Ocean Science in The SMILE Program: Combining Ocean Literacy and Concept Mapping as an Aid for Curriculum Development
Free choice learning
Informal science education
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AbstractGraduation date: 2009
This study reports on the creation and testing of a model concept-mapping process that will aid the development and documentation of ocean science educational content of The Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) Program, a pre-college science and math enrichment program based at Oregon State University. The project uses the professional knowledge of SMILE high school teachers and staff to pilot a curriculum development process. This process highlights one of the seven Essential Principles of Ocean Literacy to produce ideas for educational activities that will facilitate learning of that principle by students in SMILE after school clubs. Specifically, participants generate activity topics linked to the ocean literacy principle by producing concept maps of the underlying fundamental concepts of that principle. The concept-mapping process collaboratively identifies 12 specific themes that should be included in SMILE ocean science curriculum to enable students to fully comprehend the chosen principle. Semi-structured interviews with key informants found that support for the future application of the process is positive, but requires modification to make it a) part of regular programming, b) more time efficient and c) more directly applicable to other informal education settings. This study also bridges the gap between the curriculum that SMILE provides to it’s after school clubs and teacher professional recommendations on what should be included in this curriculum.