Summer 2022


Capstone Project

Degree Name



Abigail Rombalski

Content Expert

Leeka Gwanganalie, Betsy Parrish, and Laura Halldin


In order to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world, it is imperative that thinkers with diverse backgrounds and perspectives are supported in the development of their scientific skills and voice. However, very few, if any, high school life science curricular resources are available that are specifically adapted with the assets and needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education (SLIFE) in mind. The widely adopted Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are uniquely designed to center the learner’s authentic thought process and pre-existing funds of knowledge–a framework which also happens to be aligned with the strengths of SLIFE students. The curriculum created for this project combines 9-12 NGSS life science standards with best practices for SLIFE students. It utilizes extensive opportunities for students to connect their learning to their rich personal experiences surrounding the biology of food science, while also providing appropriate scaffolding for developing their academic skills and English language proficiency. The 5E framework was employed to ensure fidelity to the NGSS tenet of inquiry-based learning, while the mutually adaptive learning paradigm (MALP®) was implemented to guide best practices for engaging SLIFE students. The project includes four weeks of deeply detailed lesson plans with complete student resources, and an additional blueprint for ten weeks of planned curricula without student resources. The curriculum is intended for use in high school biology classes that have adopted, or are intending to adopt NGSS, and which serve SLIFE students. However, the curriculum is flexible and could easily be adapted to the user’s setting and student population. The goal of this project is to nurture the mutually beneficial relationship between the community of SLIFE students, and the community of science, at large, through the power of storytelling and exploration.

Project Type



At-risk Students, Curriculum, ESL/ ELLs, Science








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