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Developing Dispositions for Indigenous Science Knowledge to Design and Assess Lesson Plans in Elementary Environmental Science

Science and Children—March/April 2024 (Volume 61, Issue 2)

By Linda Rost, Rebecca Hite, Gina Childers

This article presents a framework to design lesson plans for elementary science teachers using insights from a summer-long research experience for teachers (RET) workshop (National Science Foundation, 2021) to learn strategies to weave ISK (and WMS) into environmental science curriculum and instruction. While ISK has also led to technologies that optimize agriculture, stewardship of the land, and foraging and harvesting plants and animals, these activities should be implemented in sustainable reciprocity with the natural world, focusing on both conservation as well as preservation. Incorporating ISK to the elementary science curriculum will not only reconcile its historical absence but also helps to overcome 21st century challenges related to cultivating a sense of environmental stewardship and encouraging sustainable habits among youth as well as developing students’ awareness of under-represented and diverse means of thinking about the natural world from ISK perspectives. This article, we explore ISK, WMS, and relationships therein and examine a framework to guide ISK lesson development in environmental science for an elementary audience that honors and amplifies the importance of ISK as intertwined with WMS standards and curricula. Further, one example lesson from the RET is provided on bison bone usage from the Apsalooké and other Plains Indian nations.

Assessment Curriculum Inquiry Pedagogy Teacher Preparation Elementary

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