Documented outcomes of learning contextualized around the local environment include better performance of standardized assessment, increased student engagement and enthusiasm, and greater pride and ownership of academic products by students Lieberman and Hoody, ; Glenn, Learning by discovery in an urban environment. Tips for Teaching Native American Students.
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Immigrant students and rural students studying in an urban college may feel a stronger connection with their "cultural home" than their current urban setting. Such students may be supported by providing opportunities for students in diverse classrooms to integrate their cultural backgrounds and places of origin into classroom discussions and assignments.
Like urban public schools, urban public colleges are challenged to find the resources necessary to maintain high-quality education for their students. Fortunately, urban centers have many other institutions and organizations who share the mission of providing quality science education to the city's citizens: museums, parks, conservation organizations, scientific societies, government agencies. These cultural resources can be integrated into urban geoscience curricula, or simply be added as supplemental informal learning opportunities.
Museum visits aid students in connecting knowledge, particularly through inter-group social interactions within the informal learning environment Bamberger and Tal, Furthermore, museums give students a degree of autonomy and choice in their learning Kisiel, , and facilitate connection of knowledge to students' lives Bamberger and Tal, These features of museum-based learning, as well as the freedom of movement that museums allow, are ideally suited to the learning styles that are preferred by Hispanic and black students.
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Science-learning need not be limited to science-focused institutions. For example, historical museums and societies are sources of archival images that can be used to study patterns of land development and landscape modification Massey et al. Stone artifacts in archeological and art museums can be used to study geographic distribution of earth materials and resources, weathering characteristics of rocks, and cultural applications of earth materials. Galleries of historical landscape paintings can provide insights into climate change and landscape modification Powell, Neighborhood building can be used as outdoor rock identification and weathering labs.
In addition, urban centers are fortunate to have many free online data resources e. Your Account. Related Links Read more about these approaches in Motivating Students. Related Links Learning by discovery in an urban environment. The study describes an exemplary collaboration and the development of local school—community partnerships, which could be adapted by other communities within elementary or middle schools.
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