by Kathy Browne, SCI-MidAtlantic Co-Director
The SCI-MidAtlantic Regional Spring meeting on Saturday, March 25th at Rider University brought veteran SENCER faculty and numerous K-12 teachers together for a working session on infusing civic engagement into teachers’ science curriculum.
Participants were guided through the engineering design process described in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to identify real-world issues related to the Disciplinary Core Ideas and/or Cross Cutting Concepts they address in their classrooms. Veteran higher ed and SENCER faculty, an informal science educator, and select lead teachers were available to help participants identify natural phenomena and complex civic problems, and make sense of the science behind both. Then participants composed three dimensional learning tasks, expectations for students’ learning for the tasks, and a lesson plan to help students meet those expectations.
Participants included teachers from four school districts (Union City, Montgomery Township, New Brunswick, and Hillsborough Township) and included five educators who were returning to the program after having participated last year. The veteran SENCER educators in attendance to assist participants were Davida Smyth (Mercy College), Jeff Hoagland (Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association), Ron Enstrom (Rider University), Catherine Duckett (Monmouth University), Linden Higgins (education consultant), and Kathy Browne (Rider University). The program was further enhanced by lead teachers with previous experience aligning curriculum to the NGSS including real world problems: Missy Holzer (Chatham High School), Jane Kirshenbaum (Jefferson Township High School), and Jessica Monaghan (New Brunswick Middle School).