Spring 2015

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) bring new opportunities to American classrooms, with their emphasis on investigation, reliance on data, and constructing explanations and lines of argument based on evidence. However, they also pose considerable challenges both to teachers and students. Years of minimal science instruction during the era of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have left a generation of students unfamiliar with the idea of questioning, and a professional cohort of teachers with little experience with inquiry curriculum or confidence in their mastery of science content. This leaves a gap for curriculum design. This study assessed the needs of a small rural school district’s teachers as the district moves toward implementation of NGSS in grades K-12. Based on the needs assessment, I developed (a) a set of model lessons integrating the NGSS with state Environmental Education standards as well as interdisciplinary connections such as science applications of mathematics and arts, and (b) a plan for professional development to build capacity in curriculum design and implementation for inquiry science, in the context of a school garden.


Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department