About POSOH Teaching Resources
Collaborative teams of educators, community members, and scientists have designed and developed three POSOH Units for middle and high school grade levels that are place-based and culturally relevant and support conceptual science teaching and learning. We define place-based and culturally relevant curricula as follows:
Place-based Curricula: “Place” refers to the shared geographical, ecological, and sociocultural context of a particular region. In our case, place refers to the Wolf and Fox River Watersheds of northeast Wisconsin. Each of our three POSOH Units was designed in collaboration with people in our place to address local priorities and locally relevant science concepts. Learning materials that are place-based are designed explicitly in the context of the place where they are used and the people with whom they are used. The learning outcomes in place-based curricula include location-specific learning goals; place is used throughout the materials in connection to understanding key concepts and not simply as a motivator or hook. The underpinning intention of these place-based curricula is that learners will develop a stronger connection to their place by learning with these materials, encouraging natural opportunities for taking local stewardship action to emerge.
Culturally Relevant Curricula: Our work draws from the culturally relevant pedagogies approach to designing innovative learning materials. POSOH curricula promote science learning experiences that: 1) validate the value of cultural ways of understanding the natural world as important human knowledge and as contributing to the current body of scientific knowledge, with or without formal acknowledgement, 2) engage students in rigorous science learning based on a science inquiry model that articulates the development of evidence-based explanations as an effective path to promote academic achievement in science, 3) engage students and teachers in cultural learning and intercultural competency, 4) support students and teachers to reflect on the personal relevance of their cultural and science knowledge and learning processes, and 5) incorporate elements of pedagogy and local stewardship actions that are supported by and emerge from the local cultural community.
Acknowledgements: We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and POSOH’s curriculum developers graciously acknowledge the importance of Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings’ work in guiding our own efforts to construct effective culturally relevant curricula for the communities our project serves. Dr. Ladson-Billings’ insights and passion for enriching education for all children inspires our commitments to equity in science education and increasing opportunities for underserved youth. In addition, we draw strength and inspiration from all of our POSOH Design Team members and the countless other individuals who gave us time and thoughtful input (both formally and informally); they are the reason it was even possible to design and develop these place-based, culturally relevant units.
Instructional Graphic Art and Digital Media
POSOH’s units include beautiful artwork by local Menominee artist, Anthony Gauthier, and Oneida artist, Patrick Foote. Their illustrations serve as instructional resources, giving visual cues to connect science learning with its real world context and link micro- with macro-scale processes.
POSOH’s units also include collaboratively-developed educational video programs, photographs, and narratives that were created to support specific learning goals, situated in the context of northeast Wisconsin and the region’s indigenous cultures. For instance, POSOH educational videos are used as audiovisual evidence that students grapple with while engaging in science inquiry practices, and at the same time incorporate the voices of scientists and members of local Tribal communities. In addition, POSOH uses instructional media as a strategy for raising students’ meta-level awareness of how people learn and of how one can learn from community members and culture keepers.
POSOH’s instructional media is a reflection of the Project’s many cross-organizational and multicultural partnerships and our commitment to rigorous, place-based, culturally relevant science teaching and learning.