This project will focus on a networked improvement community (NIC) model of professional learning that shifts K-5 science instruction from traditional approaches to a three-dimensional design as outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards. The project will feature a multi-level model involving university educators and researchers and school district practitioners in an effort to co-defined problems of practice valuable to both parties. A mixed methods research design will examine how the NIC model develops professional capital through changes in implementation over multiple iteration.
This project aims to develop an innovative field-based science learning approach that will support the capacity of culturally diverse students in Grades K-3 to engage in complex ecological reasoning and related problem solving. To provide rich learning environments, outdoor learning gardens will be created in which students, teachers, garden educators, and families participate in activities that facilitate the investigation of tangible ecological challenges such as water capture and food security.