TOTOS SEEP Grant EE/ESE Program Descriptions

Sustainability and Environmental Education for Pre-Service (SEEP)

Information needed

Information to share

Name(s) of instructor(s)

Sonja Wiedenhaupt and a Classroom teacher

Name of university

The Evergreen State College

Level of preparation for the program being described: elementary, middle school, high school (or combination)

Elementary, middle school and high school

University course number

Our college does not have course numbers. We have 2 year cohorts that are prepared together with 3 faculty. This is the Masters in Teaching 2008-2010 cohort.

University course title

Rather that course title, Masters Candidates were developing interdisciplinary units of instruction

University course catalogue description

Objectives of this specific EE-ESE project

(big ideas are fine)

The project was designed to help candidates understand how to develop thematic interdisciplinary curriculum. The theme of the curriculum project was Sustainability.

Description of the experience(s) the pre-service teachers had to learn EE-ESE strategies

(This is the main, detailed description. Please include enough detail so someone else will know what you did.)

The pre-service teachers were provided with resources, web-links and information about what sustainability means. They conducted independent research. Faculty and student colleagues offered support in their independent projects, but systematic instruction was not provided.

Materials/equipment needed for the pre-service teacher experience (include technology that may have been used)

Internet resources.

Were preK-12 children involved? (Yes or no). If yes, describe their involvement and ages.

Some candidates did micro-teaching with preK-12 studnets. There is a chance that preK-12 students will experience the curriculum units in the fall or spring when our candidates do their two teaching experiences. This will depend on their Mentor teachers’ flexibility.

Was this an indoor or outdoor project (or both)?

Describe the setting.

There was a wide range of curricula developed.

Were other subject area professors involved? Yes or no. If yes, what subjects were integrated? How?

All subjects were involved, including math, science, LA, Social Studies, theater and art.

Initially, some students thought about sustainability as self-sufficiency. But after investigating the topic and receiving critical feedback from faculty, they developed a more accurate understanding. Faculty provided feedback and pushback to deepen their understanding of EE and Sustainability.

One candidate did an interdisciplinary theater unit. They chose plays that dealt with sustainability. They had students read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and the idea of chain reactions – recognizing chain reactions and implications of behavior. Another candidate used Dr. Seuss’s Lorax, which involved a one-act play. This student did a play about sustainability and made the stage with sustainable materials. The intent was to consider how to put on a play that was, itself, sustainable (not self-sufficient).

Another student did a mathematics interdisciplinary unit on food and hunger. She had students estimate whole to part relationships with respect to people’s food consumption around the world. They calculated how far food travels per week, how much gas goes in to bringing the food to them, etc. They learned about ratios and relationships about water and gas, etc.

Were there community/ agency/institution partners? Yes or no. If yes, how was the partnership structured?


How was the program evaluated? What did the pre-service teachers have to say?

Their curriculum units were evaluated against Wiggin’s & McTaigh backwards design. They were also evaluated on the degree to which sustainability was adequately addressed. Those who did an inadequate job had to re-do the project.


If another grant was written to support your EE-ESE work, what types of things would you hope to accomplish?

Collaboration with others involved with Sustainability would be fantastic. We have resources on our own campus and in our community. The challenge for Masters in Teaching faculty at Evergreen is the range of subjects we teach. With three faculty teaching 45 students in elementary and secondary and all areas of endorsement, time and expertise is very limited. Without a science educator, it has been difficult to effectively collaborate with the SEEP project or even with on-campus experts, like Jean McGregor and the Synergy project.

Thank you!