The Curriculum

The SSL curriculum is a series of modular activities that are designed to be integrated with existing physics- using engineering and technology, math, and other science curriculum that teachers participating in the project are currently using. This curriculum, and the implementation has been evaluated as part of the Institute of Education Sciences iterative research funded by a Department of Education grant.

SSL teachersguideTHE CURRICULUM FOCUSES ON THE FOLLOWING THEMES

  1. About Energy
  2. Solar Energy Sites
  3. Production and Use of Photovoltaic Electricity
  4. Policy, Economics, and Land Use

These themes are presented in activities that tie to learning frameworks, testing materials and standard science curriculum, no need to learn a new curriculum. This approach makes the curriculum attractive to many teachers and focused on long-term learning for the students. We understand that students’ interest in a potential career in science or science related fields is something that either already exists (individual interest) or students will develop this over a longer period of time Thus, we believe that the SSL materials will support increased learning while supporting higher career interest and science domain-specific interest when teachers use the SSL™ materials. Finally, and most importantly, the SSL curriculum creates excitement for individual students.

Research Literature Supporting Direction of the SSL™ is found in the National Academy of Science’s report, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas (2012). This report endorses the underlying SSL™ principle of “hands on” learning as well as a primary objective of this grant, interest in STEM careers. “Students need opportunities, with increasing sophistication across the grade levels, to consider not only the applications and implications of science and engineering in society but also the nature of the human endeavor of science and engineering themselves. They likewise need to develop an awareness of the careers made possible through scientific and engineering capabilities.” (p. 241) We continue to perform additional research that increases the depth of the STEM Curriculum Team’s knowledge regarding this approach in order to tie emerging concepts with the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework (2006) for both pedagogical and commercial reasons.