Curriculum Materials

Below are the curriculum materials developed and refined by GK-12 Fellows between 2007 and 2013.

1. Biology

Comparative Anatomy

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Used differences between shark and pig dissections to understand how to use dissection tools. Topics included external mammalian characteristics, determining approximate age, digestive, circulatory and urinary, respiratory, reproductive, and central nervous systems of the fetal pig, gross anatomy of the dogfish shark, shark musculature and tail cross section, respiratory, digestive and circulatory systems and internal anatomy of a shark.

Conservation Biology

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Activities included selecting species to prepare a conservation proposal, compiling information from questionnaire onto a poster and presenting research to the class.

Marine Biology

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Described contaminants that can be found in water, the sources of these contaminants, and the effect upon organisms dependent on that water source. Activities included familiarizing the students with common water quality parameters and testing methods in preparation for field collections and identifying the types of plankton found in the water sample, and reviewing the water chemistry data collected at Marine Park Nature Estuary.


Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Physiological effects of caffeine using goldfish.

2. Environmental Science/Field Studies

Carbon Dioxide Production and Sequestration

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Background information on carbon, the carbon cycle, and pollution to prepare the students for the experiment to follow. Activities included generating a to-scale map of the BASE school area, collecting data on trees locations surrounding the school, converting measurements from previous lesson into a scaled map, estimating the height of a tree using triangulation, and calculating the overall quantity of carbon dioxide sequestered by a tree, calculating carbon dioxide sequestration based on tree measurements from previous session, collection of car data around BASE,  field trip to ITAVA High School for Triangulation and car counting data collection, discussing the car counting data collection at ITAVA and introduce calculations for CO2 emissions and CO2 sequestration.

Five Borough Water Comparison

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Activities included using test kits to measure various water quality parameters, and understand the significance of the results, testing water contamination, field data collection in the five boroughs. Lesson terminated with in-class poster generation of results.

Prospect Park Water Analysis

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plan (PDF)

Understanding water quality testing by a comparison of various Prospect Park water bodies.

Drinking Water Testing

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plan (PDF)

Discovering which contaminants are in New York City tap water by using test kits to measure various water quality parameters, and understand the significance of the results.

Environmental Impact Quality Study of New York City’s Waterways

Developed at AUP High School

The main project question was: Can we detect the anthropogenic influences in the urban water cycle by examining water in the New York City watershed?

Project titles and materials:

Mannahatta Topography

Developed at AUP High School

Work with students proceeded in three stages: 1) a skills and knowledge scaffolding stage, 2) an inquiry-based research stage, and 3) an action-oriented service learning stage.

Exploring and reflecting on the ideas behind the scientific method to prepare them for a yearlong project within their community. Detailed descriptions and downloads of materials:

Mannahatta Topography: constructing 3D topographic model of Manhattan Island as it was in 1609. The activity and reflection was in preparation for the following day’s trip to Manhattan to mark out prior ecological sites/communities. Download materials (PDF)

Reflections on the aspects touched on in the Mannahatta Project in preparation for an exam and to establish deeper learning for the rest of the fall’s investigations. Download materials (PDF)

Activities about water sheds and different soils/rocks which may aid or impede water filtration and aquifer systems. Download materials (PDF)

Working with a multitude of water-testing equipment in preparation for investigations at Newtown Creek and at the Hudson and East rivers in the following weeks. Download materials (PDF)

Analyzing water samples collected at Newtown Creek Superfund Site. Download materials (PDF)

Studies of trees with the ideas behind photosynthesis and the benefits of trees to humans beyond oxygen. Download materials (PDF)

Meet Your Tree Field Trip. Student ventured into the community to select a tree that has not been already put into the MyTreeNYC site; marked its location with GPS, collected soil for analysis, measured CO2 offset and overall health of their tree. Download materials (PDF)

Topics and activities in chemistry and physics. Download materials (PDF)

Air pollution and a simple hands-on activity and follow with a map activity to predict the areas affected given wind directionality. Download materials (PDF)

Study of Pollution in Brooklyn

Developed at ITAVA High School  lesson plans (PDF)lessons (PDF)worksheets (PDF)

In the comparative study of Pollution in two Brooklyn neighborhoods, students collected data in two different neighborhoods in Brooklyn to compare the amount of pollution found in each one. They calculated the excess amount of CO2 by measuring how much is being absorbed by trees, compared to how much is being given off by humans and cars. Noise pollution was also taken into account, and compared between the two neighborhoods. By the end of the project, students used the results and data they have gathered, to tried and come up with solutions for problems like excess CO2 and noise pollution.

In the measuring noise pollution in the MTA subway system in Brooklyn, students rode several train lines in Brooklyn and used noise meters to measure the amount of noise that people are exposed to throughout the  subway system. Students then created a map that showed which stations are the loudest and which ones pose the greatest auditory health risks. Students presented this data to fellow school mates and community members to try and raise awareness on how to reduce the amount of noise you are exposed to daily.

Through these two projects we hoped to show students the importance of active research and public outreach, to try and motivate them to make positive changes in their communities, and the world. We exposed students to a variety of field techniques and skills that promoted efficiency and accuracy when collecting data. Students presented their work, and developed experience in how to clearly and efficiently convey their message.

Carbon Footprint Tree/Car Study

Developed at ITAVA High School carbon footprint project materials (PDF)

In this project, students went to selected neighborhoods around the city to figure out if the carbon dioxide sequestration rates for the trees in that area make up for the amount emitted by vehicles that pass through it. To do this, students measured the apparent heights and circumferences of the all the trees found on the sidewalks of the areas selected. Then, students counted the amount and types of cars that passed on the selected blocks. Using various calculations, students were able to measure sequestration vs. emission, to figure out if there is an excess of CO2 in the different neighborhoods. They compared all the neighborhoods, and came up with ways to help reduce air pollution.

Project: CO2 Compensation of Trees

Developed at Teachers Preparatory High School

This project provided students the opportunity to get out into local greenspaces and collect data, including tree sizes and quantities. Students measured field observations using mathematical formulas.

3. Forensics

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Students learned how to sketch a crime scene, catalogue clues, understand blood spatter patterns, utilize fingerprints to identify people, conduct hair and fiber analysis, conduct a presumptive test for blood, use chromatography to identify ink, and use gel electrophoresis to match DNA samples.

4. Professional Development

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Students learned how to identify parts of the research paper and understand the process of writing a research paper, determine how to approach writing the Introduction and Method sections for the research paper, define what a curriculum vitae is, and discuss the different ways to add value to the résumé.

5. Psychology

Developed at BASE High School download lesson plans (PDF)

Background information on what green spaces are, and give definition of anxiety and examples of symptoms of anxiety. Activities included determining the appropriate testing method to assess green space exposure and anxiety (survey method), constructing reliable and valid questions assessing the green space exposure measure, constructing reliable and valid questions assessing the self-perceived anxiety measure, identifying how psychologists investigate causes and patterns in the environment (experiment vs. correlational research), understanding the parameters of correlational research and to graph their own predictions of the relationship between green space exposure and anxiety, theoretical statistical analysis of data: Defining the mean, standard deviation and Pearson r (correlation statistic), understanding the parameters of the Pearson r and how to theoretically report the results, statistical analysis of data: Students learned how to code, and organize survey data variables in SPSS, identifying significant correlations, and determining whether the hypothesis was consistent with the results, and giving explanations if they were not consistent.

Brooklyn. All in.