PAGES

Website: http://pages.illinois.edu/

Status: Active (June 2016–)

 

Description

PAGES (Progressing through the Ages: Global change, Evolution, and Societal well-being) is an ambitious curriculum development and teacher education program that will increase teachers’ and students’ knowledge of the processes of climate change and evolution that shape ecosystems. This effort is aligned to the newly released Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which places heavy emphasis on ecology, evolution, and climate change. Knowledge of these biological processes is crucial to addressing many modern health challenges and societal problems. While almost two-thirds of the U.S. public (63%) believe that the earth is warming, only 48% believe this is due to human activities (Leiserowitz, Maibach, Roser-Renouf, et al., 2015). Similarly, many Americans (33%) reject the idea humans share an evolutionary history with other animals (Pew Research Center, 2013). Teachers themselves often lack content knowledge in these areas. However, the NGSS sets numerous rigorous performance expectations in these areas at all grade levels across K–12 education. The NGSS performance expectations build on one another over time. Hence, K–12 teachers are tasked with developing new, in-depth curriculum materials that integrate across grade levels in areas of science where they may face skeptical parents/students and where they themselves may lack critical content knowledge.

In order to address these needs, PAGES merges a curriculum development program that spans K–12, centered on the NGSS and research being done at the University of Illinois, with a rigorous professional development plan integrating the NGSX platform to teach critical content and pedagogical knowledge to teams of teachers spanning K–12. PAGES will help create a new generation of students that understands the biology underlying many problems facing our society and will motivate them to help solve these problems.

Opportunities

PAGES’ long-term goal is to empower K-12 teachers to use high quality curriculum units that are integrated across grade-levels so that students learn critical concepts, especially related to evolution and climate change, over time in order to meet the performance expectations established in the NGSS. PAGES will create a series of 2–4 week coherent curriculum units for K-12 that will enable school districts to readily align their curriculum with the NGSS. Additionally, PAGES will increase teacher content knowledge in evolution and climate change through summer teacher workshops, empowering teachers to teach these subjects with confidence.

We are currently looking for K-12 science teachers in Champaign County, Illinois, to be involved in our core group of educators that will develop and test new curriculum materials. In return, core teachers gain a supportive community, CPU credits, and/or a stipend. Contact us if you’d like to learn more!

Partners and Funding

PAGES is led by Dr. Barbara Hug  and Dr. Becky Fuller and based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Support for the NGSX portion of the project is led by Dr. Brian Reiser at Northwestern University. Funding is provided by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Institutes of Health, Award No. R25OD020203.

References

  1. Leiserowitz, A., Maibach, E., Roser-Renouf, C., Feinberg, G., & Rosenthal, S. (2015). Climate change in the American mind: March, 2015. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.
  2. Pew Research Center. (2013, December). Public’s Views on Human Evolution.