Academic journal article Science Scope

Creating a Sense of Community

Academic journal article Science Scope

Creating a Sense of Community

Article excerpt

The mountains of eastern Kentucky, where I grew up, were more influential in fostering my love of nature than my science classes at school. Our brooks were brimming with glorious critters, our fields filled with beautiful plants, and our mountains full of trails, cliffs, and trees to climb and explore. With my cousins as classmates and my mother, father, and granny as teachers, I learned firsthand the fundamentals of biology, botany, hydrology, and geology, and observed science classroom content come alive all around me. I began to understand natural cycles and phenomena that would later be formally presented in high school and college.

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By designing authentic tasks to investigate local environmental issues, middle school science teachers can connect classroom learning to the eco-structure and present real-world examples of the concepts, content, and procedures that students are learning in class. The collection of data about local concerns will reinforce students' science and engineering practices, foster social responsibility, and deepen their bonds with their schools and local communities.

For example, studying local flora and fauna or examining erosion, sedimentation, and drainage patterns in a familiar landscape will give students a clear purpose for learning the necessary biology and Earth-science content. …

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