Pīcekaen Pemēh Unit

Energy and Sustainability

POSOH’s third unit is designed for middle - or high school-level students. It supports teaching and learning about matter and energy through lessons that are culturally relevant and place-based. Our vision for this unit is that it engages students of all cultural backgrounds in learning key science concepts through multiple ways of knowing and exploring local issues. We also envision that by privileging the experiences of local Indigenous communities in the science learning process that this curriculum helps build cross-cultural bridges between native students and science as well as between native and non-native communities in the area.

POSOH’s third unit is designed for middle- or high school-level students. It supports teaching and learning about matter and energy through lessons that are culturally relevant and place-based. Our vision for this unit is that it engages students of all cultural backgrounds in learning key science concepts through multiple ways of knowing and exploring local issues. We also envision that by privileging the experiences of local Indigenous communities in the science learning process that this curriculum helps build cross-cultural bridges between native students and science as well as between native and non-native communities in the area.

This unit provides students with opportunities to learn important standards-based ideas associated with energy transformations in the context of a story that was written for the unit about a family who lives in northeast Wisconsin. The unit focuses on energy- and matter-related concepts as well as sustainability. A teen struggles to understand and mitigate a fight between her father and uncle, providing a relevant context for teaching and learning the big science ideas that are included in these Disciplinary Core Ideas:

LS1C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes

LS2B: Cycle of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

In addition, the design of the lessons in this unit aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards vision for science education—the vision that science teaching and learning should reflect the interconnected nature of science by embedding crosscutting concepts in all grade levels. Crosscutting concepts that overarch the science standards are also well supported by this unit, and support for Common Core English Language Arts Standards is included throughout.

Design of this Unit was a collaborative effort, involving educators, scientists, and community members from the Menominee and Oneida Nations and the surrounding area in the Wolf and Fox River watersheds along with POSOH faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.

POSOH’s primary partnership involves the College of Menominee Nation and its Sustainable Development Institute, UW-Madison, CESA 8, Michigan State University, and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Many other partners and participating educators from area tribal and public schools, including guest culture and science specialists were involved in designing and reviewing these instructional materials for content accuracy and the integration of cultural knowledge, field-testing, and participating in discussion groups that provided valuable insight for curriculum development and revisions. Additional community meetings were held at the College of Menominee Nation early in the design of the unit that also influenced the design of the materials included here. These many inputs were combined by curriculum developers at UW-Madison to produce this unit.

Story by Justin Gauthier and Douglas Niles

Cover illustration and artwork by Anthony Gauthier

Videos

Cosmic Voyage Excerpt