Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Earth sciences--Study and teaching (Middle school); Curriculum planning;


I chose to focus my creative component on the development and implementation of a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned earth science unit for an 8th grade science course taught using Project Based Learning (PBL) and graded using Standards Referenced Grading (SRG) philosophies and a proficiency scale. The unit focused on the Performance Expectation MS-ESS3-3: Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment (NGSS, 2013e). This standard includes the Science and Engineering Practice (SEP) of constructing explanations and designing solutions, a Cross Cutting Concept (CCC) of cause and effect, and a Disciplinary Core Idea (DCI) of human impacts on Earth systems specifically how humans have altered the biosphere by damaging or destroying natural habitats and how when human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources increases, so do the negative impacts on the Earth unless activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise. The Understanding by Design (UbD) method of backwards planning was utilized in the creation of the instructional unit. The 5E Learning Cycle instructional model and Storylines were used to develop and organize learning activities and the various assessments, including pre assessments, formative assessments and a summative assessment project. A pretest and posttest flowchart was used to determine student growth of sustainability concepts and a modified and abbreviated EQuIP rubric was utilized to evaluate the instructional units alignment with the NGSS and “Gold Standard” PBL criteria.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Science Education Program

First Advisor

Dawn Del Carlo

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 154 pages)



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