Place-based Science for Educators: Module 4




Part 1: Place Plan Models and Resources

At this point you have developed an idea to start – or continue – to integrate place into your classroom.  One of our last steps is to consider how to actually implement our place-based education ideas.  For me, it is helpful to see the plethora of ways in which educators engage their students in place; the resources below offer frameworks and examples that highlight that variety.

Step 1: Explore Guide to Implementing Place-based Education

This guide, created in partnership with Teton Science Schools and two other organizations, includes some useful links and frameworks as you think about how to actually implement a place-based experience in your classroom.   I find the continuum framework, with examples in each category, especially useful — this starts on page 9 of the PDF.  (Note that reading the PDF full screen will be easier than trying to read it embedded on this page.)  Skim to the parts your find most relevant, and as you read, consider:

  • Does your current Place Plan idea fit into this continuum?  If so, where? 
  • If you have time, check out a couple of the links in this PDF to learn more about examples that are of interest to you.  Do any of these spark new place-based teaching ideas for your classroom, in the immediate or longer term?

Step 2: Watch Example(s) of Vermont Place-based Education

Several Vermont educators have done fantastic work in the realm of place-based education.  Additionally, participants from last year’s cohort created some REALLY neat Place Plans.  

Check out at least one or two (no need to watch/read all!) of the exemplars below to get a sense of what is possible.  Especially for the videos/articles, these are meant to be long-term inspirations, not models of what you will do this coming year.   As you watch, consider:

  • Do you have a longer term vision or dream for connecting students to place? What would it take to get there?
  • Have you thought about (or have you already begun) collaborating with other teachers at your school on place-based curriculum? What might this look like?
Exemplars #1 and #2:  Some great place plans from last year — check out this example and/or this example
Exemplar #3:  Integrated Sustainability Studies at Montpelier High School (video)
Exemplar #4: The Walden Project at Vergennes High School (video)
Exemplar #5: Making [Middle School] Science Authentic at Lyndon Town School (video presentation or transcript)
Exemplar #6: Place-based Education at Hartland Elementary School (article)