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EPI Curriculum

Improving environmental literacy through experiential learning

Ecology Project International (EPI) has built learning programs around a mission that focuses on youth, connects with nature, and improves environmental literacy through experiential learning. Now, EPI is reaching out to teachers to connect with nature through free, online, NGSS-framed lessons that prepare students to explore their world. Whether teachers choose to connect through local field experiences, explorations of the schoolyard, or experiential learning on a field-based EPI course, the lessons provided in this sequence will help students question, explore, practice science skills, and understand the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world.

 

The lessons presented here may be used as stand-alone lessons, or as a storyline to introduce concepts addressing energy flow and community interactions, anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems, the value of protecting diversity, and the link between environmental literacy and positive environmental change.

 

Each lesson includes:

  • Resources for teachers to help them inspire students to ask questions

  • Directions on how to use the resources

  • Suggestions for scaffolding

  • Links to standards

  • Various methods of implementation

  • Support from EPI Education.

COSTA RICA

Human Impact in the Costa Rican Rainforest

YELLOWSTONE

Populations & Pressures in the Yellowstone Ecosystem

BAJA SUR

Microplastics &

Exploring HIPPO Topics

Costa Rica

EPI COSTA RICA

Human Impact on the Costa Rican Rainforest

The Pacuare Reserve is the focus of scientific exploration, and animals from the Reserve are highlighted in the lessons. Students will be introduced to the scientific process through authentic data that has been collected onsite, and they will have an opportunity to participate in the scientific process as citizen scientists helping evaluate the data. Anthropogenic impacts in the rainforest are also a focus of the lessons and students get a chance to evaluate the efforts of the Costa Rican government to mitigate negative impacts and solve environmental problems. 

1. Environmental Literacy Overview

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-7

4. Food Webs & Chains in Costa Rica

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-2, HS=LS2-6, SEP 2, SEP 6

7. Students Creating Change

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-7

2. Investigating the Biome & Species of Pacuare Reserve

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-6, HS-ESS2-3, SEP 2

5. Counting Species in the Rainforest

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, SEP1, SEP4

3. From Phenomena to Inquiry

NGSS CONNECTIONS

SEP 1, SEP 3, SEP 6

6. Deforestation in Costa Rica Analysis

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, SEP2, SEP4, SEP5

EPI Yellowstone

Populations and Pressures in the GYE

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest nearly-intact temperate ecosystems on earth and is host to amazing biodiversity, geology, and opportunities to understand how systems work and how humans impact nature. The Yellowstone story is complex and features stakeholders who share common interests and different perspectives. Climate change is adding a new twist to the story and all members of the ecosystem, as well as the humans who depend on it, are being impacted. This storyline offers students an introduction to understanding how climate change impacts systems, and how the changes in the GYE are magnified with this new variable. Students will have an opportunity to explore authentic data using engaging media, learn how to create and explain models, and reflect on their impacts on nature and how to create positive change.

Yellowstone

Students Creating Change

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-7

Finding Patterns & Making Predictions

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2, HS-ESS2-2, HS-ESS3

Consequences & Conservation

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2.C, HS-LS4-D, HS-ETS1.B, SEP 2, SEP 4, SEP 5, SEP 6

Populations & Pressures

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-1; HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-5, HS-LS4-6

Climate Change in Yellowstone

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2.C, HS-LS4-5, MS-ESS3-5, HS-ESS3-1,HS-ESS2-4, HS-ESS3-5, SEP4, SEP5

Environmental Literacy Connections

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-7

EPI Baja California Sur

Exploring HIPPO Topics

This storyline is centered around impacts to biodiversity being felt globally, with examples that pertain specifically to the Gulf of California. EPI’s field study site in Baja California Sur is the inspiration for this sequence, with the expectation that solutions developed by students throughout the storyline, and particularly in Part 7 of this storyline, can be broadly implemented. Understanding threats to biodiversity can help us develop ways to decrease negative human impacts. Five of the biggest threats to biodiversity are represented by the acronym HIPPO: Habitat Loss, Invasive Species, Pollution, Population Growth, and Overharvesting. 

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Introduction to HIPPO

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-6

Pollution & Microplastics

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7, HS-ETS1-1

Solutions

NGSS CONNECTIONS

LS2.A, LS2.C, LS4.D

Habitat Loss: Whale Sharks

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-7

Overharvesting the Sea

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-ESS3-3, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS4-6, HS-ETS1-1

Preventing the Lionfish Invasion

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6

Population Growth & Biodiversity

NGSS CONNECTIONS

HS-LS2-7, HS-LS4-6, HS-ETS1-1

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