The Urban Ecology Curriculum for English Learners is an interdisciplinary, standards-based, upper elementary/middle school curriculum designed to bolster English language and literacy learning for Long Term English Learners (LTELs)1, or students “at risk” of becoming LTELs by providing access to rigorous, STEM content. The curriculum emphasizes locally-relevant field studies focused on engaging students in scientific study through the “four ways of knowing science”: understanding science, talking science, doing science, and acting on science. English language skills and abilities are developed using a project-based learning approach that establishes content and inquiry as a vehicle for language and literacy development, with an emphasis on expository/informational writing and oral language development.
Urban ecology is a new branch of environmental science that seeks to understand the natural systems of urban areas and the threats that face them. Urban ecologists study the trees, rivers, wildlife and open spaces found in cities to understand the extent of those resources and the pressures they face from human development. Urban ecology is the study of cities as the interactions among biological, chemical, physical and human social forces.
The Urban Ecology Curriculum for English Learners is comprized of three modules, organized conceptually. These modules may be used sequentially or they may be used in any order. However, it should be noted that Module 1 provides foundational knowledge and experiences for students, as well as a through description of urban ecology as a science. All subsequent modules are explorations of the scientific method that deepen scientific knowledge and principles related to Urban Ecology. All modules are based on the high school level, Urban Ecolab Curriculum which includes a total of eight modules, and can be accessed at the following website: cures.lmu.edu/for-instructors/urban-ecolab-curriculum.