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Educational Services Division

Outdoor Science School collaborates with UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science

Science lessons for 5th and 6th grade students are wrapped up in awe and wonder for the natural world at the Santa Cruz County Residential Outdoor Science School. Each year, more than 4,000 students from Santa Cruz and surrounding counties participate in this memorable learning experience.

Thanks to the Lawrence Hall of Science and the soon-to-be-released Next Generation Science Standards, the Outdoor Science School will soon be implementing an updated curriculum designed around the most current theories of pedagogy. Much of the curriculum is based on the idea that in order for students to reach understanding of scientific concepts, they need to encounter multiple learning experiences, question their assumptions, struggle with new ideas that may not make sense right away and apply new ideas in different contexts.

Recently, the naturalists at the Outdoor Science School have had the opportunity to collaborate with scientists and educators at the Lawrence Hall on the BEETLES (Better Environmental Education Teaching Learning Sharing and Expertise) project. The purpose of the project is to develop and test research-based, professional development modules specifically for outdoor educators.

For three days in the fall of 2012, the team from the Lawrence Hall worked with the Outdoor Science School naturalists testing professional development modules that focused on: Deepening Observation Skills, Pedagogy in Outdoor Education, The Learning Cycle, Evidence and Explanations, Questioning Strategies, and Promoting Discussion.

Mid-year, the Lawrence Hall team presented on the concepts of Matter and Energy and highlighted the up and coming Next Generation Science Standards which are due to be released in March of 2013.

The naturalists at the Outdoor Science School have been implementing the new teaching strategies in the current school year and are working with the Lawrence Hall team to give feedback on the field applications of the professional development modules. The staff and naturalists at the Outdoor Science School have been honored to work with such a renowned institution as the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Find out more about the Outdoor Science School program on their website. Registration is currently open for the 2013-2014 school year. To enroll your 5th or 6th grade class, contact the Outdoor Science School office at 831-466-5715.

Santa Cruz County Office of Education  |  400 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060  |  831.466.5600  |  Fax: 831.466.5607
The Santa Cruz County Office of Education provides quality educational programs and services to a diverse community.