Jessica Strom


Summer 2019


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Laura Halldin

Content Expert

Jennifer L. B. Anderson


Gaining perspective on one’s surroundings comes in many ways. One method to connect students to their local area and help them develop a sense of place is through place-based education. Making scientific-based observations and interpretations of a physical landscape and also interviewing community members can help students build an understanding of an area’s past and can help students make better educated decisions about how to take care of an area in the future. This capstone paper and curriculum unit project addressed the topic of how place-based education increases student interpretation of Minnesota's landscape and geologic processes. Place-based education is a teaching method shown to help students understand science concepts, connect to a place and live sustainably in their community. Place-based education methods were used in addition to scientific concepts in geology and ecology, specifically how the last glacial period affected Minnesota and the biomes that are found in the state. Minnesota State Standards in Science were highlighted as well due to them currently being up for review in 2019. The unit is written with present eighth grade science standards and sixth grade proposed standards. Content knowledge includes students knowing causes of landscape formation, how an area was in the past (geologically and ecologically) and how to care for the environment. Student skills include interpreting data outside, on 3D maps, topographic maps and Google Earth to observe current and past landforms, researching and interviewing community members to learn what the area was like and how it was used in the past and designing solutions to local environmental problems. The goal of this project is for students to increase their skills and ability to interpret an area and understand its story both scientific and cultural. This will enable them to make more effective decisions about the landscape and to take better care of it.


Curriculum, Environmental Studies, Science, Geology








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