Smithsonian Science Education Center has developed community research guides which use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to focus on sustainable actions that are student-defined and implemented. These modules attempting to empower the next generation of decision makers capable of making the right choices about the complex socio-scientific issues facing human society, blends together previous practices in Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE), Social Studies Education (SSE), Global Citizenship Education (GCE), and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Over the initial 2 days Katherine and Amy engaged Agastya’s instructors in a discussion on exploring their project-based framework - how the modules are envisioned, their structure, the research that went into them, viewpoints of the researchers, how learning outcomes are derived, how scientific thinking was merged into the structure of the guide etc. This discussion used SSEC module ‘Mosquito’ as an exemplar for this. On the final day Amy and Katherine went through a ‘Life Science’ module from their Smithsonian Science for Classroom series highlighting how they have developed these intersecting modules in tune with the national curriculum. They emphasized on the ‘Three-dimensional’ learning principles - Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEPs) and Cross Cutting Concepts (eg: patterns, proportion, and energy) which was used to develop these units.
Amy is the Division Director of Professional Services Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). She oversees Professional Development and Leadership Development initiatives at SSEC. Amy has 20 years of experience as an educator that began by teaching middle school for the Cambridge Public Schools in Massachusetts. She worked as Middle Grade Science Teacher Leader to implement the district’s five-year strategic plan based on the SSEC’s model of science education reform. She also worked on various educational and consulting projects with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the American Museum of Natural History. Amy earned her B.A. in Biology with a minor in Education for Certification from New York University and received a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Katherine is the Program Manager for Professional Services division of the Smithsonian Science Education Center where she has managed and supported a variety of programs including teacher professional development workshops, leadership institutes, and the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers: Energy’s Innovations and Implications. The main focus of her work has been supporting teachers, schools and districts in building support and awareness for STEM education in their communities. She is currently working to expand the SSEC’s reach both in the U.S. and internationally. She graduated from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and Political Science. She also holds an M.A. in International Education, and a certificate in Incorporating International Perspectives in Education, both from The George Washington University.