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Service-Learning

Service-Learning Grantee Developed Curricula

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education worked with schools and community-based organizations (CBOs) to create service-learning (SL) curricula for out-of-school time (OST) and summer programming. The purpose of this process was to develop and pilot hands-on, engaging curricula to stem summer learning loss and increase student engagement in their communities.

Most of the curricula were piloted during summer programming using a minimum of 24 hours over 4 weeks.

Each of the curricula uses the KIDS As Planners framework for SL to teach and/or reinforce specific academic knowledge and skills by engaging students in identifying, researching, proposing and planning projects to address community needs/problems. It is recommended that those wishing to adapt and implement these curricula have been trained in SL. The Department typically offers multiple opportunities each year for free SL Professional Development (PD).

Each curriculum includes lessons and resources to engage students in the following:

  • Defining service-learning
  • Discovering needs and problems related to a specific topic
  • Investigating the problems related to the topic and understanding their causes and effects
  • Researching solutions that might impact the identified problem(s)
  • Planning and implementing a project to address the identified problem(s)

Please note: These curricula are not intended to provide a path to a specific project (e.g. planting a school garden, writing a brochure on invasive species, etc.). However, they provide the tools to get your kids to understand the problem and to identify a solution of their own that addresses this problem in your community. Those choosing to use one of these curricula will need to adapt it to your own specific community (partners, specific problems/needs, etc.)

Available Curricula:

  1. Ecosystems Curricula

    • Healthy Food + Healthy Ecosystems = Healthy Communities
    • Urban Adventures — Pollinators
    • Urban Adventures — Urban Waters
    • Watershed Ecosystem
    • Wetlands Stewardship at East Pond
    • Youth Ambassadors for Biodiversity

  2. Other STEM SL Curricula

    • GenoExplorers
    • Healthy Harbors
    • Heat Islands
    • Human Use of Natural Resources

  3. Other SL Curricula

    • Hunger in Our Community
    • Kids Care: Cancer Misconceptions
    • Taking on Cyberbullying

If you would like more information about any of these curricula, please contact us at achievement@doe.mass.edu, using the Subject Line: "Service-Learning Curriculum" and indicate which curriculum you would like more information about.

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I. Ecosystems Curricula

Healthy Food + Healthy Ecosystems = Healthy Communities
Lead: City Sprouts
Partners: Cambridge Youth Programs, East End House, Greater Boston Food Bank, Gaining Ground Farm
Grade level: Middle School (rising 6th through 8th graders)
Timeframe: 4 hours/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the impacts of human-created food systems.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Urban Adventures - Pollinators
Lead: Groundwork Lawrence
Partners: Lawrence Public Schools, local farmers, Beverly Bees, The Trustees of the Reservation
Grade level: 3rd and 4th
Timeframe: 3 hours/day, 5 days/week for 5 weeks

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to declining pollinator populations and the effects on the community.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Urban Adventures - Urban Waters
Lead: Groundwork Lawrence
Partners: Lawrence Public Schools, Lawrence Heritage State Park, Merrimack River Watershed Council
Grade level: 5th through 7th
Timeframe: 3 hours/day, 5 days/week for 5 weeks

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the condition of their urban waters, particularly the Spickett River.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Wetlands Stewardship at East Pond
Lead: Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
Partners: Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust and Lowell Public Schools
Grade level: rising 3rd and 4th grade
Timeframe: 1.5 hours 2x/week for 6 weeks (plus additional time for field trips, etc.)

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to their local pond (East Pond) and the animals that live there and in the surrounding habitat.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Watershed Ecosystem
Lead: Hasbro Summer Learning Initiative
Partners: Westfield Public Schools, Watershed on Wheels
Grade Level: 5th - 8th
Timeframe: 45 minutes/day, 5 days/week for 5 weeks

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to human impact on the Connecticut River Watershed.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Youth Ambassadors for Biodiversity
Lead: East End House
Partners: local ecology professor, Charles River Conservancy, Cambridge Water Treatment Facility
Grade level: Middle School
Timeframe: 1 hour/day, 2 days/week, plus weekly field trips for 7 weeks

  • Students learned about: Ecosystems and related science concepts
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to urban biodiversity and humans' roles within an urban ecosystem.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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II. Other STEM SL Curricula

GenoExplorers
Lead: East End House
Partners: local ecology professor, Charles River Conservancy, Cambridge Water Treatment Facility
Grade level: Middle School
Timeframe: 1 hour/day, 2 days/week, plus weekly field trips for 7 weeks

  • Students learned about: Genetic diversity (inheritance, variability of traits, adaptations)
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the impact of knowing genetic predispositions on health and the use of genetically modified organisms in foods.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Healthy Harbors
Lead: LEAP for Education
Partners: Salem Public Schools, Salem Sound Coastwatch
Grade level: Middle School
Timeframe: 5 hours/day, 5 days/week (plus field trip days) for 6 weeks

  • Students learned about: Healthy Ecosystems
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the impact humans have on Salem Harbors Ecosystem, specifically on its eelgrass.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Heat Islands
Lead: Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Partners: Lawrence Public Schools, Environmental Protection Agency, City of Lawrence - Mayor's Office
Grade level: High School
Timeframe: 2 days/week for 4 weeks

  • Students learned about: Heat and Temperature
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the impacts of "heat islands" in urban communities.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Human Use of Natural Resources
Lead: Mass Audubon's Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
Partners: Lowell Public Schools, Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust
Grade level: 4th through 7th
Timeframe: 1.5 hours/day, 4 days/week (plus field trips) for 4 weeks

  • Students learned about: Earth and human activity, natural resources
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the impacts of human use of earth resources, specifically with respect to local food systems.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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III. Other SL Curricula

Hunger in Our Community
Lead: Barnstable Public Schools - Hyannis West Elementary
Partners: Cape Cod Food Pantry, Hyannis Salvation Army, 4-H Garden Project
Grade level: Elementary
Timeframe: 2.5 hours/day, 4 days/week for 4 weeks

  • Students learned about: Reading, writing, speaking & listening,
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to hunger in the world, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod and in their community.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Kids Care: Cancer Misconceptions
Lead: Winthrop Public Schools
Partners: Other students, parents, Survivors by the Sea
Grade level: Elementary
Timeframe: 1.5 hours/day, 3 days/week for 6 weeks

  • Students learned about: Cancer, writing, using technology
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to the misconceptions that children have about cancer.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Taking on Cyber-bullying
Lead: Wareham Public Schools
Partners: Principal, Wareham Police Department
Grade level: Middle School
Timeframe: 2 hours/day, 4 days/week for 5 weeks

  • Students learned about: Technology, Reading
  • Students discovered and investigated needs/problems related to cyber-bullying.
  • Students planned and implemented a project to address the identified needs/problems. (The curriculum provides tools/resources to help your students come up with, plan and implement their own project!)

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Last Updated: November 19, 2015
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