University of Wyoming
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Place-Based Principles in Primary Versus Secondary Education Lesson Plans

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posted on 2021-12-09, 19:06 authored by Colton LewerColton Lewer

Place-based education is a pedagogical development that is largely based on the most primeval and fundamental aspects of education. In essence, PBE is a return to learning in the context of the local community and environment with a newfangled emphasis on global awareness and the best learning strategies for individuals. Place-based educational strategies have been studied in practice and in theory, but more research is needed to qualitatively compare our contemporary style of education to the place-based education pedagogy. This paper uses the six design principles of PBE designed by the Teton Science Schools (TSS) as a tool to uncover how frequently place-based practices are used in Earth science lesson plans from, a database managed by CU Boulder and the National Science Foundation. All lessons align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and none explicitly advertise place-based methods as part of the lesson plans. It goes on to compare lessons written for primary and secondary science classrooms. Three place-based principles were found frequently across lesson plans in both sample groups: Community as Classroom, Learner Centered, and Inquiry. Three principles were found less frequently: Local to Global, Design Thinking, and Interdisciplinary Approach. All principles were written in a way that could be strengthened by instructors who have a background in place based education.



Burrows, Andrea

Committee members

Burrows, Andrea; Welsh, Kate; Yocom, Dorothy Jean


  • Master's

Graduation date







  • Education - EDUC