On August 7th, science educators from the Puget Sound region gathered for a two-day Localizing Amplify Science Teacher Institute at IslandWood’s Bainbridge Island campus.
The educators were excited to collaborate on curriculum adaptations towards incorporating student identity, schoolyards, community assets, and regional topics into existing national Amplify Science Units.
Across the country, classroom teachers are teaching Amplify Science, a national curriculum created by UC Berkely’s Lawrence Hall of Science. For the second year in a row, IslandWood has convened a Working Group that includes LHS, Seattle Public Schools, and a group of K-8 teachers to provide Amplify Science Units connections to related local issues, students’ lived experiences, and community assets (in neighborhoods and schoolgrounds). The goal of this project is to create a Localized Appendix for one Amplify Science Unit at each grade level – K-8.
The Localizing Amplify Science Unit appendices will provide teachers and districts, with teacher-designed ideas on how to localize science curriculum content, elevate students’ own personal and cultural identities, find and use regional data sets, and make science and climate science learning more relevant to their communities. This year, the working group will finalize appendices for Amplify Science’s 4th grade Energy Conversion, 5th grade Ecosystems Restoration, and 6th grade Earth’s Changing Climate units. The resulting appendices will be tested by teachers in their classrooms before being shared with a larger audience next year.
The planning team is a collaborative effort between staff from IslandWood, Seattle Public Schools, UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, and the Northwest and Olympic Educational Service Districts. Kate Bedient, Director of IslandWood’s Urban Schools Programs, reflected on the effectiveness of the planning teams’ close collaboration with participating teachers,
“The Localizing Science Working Group] offered a special dynamic, one that highlights the power of partnership – partnership between teachers, between districts and curriculum developers, between community-based organizations and teachers. Each entity brought its own expertise to the Summit and worked to build something meaningful – something that has the potential to impact how kids engage with science for years to come.”
For the second year in a row, UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science has partnered with IslandWood to help teachers explore how teaching Amplify science phenomena are integrated into each unit and can support students making local and regional connections. Rebecca Abbot, Professional Learning Lead with the Amplify Learning Design Group at the Lawrence Hall of Science, was a great resource during the Institute, answering questions from teachers about the science units and how they are intended to be taught.
The Science Curriculum Team at Seattle Public Schools has also been a part of the planning team and Dr. Liz Sugino David, Elementary School Curriculum Specialist led many of the trainings during the institute. Dr. Liz is deeply committed to the Localizing Amplify Science Working Group. She is deeply passionate about making science teaching more accessible to teachers and scientific phenomena more locally relevant to students in our region.
Participating teachers engaged in deep collaborative work and enjoyed time for rest and rejuvenation thanks to the generous funding support from ClimeTime, Northwest Regional Educational School District and the Olympic Educational Service District. We thank everyone for participating and look forward to another year of working with these dedicated educators! Read what the Localizing Amplify Science Year-Long Working Group launch experience participants last year here.
Later this year, we will begin working with Educational Service Districts and Middle School OpenSciEd teachers to explore what it means to Localize OpenSciEd Science Units. We will also be providing workshops aimed at localizing your science work in other ways. Keep your eye out for related STEM Development opportunities with IslandWood!