292 Pages 168 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    292 Pages 168 B/W Illustrations
    by Eye On Education

    Learn how to facilitate scientific inquiry projects by getting out of the classroom and connecting to the natural environment—in your schoolyard, or in your community!

    Providing a contemporary perspective on how to do scientific inquiry in ways that can make teachers’ lives easier and students’ experiences better, this book draws on authentic inquiry, engaging with communities, and teaching through project-based learning to help students design and carry out scientific inquiry projects that are grounded in their local places. This accessible guide will help you to develop skills around facilitation, team building, and learning outdoors in schoolyards and parks, acting as a go-to toolkit for teachers to help build confidence and skills in these areas.   

    Written according to the Next Generation Science Standards, this book supports teachers in fostering community engagement and a justice-first classroom. The approachable resources included in this book will help teachers with all levels of experience succeed in empowering students grades 3–12 in their science learning.

    Additional support materials including template documents for student use and for teacher planning, as well as examples of real student work, are available online at www.routledge.com/9781032434155.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license

    1. Introduction

    1.1. A desert story

    1.2. How to use the book


    2. Guiding concepts

    2.1. Justice-first science teaching

    2.2. Place-based teaching

    2.3. Inquiry-based teaching

    2.4. Outdoor teaching

    2.5. Centering student identity

    2.6. Meeting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

    2.7. Learning beyond the NGSS

    2.8. Decolonizing teaching

    2.9. Linking to Indigenous science


    3. Setting scope and expectations

    3.1. Your role as teacher

    3.2. Choosing a topic

    3.3. Scheduling and time considerations

    3.4. Scaffolding projects into your curriculum

    3.5. Cost considerations

    3.6. Place considerations

    3.7. Student identity considerations

    3.8. Universal design, special needs, and disability


    4. Acquiring resources and planning safe logistics

    4.1. Partnering with volunteers

    4.2. Acquiring equipment and collecting data at low cost

    4.3. Safety and logistical preparation


    5. Getting started via exploration and team building

    5.1. Dividing students into groups

    5.2. Using notebooks

    5.3. Exploration, observation, and sense of place

    5.4. Acquiring background information

    5.5. Recognizing relationships and responsibility to place


    6. Facilitating teams and resolving conflict

    6.1. Small group facilitation

    6.2. Setting behavioral expectations

    6.3. Encouraging positive behavior from individuals

    6.4. Encouraging positive behavior from groups

    6.5. Team building

    6.6. Team contracts and check-ins

    6.7. Handling multiple groups

    6.8. Getting groups back on track


    7. Developing a question and study design

    7.1. Facilitating question development

    7.2. Building a strong question

    7.3. Designing a study and using an anchor chart

    7.4. Identifying multiple hypotheses and predictions, or not


    8. Planning data collection

    8.1. Choosing how much to measure

    8.2. Choosing what to do (protocols, checklists, and datasheets)

    8.3. Choosing roles


    9. Collecting data outdoors

    9.1. Practicing collecting data

    9.2. Collecting data

    9.3. Securing data


    10. Analyzing and sense-making

    10.1. Drawing conclusions from data

    10.2. Visually interpreting results

    10.3. Statistical tests


    11. Reflecting and recognizing success

    11.1. Reflection

    11.2. Recognition


    12. Sharing outcomes

    12.1. How and why to share projects

    12.2. Supporting presentation development

    12.3. Holding a community event


    13. Assessing learning

    13.1. Why (or why not) to assess

    13.2. Student-centered reflection and feedback


    14. Conclusion

    14.1. What students and teachers say

    14.2. Overcoming common fears

    14.3. Starting small and dreaming big




    Benjamin Wong Blonder, Ph.D. is an assistant professor and ecologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

    Ja’Nya Banks, M.Ed. was a special education teacher and now is a doctoral student in education policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

    Austin R. Cruz, M.A. is an ecologist and educator at the University of Arizona.

    Anna Dornhaus, Ph.D. is a professor at the University of Arizona studying complex systems and insect behavior.

    R. Keating Godfrey, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist at the Florida Museum of Natural History with a background in hands-on, outdoor science education and job skills training.

    Joshua S. Hoskinson, M.S., M.A. is an adjunct faculty member at Tohono O'odham Community College.

    Rebecca Lipson taught middle school science, math, and special education for eight years and served as the assistant director of education at the University of Arizona Sky School.

    Pacifica Sommers, Ph.D. is an ecologist and educator at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    Christy Coverdale Stewart, M.Ed. has 35 years of experience as a middle and high school science teacher, curriculum specialist, and teacher coach.

    Alan Strauss, Ph.D. has a background in disability studies and is the director of the University of Arizona’s Mount Lemmon Science Center and Sky School.

    This Handbook is essential reading for those educators seeking to transform the learning experiences of their students. It provides an inspiring view of learning that is centered on the student, and connected to the outdoor environment and issues of social justice.

    -- Julie A. Luft, University of Georgia College of Education distinguished research professor, and NSTA and AAAS fellow

    Passionate science educators don’t enter their profession in pursuit of standardized tests or chapter review questions. We want to pass on the same impactful experiences of challenge and discovery that inspired us. But somewhere between the idealism of preparing to teach and the reality of-well, real life, we may make some compromises. This book bridges the gap between what is possible and what is probable when it comes to teaching inquiry-based science. They show students that scientific inquiry is not locked in ivory towers but is based on observations and testable questions about the world around us. They show teachers that school grounds, simple materials, and creativity are fertile grounds for growing scientific literacy. Let these lessons allow you to compromise on the extra time you sacrifice to develop inquiry-based lessons without compromising on engaging students in a holistic way that leaves a lasting impact.

    -- Caroline Pechuzal, biology teacher, Canyon Del Oro High school

    Justice-first science teaching involves practices that few educators were trained for, but Dr. Blonder and colleagues make this goal accessible by providing frameworks, tools, and best of all, real-life examples of equitable learning by children at different grade levels. Each chapter lays out cases of teachers empowering students through authentic place-based experiences, choice, and strategic forms of support as youth investigate complex phenomena that matter to them in the real world.

    -- Mark Windschitl, professor of science education, University of Washington, and author of Ambitious Science Teaching

    Scientists study and interpret nature in and by means of real places. Our students should be able to do the same. This Handbook offers a wealth of ideas, tools, and examples to foster place-based, student-centered scientific learning.
    -- Steven Semken, Professor, School Of Earth and Space Exploration, and Affiliate Faculty, Teachers College, Arizona State University

    What a great contribution to place-based science education literature! This book is chock full of guidance for how to structure learning outside with great examples of actual projects conducted with actual students. It also provides great examples of student worksheets, assessment rubrics and scientific methodologies. It's a remarkably useful book.
    -- David Sobel, author of Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities, and Professor Emeritus, Antioch University New England

    This Handbook is a practicable guide for anyone seeking to provide youth with supportive and meaningful outdoor classroom experiences. It's a grounding breath of fresh air for educators and community leaders alike.
    -- Ruby Rodriguez, Director of Programs & Operations, Latino Outdoors