Teachers and Parks Create Placed-Based Education Lesson Plans
Place-based education helps students connect what they learn at school with the tangible world. National Parks are ideal places for lessons that combine place-based learning with curriculum standards.
During the Spring 2008 semester, in-service teachers at the College of Staten Island developed eighteen Curriculum-Based Units of Study. These units, created as part of an advanced graduate level course in the Teaching of the Secondary Social Studies, were based around field trips to one of eleven National Park Service sites in New York Harbor. Samples of student work can be seen above.
Each Teacher Guide includes three enrichment lessons and complete plans for pre-visit, on-site, and post-visit lessons. Guides are based on constructivist instructional strategies in ways that are unique and challenging. Each unit incorporates the content and pedagogy of the New York State Curriculum as well as the National Council of Social Studies Standards.
The project was part of a collaborative effort between CSI faculty, NPS rangers and New York City Department of Education teachers. The objectives were:
- to develop a collegial sense of professionalism within the community by working with individuals from a variety of perspectives and expertise; to contribute to the NPS sites’ need for Curriculum Based Programs;
- to help in-service teachers expand expertise in archival research of primary sources;
- to help both teachers and NPS staff review and analyze emerging theories, philosophies, curriculum and pedagogy of the Social Studies and thereby gain expertise in developing curricula for Place-Based-Learning.