Current literature on sustainability education and its core competencies (systems thinking, normative, interpersonal, strategic, and future thinking) has yet to acknowledge the K-12 level, concentrating instead on higher-level institutions. To initiate study at the critical K-12 level, a curriculum module composed of four lessons to address the wicked sustainability problem of drought in the Sonoran Desert was developed, piloted, and evaluated. The framework of each lesson combined the core competencies and the 5Es pedagogy (engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate). Two lessons were successfully piloted in two seventh grade middle-school science classes in Phoenix, Arizona. Topics addressed were the water cycle, types of drought, water systems, and mitigation methods. Evaluation determined a high level of student engagement. Post-pilot teacher questionnaires revealed a high degree of support for inclusion of sustainability education and core competencies addressing drought in future opportunities. It is concluded that lessons in the future can adopt the core competences of sustainability with the support of educators in Arizona.
- Sustainability Competencies in Middle-School Curriculum: Educating Students About Water Systems and Drought
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