Welcome to the Schoobio Curriculum page!
By entering the Schoobio world your students will become citizen scientists, biophiles, landscape designers, and advocates for bioculturally diverse school grounds at their school. Through an educational sustainability lens, they will discover the three pillars required for a sustainable future in their own places: environmental protection, social equity, and economic viability.
Schoobio is the result of requests from teachers in Kansas in 2016 for a tool to address the wicked problem of biodiversity loss through the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which require inquiry-based, student-centered learning. After a couple of prototypes supported by the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks, Schoobio became my doctoral dissertation project and expanded to explore the concept of nature-culture connections. These connections are critical to maintaining biodiversity. When habitat is lost, often the knowledge, traditions and culture of the people living in those areas is also lost. This wisdom is vital to understanding ecosystems and the services they provide (nature's contributions to people). It is also critical for retaining the intrinsic value of nature. Biocultural diversity is therefore an important part of this curriculum. Maffi (2007) defined biocultural diversity as the "diversity of life in all its manifestations: biological, cultural, and linguistic -- which are interrelated within a complex socio-ecological adaptive system." School grounds are an underutilized space where biocultural diversity can be expanded and made more accessible to students and the greater community.
Schoobio's theoretical foundation is based on a framework of academic research. Schoobio and its earlier renditions have received continual feedback by my community of practice, which includes teachers, ecologists, and professionals working in urban planning and landscape architecture. The completed Schoobio curriculum was peer reviewed by middle to high school teachers, university professors who are curriculum experts, and members of NGOs from different countries. A feedback form for reviewing the overall curriculum and a separate feedback form for pilot teachers were used to address Schoobio's design, feasibility of use, and benefits to students. The anonymous feedback forms included both rubrics and qualitative questions.
So that the curriculum is easy to update and accessible on a broad scale, I created Schoobio on a Google website platform, using Google Sheets to lay out the lessons before writing them in full to ensure the flow of the lessons and their culmination in student action and reflection. Some lessons were created for this curriculum and others are pre-existing (citations in the lessons). Each page has a "print or save" option at the bottom in case teachers would like a copy of the lesson in hand while teaching.
Schoobio is aligned with NGSS and fits well with both the 5E Learning Model and the Ecological Society of America's 4DEE Framework used by many teachers. Universal Design for Learning concepts are woven throughout in keeping with student-centered learning, choice, and accessibility, as is Marzano's framework for change through instructional strategies designed for optimizing student learning. These strategies, including building on previous knowledge and demonstrating learner engagement, focus on authentic, experiential, and place-based learning. Students will engage in environmental action civics through science, art, data visualization, mapping, communications, history, writing, and more. They will see themselves as change agents who can use their research skills, compassion for others, and civic engagement to affect change at their school and in their communities.
This transdisciplinary curriculum was designed to create opportunities for you and your students to explore different nature-culture connections and ideas about biodiversity and reflect them on your school grounds. Increasing biocultural diversity is critical for this big planet on which we live to continue to thrive and provide equitable resources for all of us: humans, plants, and animals, no matter where we live. We are a part of nature, not apart from it.
I'd love to hear your feedback and suggestions for improving and expanding Schoobio, whether it's comments and ideas based on your experience or a formal curriculum review. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Together in nature,
The Schoobio curriculum is written for middle to high school students (and their international equivalents). It is a global curriculum with a reach beyond the United States, adaptable for all classrooms. Curriculum units build on one another. (Lessons can also be done individually.) The first three units focus on exploring the Sustainable Development Goals, mapping the school grounds, discovering nature-culture connections, conducting a biodiversity inventory, and creating data visualizations. In Unit 4 students take this information and envision their ideal bioculturally diverse school ground, for which they create a persuasive argument and presentation in Unit 5. Unit 6 is a reflection on the project and how what was learned applies to different parts of life. Students keep an observation journal and accumulate information for their presentations throughout the curriculum.
As a transdisciplinary curriculum, Schoobio is meant to be adapted in whatever way works best for your students: team teach, skip an activity, change the questions, substitute materials or a teaching method. Elementary teachers, feel free to adapt these activities for your students. The goal is increased biocultural diversity on school grounds and students who are confident in their ability to make change happen. The specifics of how you get there are up to you!
What are the SDGs and how are they a catalyst for providing a more sustainable future for all? How can we apply them to our lives and our school? In this unit, we will explore the SDGs, relate them to our life and school, and consider what we value about them.
How can ecological and culturally diverse school grounds help address wicked problems such as biodiversity? How can culture help us express our relationships with nature? In this unit, we will discover what constitutes an ecological school ground and think about how we can express the nature-culture connections of our student community there.
Why is biodiversity essential for healthy ecosystems, and what does it contribute to the intrinsic value of nature? Why is data important to inform management decisions? In this unit, we will conduct a biodiversity inventory of our school grounds, evaluate our data and observations against the elements of an ecological school ground, and use the data we collect to tell a story about our school grounds.
How can we use knowledge, data, and the input of others to envision an ecological, bioculturally diverse school ground at our school? What is needed to take this vision and create a realistic plan to implement it? In this unit, we will use the information we have gathered and work together to create a plan for increasing biocultural diversity on our school grounds.
What are some attributes of successful advocates and compelling presentations that can be used in our own presentation in support of bioculturally diverse school grounds? In this unit, we will identify these attributes and apply them to a presentation we will make to school or community leaders to ask their support for our plan.
What skills have students gained through participating in this project that can be applied to other things that are important to them? What have they learned about their own values and those of others? In this unit, we will reflect on these questions.
Maffi, L. (2007). The SAGE handbook of environment and society (J. Pretty, et al., Eds.). SAGE Publications Ltd., p. 269.