San Diego Coastkeeper recently had the exciting opportunity to take part in the San Diego Science Educators Association conference. The conference serves as an opportunity for educators of all grade levels to explore new standards, gauge the impact these standards might have on their curricula, and learn tools to help bridge the gap between outdated and newly approved methodologies.
Because the California Department of Education recently adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) model, many science educators intimated that they were very anxious to discover the impact of these new standards on their lesson plans. More than 500 educators came together to share ideas and collaborate on the goal of motivating and encouraging a love of science in their students.
Coastkeeper’s own Sandra Lebron hosted a 50 minute session entitled “Project SWELL’s Environmental Education Curriculum”, where she spotlighted techniques that both spark the scientist in students and improve their speaking, reading, writing, and math skills. She emphasized that students of all ages can be inspired to make changes when they recognize the environmental implications of human activities on our waterways. In providing young people this lesson, she suggested, we can empower and embolden a new community to protect San Diego’s waterways.
Project SWELL also had an opportunity to host a booth where we were happy to hear from many fans of the Project SWELL curriculum and have the chance to introduce the program to some who had not discovered it. In addition to workshops, there were also several other science-related area businesses and organizations hosting booths, they included the Wild Animal Park, CPO Science, the Living Coast Discovery Center, and Lockheed Martin.
It was very interesting to see the wide array of techniques already available to assist educators in the shift to the Next Generation Science Standards; they ranged low tech solutions like simple paper and water, to the more high tech like tablet and other electronic tools. If the energy in the conference was any indication, a lot of San Diego students will be buzzing about science soon. That could spell good things for fishable, swimmable, drinkable waters in San Diego!