Science in the City


In 2002, Dr. Lee Anne Bell, the Director of Barnard's Education Program, hired five undergraduate student teachers initiated the Science in the City curriculum project. The project used the questions and concerns that children living in urban neighborhoods bring to the study of science as a starting point for the creation of a curriculum that draws upon local venues and resources for examining scientific questions. The five undergraduates researched and developed a list of venues in New York City that lend themselves to the study of science, examined science materials and curriculum guides from New York State and the National Science Education Standards, and met with a consultant to discuss project-based and constructivist approaches to urban science education. Based on their research, the students created an interdisciplinary science-based curriculum entitled, "Science in the City: Nature in Your Neighborhood" integrating mathematics, health, reading, writing, poetry, and art to guide elementary school students in their scientific exploration of the plant life in their neighborhoods. The curriculum has now been distributed to all of the third grade teachers at P.S. 75 (on Manhattan's Upper West Side) and to teachers at Middle School 226 (in Ozone Park, Queens). Copies of the curriculum have also been provided to all of the elementary student teachers in Barnard's Education Program to use in their student teaching placements at various elementary schools in Manhattan. In addition to providing a curricular product that has been distributed free of charge to local schools, the Science in the City project provided useful training for the undergraduates who developed it.