Spring 2018



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Sarah Hick

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Kelly F. Langton

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sarah L. Kisiah


This capstone thesis used curriculum design to impact students’ understanding and attitude towards science. The capstone researcher designed a student-centered curriculum that used place-based education to teach the water cycle. The main goals of the curriculum were to increase depth of understanding and improve students attitude toward science. Using the designed place-based curriculum students would build a connection to the pond on school grounds through multiple visits to the area, using their knowledge of the pond to apply it to the water cycle and by connecting with water resource agencies in their community. The principles used to design the curriculum were based on the work of current placed-based educators and researchers David, Sobel, David Greenwood and David Orr. The objectives of the curriculum were shaped by the Minnesota State Science Standards and district learning targets. The actual design method used was UBD (Understanding by Design). The lessons contained hands-on inquiry learning with a summative assessment testing the pond’s water quality and sharing the results with a local water resource agency as well developing an action plan to improve the quality of the pond’s water. Through the use of this higher level summative assessment, students would be able to demonstrate a connection to the pond, greater engagement in the science curriculum, along with a deeper understanding of the local water cycle.

Research Methodology



Curriculum Development

Included in

Education Commons