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Rural Schools and NGSS Implementation

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Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

What are some creative models that small rural high schools are considering for NGSS implementation? I'm thinking of high schools with perhaps 2 science teachers. The NGSS course map models may not apply as easily in this type of rural school scenario. A great deal of educational innovation comes out of rural schools, so I am curious to learn what small rural districts are considering for NGSS aligned High School programs. Thanks!

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

Hi Susan - In a small rural district, for example, that does not currently offer an Earth & Space Science (ESS) course. Prior focus in our state has been on 2 required science courses for graduation - Physical Science and Biology courses for all students. Recently this has been increased to 3 required science courses for high school graduation, and many schools are adding Chemistry or Physics as the 3rd course, as already in-place for college-bound students. Again - no focus course on Earth & Space Science offered at this time in many districts. With a small rural teaching staff of 2 - 3 teachers, no one on the existing teaching staff certified in ESS and limited funds for new hires .... what are creative solutions that are out there for moving forward with coverage of ESS NGSS standards? Are many schools integrating Earth & Space Sciences NGSS standards into other science courses? I've looked at the Model Course Maps in the NGSS appendix that do this, and it seems like a great deal of new content to add into those existing courses. Just looking for any creative ideas to increase Earth and Space Science coverage. As someone who has taught high school geology in a large high school, I agree that ESS topics are critically important for science literacy. Dorothy

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

I believe that a 3 course model has been adopted in California that integrates Earth & Space Science into Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Organizations like NESTA and NAGT are hosting online webinars on how to integrate ESS into the other disciplines. While small (~550 students) we do offer ESS as a separate course, and even have elective courses in Astronomy and Oceanography. We recently made ESS a full year course to better implement the new standards, which has made enrollment drop in the elective courses (only 1 semester each).

The links on this page are a little dodgy - but if you ignore the error messages it is navigable.

Beverly DeVore-Wedding Bev DeVore-Wedding 6148 Points

I incorporated Earth & Space science into my Physical Science Classes. Since we were a rural school, many students traveled onw eekends for sports, hunting in the fall was a major industry, snowmobiling in the winter for recxreation, etc. Every Monday and Thursday during the bell-ringers, we would read the NOAA weather maps for the week,and weekend. Before the first month of school was over, students were assigned to interpret the weather maps. I didn't use the forecast pages that acually told the weather daily for the week but the forecast maps. I would download maps for future assessments for all students since not all students liked talking in front of the class. 

During force and motion unit, I included avalanche safety which introduced hydrology as well as seasons, plnaetary movements, etc. WE also talked about different sluffs, mudslides, etc. around the country as well as locally.

My students participated in RiverWatch which we could use for chemsitry and physics. 

Just a few ways to include ESS in other content areas. 

This conversation is older but I integrated earth & space sciences into my physical science course, used the weather and climate for examples of many physics concepts and some chemistry; used hydrology with physics and chemistry as well--air flow, gases, atmospheric pressures, atmoshperic gases, precipitation, avalanches (wealth of physics there!), solutions, etc.; planetary motions connected to seasons and sunlight; and I found ways to include geosciences every chance I could.

Dorothy Ginnett Dorothy Ginnett 28240 Points

Hi Bev - 

Great ideas!  I've included these topics into Life Science/Biology:

- History of the Earth (with Evolution unit),

- Global Carbon Cycling (with Ecology/Climate Change topics),

- Conditions on other planets (with discussion of characteristics/requirements for life),

- Plate tectonics (with discussions of global biodiversity, biogeography) etc. 

The physical science teacher covers some of the Earth & Space Science topics related to Physical Science.  Not a full coverage of ESS, or we'd each be teaching a course and a half (for Life Science & Physical Science), but the best we could do and still offer 'choice' for students in their science classes during their junior and senior year at our small rural school.


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