PS 74-129 - Michigan ZoomIN: From field to undergraduates to NGSS aligned lessons for K-12 classrooms

Friday, August 11, 2017
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Samantha K. Lichtenwald1, Tiffany S. Carey2 and Nyeema Harris2, (1)School of Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, (2)Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

The Mesoniche Project studies the distribution of carnivore communities and their prey throughout the state of Michigan with varying climates and levels of human disturbance. As a component of our outreach for the project, we developed Michigan ZoomIN to engage the public in our research. Participants visit our Zooniverse website to identify animals, behaviors, and environmental conditions captured in images from remote cameras located in three study areas across Michigan. Our process of developing curriculum for Michigan ZoomIN was sparked by our goal to broaden participation and exposure to diverse audiences. To accomplish this goal, we started in an undergraduate general ecology course (EEB 281) at the University of Michigan in fall of 2016. 54 students used Michigan ZoomIN as an educational tool, each creating a K-12 lesson plan on an ecological concept, while also demonstrating their own competency of content and enhancing their communication capacity. While evaluating lessons, we looked for ideas that encouraged student-led discussion, promoted scientific inquiry, and incorporated hands-on activities. Lessons were ranked 0 (weak) - 5 (strong) based on creativity and student engagement, appropriate grade-level, alignment with Next Generation Science Standards, degree of necessary modification, and level of interaction with Michigan ZoomIN.


Of the 54 submitted lessons, 10 ranked 0, 29 ranked 1-2, 14 ranked 3-4, and 1 ranked 5. 47 lessons proposed a target grade-level ranging from 3-12, with 51% accuracy. Of the 47, all suggested the lesson be taught at a lower than realistic grade, which led to misalignment of NGSS standards. To improve future students’ lesson-planning, we will facilitate prolonged engagement with and feedback from UM School of Education and Education staff at UM Natural History Museum. Based on EEB 281 lesson plans, we identified 5 focal areas to construct season #1 curriculum for Michigan ZoomIN, for secondary education: predator-prey interactions, food webs, energy transfer between trophic levels, biodiversity, and human impact on habitat. Lessons are aligned to NGSS Middle and High School Life Science topics of Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems, Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems, and Natural Selection and Adaptations/Evolution. We see clear connections between the applications Michigan ZoomIN offers and cross cutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and science and engineering practices outlined in the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education. We aim to continue building best practices and collaborating with partners to create and promote the next generation of environmentally informed citizens.