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Science and a Sense of Place: Locating Ourselves in the World

Science and a Sense of Place:
Locating Ourselves in the World

(July 23-August 3, 2007)

"Nothing happens nowhere."

(Elizabeth Bowen of Dublin, Ireland, 1899-1973)

"What aspects of their world do our kids care about?"

(Randal Holly of Thomas Edison/John Fareira High School, Philadelphia, 2005)

Alberto Ríos'
Upside-down Map of the World

Welcome to the home page of a Summer Institute on "Science and a Sense of Place" held at Bryn Mawr College in 2007. Like others in the series, this Institute is designed to bring together college faculty and K-12 teachers to discuss current understandings of about teaching hands-on science throughout the curriculum. The Institutes are sponsored by Bryn Mawr College and the Bryn Mawr/Haverford K-16 Collaborations in Science and Mathematics Education with support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

List of Participants


Photo Gallery

List of Resources

Using Our Website

Some Theory....

Post Institute Evaluation

Post Institute Assignment


Weekly Schedule

Geology 259, Park Science Building

Monday, July 23 A.M. Doing Science with a Sense of Place(Anne Dalke, English)

Understanding Ecosystems: Structure and Function (Wil Franklin, Biology)

P.M. Observing the Global: Where Do Humans Congregate?

Afterwords: Some Initial Thoughts On Place-Based Teaching:
How Small is Our Students' World? How Big Can We Make It?

Tuesday, July 24 A.M. The Place that is the Self (Kim Cassidy, Psychology)

P.M. Let's Talk About Blogging

Afterwords: Understanding the Brains of Our Students (and Ourselves?)

Wednesday, Jul 25 The Histories of Our Locations (Jeff Cohen, Growth and Structure of Cities)

Afterwords: Connecting Past and Present (and Future):
What good does it do us, to know where we came from?

Thursday, July 26 Placing Ourselves in the Universe (Liz McCormack, Physics)

Friday, July 27 Mini-symposium on K-16 collaborations: Inquiry Education in Science (and Elsewhere)
(Paul Grobstein, Biology and Alice Lesnick, Education)

Afterwords on Inquiry-Based Education: Practicing What We Preach

Monday, July 30 Watershed Education (Catherine Riihimaki and Jessica Scheick, Geology)

Afterwords on Watershed Education

Tuesday, July 31 Neuroscience and a Sense of Place (Wendy Sternberg, Haverford College Pyschology)

Afterwords on Neuroscience

Wednesday, August 1 Change Over Time: Making Sense of the Diversity of Life (Wil Franklin, Biology)

Afterwords: Similarity Through Time

Thursday, August 2 The Evolution of Our Stories about Places (Anne Dalke, English)
Friday, August 3 Final Presentations

Daily Schedule

8:30-9 Coffee and Breakfast Snacks
9-10:30 Session with Guest Facilitator
10:30-10:45 Coffee Break
10:45-12 Session continues
12-1 Lunch
1-2:30 Implications and Applications: What Can we Do with What We've Learned This Morning?
2:30-2:45 Break
2:45-4 Continuing with Implications and Applications

|Science and a Sense of Place |

Bryn Mawr College Summer Institutes for K-12 Teachers | Serendip Home


joycetheriot's picture

Sci & Sense of Place 07 Institute Report for June 2008

Larger Report to be sent via e-mail, summary to follow below:

Use of WebQuests to gather information was too time intensive for both students and teachers. I collected photo-stories of the inquiry-based projects and found that both groups were more interested in viewing active science rather than reflect on their own thinking process.

Most successful were video clips that displayed goals and process. My next step is to incorporate a viewer  reflection or comment that can give information on their thinking and new idea generation.

Joyce Hubert-Theriot

Rustin High School

RecycleJack Marine's picture

New Resource

Here: is a great opportunity for all teachers- and it's free


Bucket Brigade Introduction Do you want to know how to find out what you are breathing and if there is a link between pollution and health problems? The "Bucket Brigade" is a simple, but effective, tool that dozens of communities are using to find out for themselves what chemicals are in the air. Armed with their own data and information about the health effects of chemicals, these communities are winning impressive reductions of pollution, safety improvements and increasing enforcement of environmental laws. Photo of Bucket Device The "Bucket Brigade" is named for a easy to use air sampling device housed inside a 5 gallon plastic bucket. The "Bucket" was developed in Northern California in 1995 by an environmental engineering firm in order to simplify and reduce the costs of widely accepted methods used for testing toxic gases in the air. Denny Larson, formed the Global Community Monitor in 2002, helped to develop the buckets and has worked with many communities on establishing successful air testing programs. The Global Community Monitor can help your community start a Bucket Brigade to find out what you are breathing and fight back for clean air. Home » Take Action » Volunteer Volunteer VOLUNTEER NOW. Here's how you can help.. Volunteers are needed to do web, research, writing, fundraising and investigative work. We have partners in 17 countries in and many US States that need assistnace with their campaigns for justice and a clean environment. Please contact our office at to inquire about volunteer opportunities.

Syreeta Bennett's picture

History through the Place

I really enjoyed today's session. I have always enjoyed looking at buildings and neighborhoods and noting how they have changed over time. I think my students will enjoy seeing how their neighborhood has changed through maps, pictures, and census information.
J Parks's picture

This morning's session with

This morning's session with Jeff Cohen was the most enlightening. I am so excited to learn about where I am as it is sooooooo different from where I was.
RecycleJack Marine's picture

Tin Whistle

My school, the West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School hooked up with James Donohoe from a small town in Ireland this year. Mr. Donohoe connected with a communications firm in Wayne, PA to hold live webcast music lessons from his home to our school's music classes. The students learned how to play the Irish Tin Whistle, a recorder-like instrument. They also exchanged information about our different cultures and countries. This morning Mr. Donohoe visited our school in person and there was a small media frenzy with Fox 29 and Action News there to interview Mr. Donohoe, our CAO, Stacy Phillips, and our music teacher Paul DiGilio. Look for the story on these stations starting at 5PM.
Rosemary Krygowski's picture

Two headed creatures- Middle school students

This mornings session provided both insight and vocabulary to describe the bobble headed individuals that sit in front of me everyday.I loved David Elkins terms pseudo-stupidity,imaginary audience and personal fable . They so aptly describe the behaviors that are a daily occurence in a middle school classroom. I never realized that they were connected to the developing cognitive ability of my students.The term true self-false self was also of great interest. These I feel were more the outcome of peer pressure and have changed as society as changed over the years.
RecycleJack Marine's picture

Opportunity for Teachers

This year's Science and Sense of Place has some sililarities and differences from last summer's institute. Thinking about my place in the world allowed me to focus on my recycling others and others who do the same. Last year I focused on where I was in my childhood, this year where I am today. As I drove here this morning, I passed a hubcap in someone's trash, from a VW vehicle and it reminded me that there are many things that can be used that are trashed. But it also was a "label" of things that are part of a another thing also return to their original location. A hubcap can really travel far from their “resting place” as can humans. But most of us return to where we started from. I am sure Anne will post these ideas: These are references for our personal maps:\. 1. We start with our own experiences. 2. What we expect for the future. 3. Connections to others. 4. Influences. 5. History. 6. Spiritual. 7. Family I thought these were great ideas and they make sense! I am really looking forward to creating my own Blog! Maybe we’ll understand what they are when we’re finished. Last year’s Grade 4 PSSA pilot test asked a lot of environmental questions. So this year I am certainly going to focus these questions to my students. You planted an idea in me today- How can I define the ECOSYSTEM at our school? This is an important term that I think most students in Philadelphia do not connect with. I am going to focus my research on this concept….
Someone you know's picture

Great Resources for Teachers

Everyone needs to use to search for the cheapest used books
in any subject

Everyone should Google "Grant Wrangler" which will lead to an amazing site which is a treasure trove for available grants for teachers

If you haven't been to The Wagner Free Institute of Science, you haven't treated your students the way they deserve!

Make sure we see all of you at The Franklin Institute's Teacher Night Out
this fall..

Take your groups to The Philadelphia Water Department's Fairmount Waterworks Interpretive Museum

Syreeta Bennett's picture

July 23, 2007

Today I learned about Google Maps and the National Geographic Map Maker. I hope to use both programs in my classroom. I think that my students will enjoy Google more because they can play with it more. However, I can plan Science and Social Studies lessons using NG MapMaker. I also have to work out the logistics of doing work on the computer with two good comnputers.
Victoria Brown's picture

Monday's comment!!

I believe that the most dense population is in Asia. I found this informataion on both google earth and national geographics. I liked both web sites and found both of them equally useful. I'm going to add both links to my blog, and create a few activities for my students using these programs. This is a particularly good assignment for the end of the year, when students get restless and bored!!!
RecycleJack Marine's picture

Population Density

According to the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), in 1985, the most heavily populated country was India. Asia was the most densely populated continent. I found this at images.php3?img_id=547 If you look at more recent studies, I predict you will see similar patterns of popoulation density. I was always taught that early civilizations settled near large bodies of moving water to establish commerce. I have trouble navigating GOOGLE EARTH. National Geographic's site seemed easier to understand. These laptops are too sensitive.
Patricia Mundy's picture

science and a Sense of Place

The information I read on ecosystems was a wake up call how important relationships are.Any change in the environment effects the balance throughout the world. The example of an eruption of a volcanoe in Mexico or South Asia can bring the temperature down a few degrees for several years.My question is how do I teach inner-city students the long term effect of preserving and growing ecosystems within their communities?
Benjamin Zerante's picture

Introduction- Ben's

My name is Ben Zerante and I live in the Art Museum Area of Philadelphia. I just finished my first year at Samuel B. Huey Elementary in West Philadelphia teaching 7th grade science. I think there is so much potential in a place based curriculum and I am excited to be introduced to the possibility. I know my students would be more engaged if the curriculum was based more on their life experiences.
Anne Dalke's picture

More introductions

....more introductions are available @ /exchange/suminst/scienceplace2007/introductions
joycetheriot's picture


Hello, I'm Joyce Theriot and I teach high school science in the West Chester Area School District. Until this past year we had 2 high schools, East and Henderson where I taught. The district opened its newest high school last September and I'm very happy to be in that place mostly because it's only 15 minutes from my home via beautiful country roads. The school is on a 75 acre campus of rolling hills and I love watching the red tail hawks nesting within view of my lab's window. In the morning the sun rises over the hills in front of the school; a vista that appears like mountains catching the first rays of light. The bucolic scenery, watching the wildlife as well as farmers rolling the hay in the fields just gives me a sense of peace, very enjoyable.
Victoria Brown's picture

Introduction - Tori's

Hi I'm Victoria Brown and I am a high school teacher at Randolph Career Academy. The subjects that I teach are Chemistry, Physical Science, Environmental Science. I've been married for almost three years, to a fun and loving husband. My hobbies are traveling abroad, teaching and running track. I enjoy visiting different countries and interacting with people from all nationalities1!!
Syreeta Bennett's picture

Introduction to Syreeta Bennett

My name is Syreeta Bennett and I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I currently live in the Northeast. I teach fifth grade at Pastorius Elementary School. My school is located in Germantown. I am vastly interetsed in teaching a place based curriculum but with a curriculum in place how do I fuse the two?

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