Multidisciplinary K-5 units to support understanding, agency, and social-emotional learning about COVID19

Project: Research project

Project Details


Primary objectives • Support K-2 and grade 3-5 students in understanding how pandemics can occur and practices that they and their community can take to respond to the personal and public health needs of a pandemic • Foster empathy, strategies for productive responses to fear and concerns, and agency in cultivating healthy and ethical social relations • Support students in understanding how societal structures can mediate pandemics and their effects. Development goals • A general framework for K-5 that supports multi-disciplinary learning addressing students’ questions and support for agency about Covid19. • Implementation of the framework in two two-three week units, one unit for K-2 and one unit for 3-5. Each unit will cut across multiple curriculum areas, including science, social studies, and literacy. Each unit will include a unit overview with background knowledge for teachers, individual lesson plans with embedded teacher guidance, student readings, resources, activity sheets, and tools and activities for families. • Pedagogical approach drawing both on the approach to anchoring investigations in students’ questions and identified problems from NextGen Science Storylines and the culturally-based family and community-situated learning and decision-making strategies from the Learning in Places project. Pedagogical strategies to be used • Family engagement: Students will explore questions both in classrooms and with family and community members as part of their investigations. • Question focus: Students will explore both explanatory questions (How can this happen?) and should we questions (How should we respond to the pandemic?) in their investigations. • Socio-ecological decision-making: The units will involve both science practices (such as arguing from evidence to figure out how the virus spreads), and decision-making practices (such as deliberations based on scientific, social, and ecological concerns). • Coherent storyline: The units will draw on students’ questions and ideas to drive the investigations and decision-making, so that students see each step as addressing questions and problems their class has identified. Where this will fit in the K-5 curriculum: The units will be designed to be multi-disciplinary, because the problems and strategies draw on knowledge about science and society. The units will draw on the science and engineering practices targeted in K-5 science called for in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). They will also draw on the Common Core State Standards for K-5 English Language Arts, and on the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards. Unit Storyline The unit will be multidisciplinary, bringing in science, understanding the social world, and literacy practices each as tools to help students understand how pandemics can occur, understand how they affect our society, and engage in decision-making about what each of us can do to help. The unit will begin with a conversation about the basic events in the pandemic, and engage students in generating questions they have. The teacher will guide students’ questioning to include both explanatory questions, such as How do diseases spread? and Why did we have to stay home so long? and decision-making questions such as What can we do about it? How can we make our school more safe? Exploring these questions is expected to raise questions that span science, civics, economics and geography, e.g., by exploring issues such as the movement of the disease around the globe, what people can do to hel
Effective start/end date6/15/206/30/22


  • National Center for Civic Innovation, Inc. (Award 08/07/2020)


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