quality and flows, biodiversity and evolution, quantitative reasoning, and using science in citizenship – we think that the insights and tools can be applied to a broad range of topics across the environmental science curriculum. The core question driving this work is: How can learning progressions support the development of theory and practice in teaching and learning to help more students achieve sophisticated model-based reasoning in environmental science?
The Pathways Project is describing patterns of student reasoning and learning, and associated instructional practices and tools, across a broad range of students, environmental science topics and contexts. This has included work with over 60 middle and high school teachers and their student in Baltimore City and County public and private schools since 2009, with similar work taking place at LTER sites in Michigan, Colorado and California (see Figure 1). For information about current BES education programs and resources, go to: http://www.beslter.org/frame5-stuff.html.
References in text:
Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., Salinas, I., & Anderson, C. W. 2012. A Learning Progression for Water in Socio-Ecological Systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(7), 843-868
Jin, H., L. Zhan & C.W. Anderson. 2013. Developing a Fine-Grained Learning Progression Framework for Carbon-Transforming Processes. International Journal of Science Education. 35:1663-1697.