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A List – 28 Pages Long – of Performance Based Educational Objectives From Which the Sequence of Projects in ‘Beyond the Classroom Aquarium’ Evolved

1 Dec

In the earliest days of writing this curriculum I tried to do a thorough review of the literature. I reviewed many kinds of curricula and kept track of the educational objectives that were used in each.

I try to use objectives like those on this list to structure every lesson I teach. Putting objectives into a logical sequence helped me decide how to structure the projects in this curriculum. Related objectives also helped me decide upon the range of projects to include in Beyond the Classroom Aquarium (the scope of the curriculum) AND the assessment activities to suggest for use by educators who are attempting to differentiate projects and assessments to best serve each individual learner. To this day, as I read about curriculum related projects and various assessment or lesson ideas, the list of objectives (in my head) expands.

I compiled an extensive list of objectives and I share that list with you here. In this pandemic infested school year, if you are guiding students through any kind of project based and aquatic ecosystem themed learning projects – I hope you are able adapt some of these listed objectives for use with your learners and that you also discover many new and exciting objectives (here and elsewhere) to use with your students; particularly as technologies continue to be more accessible/useful.

While I completed my initial literature review (in the days before I could access these documents via the internet – thank you libraries!) I placed the list of objectives in an Excel spreadsheet with six columns. Although I would like to transfer content from all six columns directly into this post it will be best, for now, to provide the file as a download that you may then open in your own system. When I have time to convert it and place it here directly, I will.

As I worked to complete ‘Beyond the Classroom Aquarium’ and took the curriculum through many major revisions, I did not get back to filling in many columns in this file of learning objectives. Thus though the list of objectives is long it does not provide a correspondence between a particular objective and a corresponding project (etc.). The column headings I used include:

  1. OBJECTIVES 2. PROJECT NUMBER 3. TOPIC NUMBER 4. SOURCE CODES 5. UNIT NUMBER 6. SUBJECT

In the downloadable file linked below you will read hundreds of objectives (in column one)and a source for each – in column four (including ED ERIC tesource numbers for some). Though I did not have internet access back then I would never have attempted any of this without a word processor (and software like Excel) 🙂 .

Another important early influence on the development of the Beyond the Classroom Aquarium curriculum was the insight I gained from reading the ERIC ED461511 document: Year of the Ocean, 1998. Marine Education, U.S.A.: An Overview – in which it is reported that in his 1997 keynote address to marine educators in attendance at the annual conference of the National Marine Educators Association, Admiral James D. Watkins expressed a crucial need for an addendum to the National Science Education Standards detailing how the ocean fits in with the cited standards.

Admiral (ret.) James Watkins, President of the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education (CORE), pointed out that, in fact, the ocean sciences comprise “one perfect implementation mechanism to meet national standards.” In his address to the National Marine Educators Association conference in Chicago, August 1997, he said, “The so-called content standards of the National Science Education Standards include categories, each of which I will discuss in conjunction with utilizing ocean sciences as the ideal implementing tool.” To this end, Admiral Watkins remarked on the following categories:

  • Unifying Concepts and Processes in Science. “The science of biochemistry, which is one of the most interdisciplinary fields ever developed, was invented by marine scientists in order to understand the global carbon budget and its role in controlling climate.”
  • Science as Inquiry. “Ocean science is still a science of untold discoveries. Each research cruise raises as many new questions as it answers old ones. Some refer to oceans as the last frontier here on earth.”
  • Physical Science. “Study of the sea covers every aspect of physics, from the classical dynamics of wave theory, to the most fundamental aspects of high energy physics related to how sea water interacts with deep undersea muons and neutrinos. It is these studies which will feed into our understanding of such seemingly unrelated subjects as nuclear fusion as an energy source.”
  • Life Science. “The ocean holds the key to the origins of life, as shown in the chemosynthetic behavior of deep-sea vent biota. How can life exist in the absence of sunlight,

These remarks had a major influence on my desire to design a curriculum like Beyond the Classroom Aquarium. Personally, because of them – writing this curriculum took on, among other things, an inspiring spirit of national patriotic duty.

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