806 Curriculum Development & Delivery via 4-H

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Natalie J. Carroll, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Handout (1.9 MB) Handout (364.8 kB)

The goal of informal curriculum development is to communicate science effectively to those who will be learning in an informal setting, that is, outside the formal classroom. Dr. Carroll will discuss curriculum development for youth learning in informal settings. The major components of curriculum development of this curriculum will presented using the new 4-H Weather and Climate Science curriculum as an example. This curriculum has passed National 4-H Peer Review and is available online for a nominal fee. The new curriculum is a compilation of free-choice learning activities that use experiential learning techniques. These activities can be used when working with youth in various settings: classroom enrichment, service learning, campus workshops, and clubs.

A curriculum development team is recommended in order to bring both subject matter and educational methods expertise to the project. The team can help with planning the topics to be introduced and specific components to be included. They can also assist with formative reviews and, when the entire curriculum has been created, finding outside reviewers and pilot-test subjects. After the content is developed it must be pilot-tested with the target audience and reviewed by outside content and education specialists. Revisions and rewrites, based on feedback from these groups, must be completed before editing begins. Professional editing will assure proper language usage, readability, appropriate flow, and consistency. Professional design and layout of the curriculum, often with the editor and designer working together will assure both accuracy and a professional look. Once designed, the product is printed and/or posted online. When posting online, it is important to include accessibility features during the design phase. Once the curriculum is made generally available it should be evaluated from time to time to assure that it is of value to the users and remains current.

The new 4-H Weather and Climate Science curriculum was developed using the steps described above. It contains three age-graded youth manuals, of increasing complexity as described, below: • Level 1 (for youth in grades 3-5) introduces basic terms and concepts. Activities focus on understanding fundamental weather & climate terms and processes. • Level 2 introduces more complex weather topics, making and using weather instruments, and a ‘greenhouse effect' activity. • Level 3 is divided into weather and climate sections. The weather section includes the study of air masses, the troposphere, wind chill and heat indexes, and weather station models. The climate section includes the study of climographs, droughts, the energy balance, investigating climate change and the impacts of climate change.

A facilitator's guide for the adult working with youth is available for each youth manual. These guides include a brief background for each activity, suggestions for working with youth, connections to other topics or ideas, science standards, and success indicators. The Facilitator's Guide also includes general information about the leaning goals and the importance of youth learning life skills, an introduction to the Experiential Learning Model, and a discussion of youth development stages.

The manuals may be downloaded from Purdue University's The Education Store (www.edustore.purdue.edu). Level 1 is also available in print.

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