CRREL scientists helped to design curriculum that met the NGSS requirements while connecting to the science being conducted at CRREL. Students learned how geoscience processes change the Earth’s surface, focusing on the cycling of water through soil. Students then conducted an experiment to determine the water solubility of soil and considered how this would impact engineering of buildings and human impact on the environment. They used the scientific process to observe soil through microscopy, created and conducted an experiment, collected data, and extrapolated their findings to connect to real-world connections. The unit culminated in a visit to CRREL, as students were able to see the same concepts that they learned about at work in a research facility.
This collaboration between industry and education will become a model of teaching science holistically with evidence of application in the real world. As the NGSS have been adopted by numerous states and are the driving force behind standards in many others, this curriculum development will have far-reaching capabilities. By utilizing the scientific institutions nearby, education institutions have the ability to access experts with deep scientific understanding and applicable resources. Collaboration between schools and industry will engage elementary students and teachers in the possibilities of a strong STEM foundation.