Incorporating the Standards into Ecology and Environmental Science Classrooms

Presenters: Barbara Nagle, Gillian Puttick

In this session, participants will explore the design of learning materials that were developed to align with the NGSS. Examples from NSF-funded middle school (Nagle) and high school (Puttick) ecology and environmental science curricula will introduce curriculum and professional development models that help teachers integrate core interdisciplinary science ideas with key science practices and cross-cutting concepts, and connect student thinking to the “big ideas.”


Barbara Nagle, SEPUP Director, Lawrence Hall of Science
Barbara Nagle is the SEPUP director at the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley. Her current work focuses on development of curriculum materials and professional development programs that support three-dimensional learning as envisioned in the NGSS. She is leading SEPUP’s development of new editions of the SEPUP middle school program and is a coPI for the NSF DRK–12 project Moving Next Generation Science Standards into Practice: A Middle School Ecology Unit and Teacher Professional Development Model. For this project, the Lawrence Hall of Science is collaborating with PI Jim Short of the American Museum of Natural History and coPI Suzanne Wilson of the University of Connecticut.Nagle has taught high school chemistry in Oakland, California, and college-level biology courses at the University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley. She has contributed to numerous NSF-funded SEPUP curriculum modules and units as an author, project coordinator, and principal investigator. Her published products, developed in collaboration with the SEPUP team, include a complete middle school science series that includesIssues and Earth Science, Issues and Life Science, and Issues and Physical Science, and two high school courses titled Science and Sustainability and Science and Global Issues: Biology. All SEPUP materials are based on an issue-oriented instructional model in which personal, community, or global issues related to science provide a context for learning.Nagle received her PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gillian Puttick, Senior Scientist, TERC
Gillian Puttick is a co-leader of the Life Sciences Initiative at TERC. This group seeks to understand how students encounter living systems through laboratory and field experiences. She is currently the PI or coPI of three NSF-funded projects related to ecological environmental science. Innovate to Mitigate is researching student learning in a challenge for young people that calls for mitigation of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Teams of middle and high school students collaborate on projects that, for example, improve biochar creation efficiency, design and test prototype wave-powered electricity generators for a local community, and investigate ways to sequester oceanic carbon. Building Systems from Scratch is using a design-based research (DBR) approach to research the development of computational and systems thinking in middle school students through explorations of earth systems. Students design games using Scratch programming software that teaches others about the complex interactions among land, oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere (including humans) that contribute to changing climates. The Climate Labuses a DBR approach to study a partnership among scientists, education researchers and middle school teachers that engages teachers and students in collecting and analyzing data on local biotic and abiotic indicators of climate change on transects at school grounds, and in learning about climate adaptation and mitigation. Puttick is a member of American Education Research Association, National Science Teachers Association, National Association of Biology Teachers, Ecological Society of America, and Learning Disabilities Association. She has a BSc in Zoology, a BA in Social Anthropology, and a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cape Town.