Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

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Heather Shaffery

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K20 Center

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Recent Publications

A Lot of Pooping, Blooming, and Dying

Effects of Disturbance on Ecosystems

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Students will explore the effects of an increase in nitrogen and phosphorus in aquatic ecosystems. They will collect data from an algae growth investigation and complete a reading about human-produced nutrient inputs. Using these sources of evidence, students will develop a causal explanation of the... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
A Lot of Pooping, Blooming, and Dying

Effects of Disturbance on Ecosystems

Tag Sponsor

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-LS2-4, 7.LS2.4 , 7.LS2.4.2
More 200 minutes
Time Frame 4-5 class period(s)
State of AWAREness

The Influence of Natural Hazards on Human Activity

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 9th - 12th

In this lesson, students make connections between severe weather events and human behavior. Students will play through AWARE: Advanced Weather Awareness & Response Education, a digital game-based learning (DGBL) module; explore population growth data; and research the economic sectors and natural resources... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
State of AWAREness

The Influence of Natural Hazards on Human Activity

Tag Related

  • Games

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 9th - 12th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Course Course

  • Earth Science, Environmental Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • HS-ESS3-1
More 5-6 class periods
Time Frame 250-280 minutes
Indestructible? Inconceivable!

Chemical Properties and Reactions

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Observing a polyurea-coated watermelon dropping from a 148-foot drop as a phenomenon, students will develop an understanding of how the coating is formed via a chemical reaction and what properties make the substance so durable. Through models and observational data, students will explain how the molecular... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
Indestructible? Inconceivable!

Chemical Properties and Reactions

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, 7.PS1.1 , 7.PS1.1.1, 7.PS1.2 , 7.PS1.2.1, 7.PS1.2.2
More 220 minutes
Time Frame 3-4 class period(s)
Getting Yourself Out There

Plant Reproduction and Seed Dispersal

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

In this lesson, students will explore a variety of plant reproductive structures and determine differences between sexual and asexual reproduction through hands-on observations and online research. Based on their findings, students will use engineering design to create and test "seed dispersal" structures.... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
Getting Yourself Out There

Plant Reproduction and Seed Dispersal

Tag Sponsor

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science
More 200 minutes
Time Frame 3-5 class period(s)
Doggos, Digestion, and Fossils, Oh My!

Digestion and the Fossil Record

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Students will explore the relationship between the fossil record and the digestive system using coprolites (i.e., fossilized poop) as a phenomenon. By investigating the chemical and physical processes of digestion and connecting these to prior knowledge of fossil formation, students will explain what... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
Doggos, Digestion, and Fossils, Oh My!

Digestion and the Fossil Record

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-LS1-7, MS-LS4-1, MS-LS4-2
More 150 minutes
Time Frame 2-3 class period(s)
Phylogenetic Mana-trees

Using Genomic Data to Evaluate Evolutionary Relationships

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 9th - 12th

In this lesson, students will develop cladograms and phylogenetic trees to predict manatees' evolutionary relationships to several other mammals. By comparing trees based on morphological characteristics with trees made from protein sequences, students will deepen their understanding of why scientists... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
Phylogenetic Mana-trees

Using Genomic Data to Evaluate Evolutionary Relationships

Tag Sponsor

  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 9th - 12th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Course Course

  • Biology I, Biology II

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • HS-LS4-1, B.LS4.1, B.LS4.1.1
More 3-4 class periods
Time Frame 200 minutes
Beyond the Slinky®, Part 3

Information Transmission Through Waves

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Students will investigate how digital and analog waves carry information by developing a model and relating it to information transmission. This lesson is Part 3 of "Beyond the Slinky®," a three-part lesson series on waves and their properties. Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
Beyond the Slinky®, Part 3

Information Transmission Through Waves

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-PS4-3, 8.PS4.3 , 8.PS4.3.1
More 3-4 class periods
Time Frame 180 minutes
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-LS2-3)

Conservation, Ecosystems, and Soil Health

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

This lesson is a middle school adaptation of the high school "How Does Your Garden Grow?" lesson. Students will explore soil health principles, soil chemistry, nutrient cycles, and environmental impacts of soil quality. Students will construct models that demonstrate the flow of matter and energy in... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-LS2-3)

Conservation, Ecosystems, and Soil Health

Tag Sponsor

  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-LS2-3, 7.LS2.3 , 7.LS2.3.1, 7.LS2.3.2
More 300 minutes
Time Frame 4-5 class period(s)
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-ESS3-4)

CONSERVATION, ECOSYSTEMS, AND SOIL HEALTH

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

This lesson is a middle school adaptation of the high school "How Does Your Garden Grow?" lesson. Students will explore soil health principles, soil chemistry, nutrient cycles, environmental impacts of soil quality, and human influence on soil health. Students will create public service announcements... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-ESS3-4)

CONSERVATION, ECOSYSTEMS, AND SOIL HEALTH

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-ESS3-4, 7.ESS3.4 , 7.ESS3.4.1
More 300 minutes
Time Frame 4-5 class period(s)
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-LS1-5)

Conservation, Ecosystems, and Soil Health

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

This lesson is a middle school adaptation of the high school "How Does Your Garden Grow?" lesson. Students will explore soil health principles, soil chemistry, nutrient cycles, and environmental impacts of soil quality and investigate optimal soil conditions in which to grow plants. Using the data and... Read more »

Lesson 5E Lesson
How Does Your Garden Grow? (MS-LS1-5)

Conservation, Ecosystems, and Soil Health

Grade Level Grade Level

  • 6th - 8th

Subject Subject

  • Science

Copied To Clipboard Standards

  • MS-LS1-5, 8.LS1.5 , 8.LS1.5.1
More 300 minutes
Time Frame 4-5 class period(s)