Theme of the month

Theme of the Month

Join us each month as we focus on a topic of interest to STEM Teacher Leaders with a webinar panel, open discussion, resources and blog post. 


Join the Discussion: Partnering Culturally Responsive Teaching and Place-Based Science Education

In this facilitated discussion, we will explore the power generated at the intersection of culturally responsive teaching and PBE. We invite your participation!


Full Name

Hello!  This is Mike Szydlowski - one of the panelists on place-based education.  I would love to hear how others have started their place-based journey.  What was your first place-based lesson and how did it go?   Remember, a place-based lesson does NOT have to be a huge project.  Short experiences are great too!

Fri, 09/10/2021 - 11:52 AM Permalink

Thank you for the great job. The webinar was worthy.

I want just to state that relatives as familly miss the role of informal learning because it initiate child thinking functioning before joining a simple classroom.

Other thing I want to add is how can a learner since enrolling in a school will never hear from his local industry or agriculture, culture and untill he will be graduate.

So I think that it's time to promote local environment as a toolkit to performing learners academical achivement.

Best regards,


Fri, 09/10/2021 - 2:08 PM Permalink

Hi Abdelfattah,

Yes! How do we make the STEM learning ecosystem - all the possible places and spaces we learn about the world, from family and community through K-12 , high ed, and the work world - more visible? How do we build partnerships that center the student? I know Beatriz's group had some great thoughts on building community partnerships. I hope they share the highlights!



Fri, 09/10/2021 - 3:44 PM Permalink
Full Name

Thanks for a great presentation and resources! 

My experiences with PBE though engaging, often did not extend beyond a year to help teachers develop expertise.  What work arounds have you utilized with teachers given prescribed curriculum? Are there co-development opportunities for long term local experiences? What type of professional learning would be needed to infuse any given curriculum with let’s say 20% PBE? Stem teaching tool 31 recommends self-documentation as a way to leverage student and community interest and expertise.

Mon, 09/13/2021 - 4:12 PM Permalink
Full Name

In reply to by Wanda Bryant


Great question. To sustain PBE, leaders need to continue to encourage and emphasize it.  This can be done by having administration review data on its efficiency. Another important point is that having teachers start with really big PBE projects often ends up not being sustainable. While large projects are great, the more sustainable and lasting PBE strategies are when they are smaller and embedded often.  The other benefit to this is that they don't create havoc with a prescribed curriculum timeline. It may mean adjusting some of activities you do to teach a standard but it does not have to drastically change the scope and sequence. 

An example of this type of short and embedded learning is having students use the place based triangle and/or tools from Compass Learning to connect the standards to your place.  This is quick and so impactful.  Then you can work up towards an occasional medium sized project or more. 

If ever interested, I have traveled to districts to do place-based PD and places like the Teton Science School and Compass Learning does also.

Hope that helps!

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 11:03 AM Permalink
Full Name

What aspects of land education are driving your work and how are you engaging this with community? What has been exciting in your developments and/or what challenges are you continuing to work through?

Wed, 09/15/2021 - 10:06 AM Permalink


This is a very interesting question that we have been working on.  What we ran into was even out county's historical society only had "modern" history. They had virtually nothing about anything before the mid 1800s.  However, after digging, our social studies coordinator talked to an archeology group and they had evidence of life in our area before then.  So, now we are working on trying to connect the two groups so that the history of our land can be more complete.  We do know what Native American groups were here but little beyond that so this new work could be really great and include student-led research and presentations. 

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 11:07 AM Permalink
Full Name

In reply to by Mike Szydlowski

Hi Mike!

When I read your post, it made me think of this Learning in Places resource.  I especially like Appendix D which is a history of place educator self assessment.

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 5:15 PM Permalink

I should also say that we have just recently connected with a Geologist that is going to try to help us understand the geologic history of where we live and put it into simple terms.  (once was an ocean, then tropical region, then mountain, then prairie, etc.) and how that is known.  Then connect that to the animals that lived here then people.  I am excited about having the students possible create an easy to understand huge timeline specific to our area. 

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 11:11 AM Permalink


I share with you my experience with google earth, my son know how situed himself by manipulating this digital tool. He was excited.

Since my son is born, the priority to me is that I have to educate him rely in time and space, commencing by second and meter until earth and time scale. By himself and as he prefers will discover the world.

Don't ask boy to do too much if some inner options aren't activated like with a new bought smartphone.

Here are four easy ways anyone can use Google Earth as a learning tool or even simply to experience new places and adventures while staying safe at home proposed by Emily Henderson ( Program Manager, Google Earth Education) in her article published Apr 17, 2020

More details in the bottom:



Fri, 09/17/2021 - 11:41 AM Permalink
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