An astronomy/biology integrated science curriculum for middle school




Hamrick, Clifford

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This study developed an integrated science curriculum connecting astronomical and biological concepts. It is addressed to middle school teachers. The curriculum consists of four modules organized by themes according to the National Research Council's Standards: energy transfer, properties of various wavelengths of light, origin and distribution of matter in ecosystems, and adaptations useful for living in various types of environments. Each module is developed with a modified Learning Cycle approach that aids in the understanding of the effects of astronomical phenomena on living organisms. Hands-on, investigative activities are used to teach middle school science process skills as well as basic concepts. Common, inexpensive materials are used to facilitate the usefulness of the curriculum for low-income teachers and school districts. Teacher feedback, obtained through presentations at state science teacher conferences, was used to assess the curriculum's success in grade level appropriateness, stimulation of higher order thinking, and evaluation of conceptual understanding. Background information for this study describes the history of integrated science curricula in the United States, surveys major integrated science programs throughout the world, and discusses the research on the effectiveness of integrated science programs. Also, this study outlines the history of the Learning Cycle teaching method and discusses the research on its effectiveness.



education, science curriculum, middle schools, astronomy, biology, learning Cycle, integrated science


Hamrick, C. (1998). An astronomy/biology integrated science curriculum for middle school (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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