An opportunity to test a new curriculum….

Surely there is at least one Kansas biology teacher that would be interested in field testing a new biology curriculum.  I just received the following notification:

Dear Biology Teachers,

I am a former high school biology teacher, and now design curricula for the SEPUP (Science Education for Public Understanding Program) at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Some of you may be familiar with our Science and Sustainability curriculum, or with some of our modules (Groundwater Contamination: Trouble in Fruitvale, Living with Plastics, etc.). We are in the process of developing a high school Biology curriculum centered around sustainability issues, and are looking for teachers both to field test the course, and to validate the tests that will be used in the field test to assess each unit. I’ve included some details below about each opportunity.

I’m very excited to be developing this curriculum, because it embraces all of the aspects of science teaching that I feel are important. It is an inquiry and issue based curriculum, based on the National Science Education Standards, all taught through the lens of sustainability. The input of our field test teachers is vital to our development process, and their feedback serves as a major focus in our development prior to publishing our courses. If you think you would be interested in working with us, please look through the details below for information on how to do so. We are looking for a mix of students, from across the country, so feel free to pass this message on to your colleagues as well.

Thank You,

Maia Willcox

Item 1 – Test Validation: SEPUP is looking for teachers to validate our Ecology and Cell tests for us. How do you validate a test? All you need to do is give it to your students and return it to us. We do all of the analysis. The tests are 40-50 questions, a mix of multiple choice and short answer, and are all directly from or based on test questions from national test bank sources (e.g., NAEP, New York Regents Exams, etc.) Each test is designed to take one class period (approximately 50 minutes). The tests are designed to assess our Ecology and Cell units, which are based on the National Science Education Standards.
This would be a great way to review with your students for state tests or for final exams. We will provide you with all the materials you need, and you are welcome to make copies so that you can grade the tests or review them (after the students have taken them) with your classes. All that we need back are the original answer sheets. We would love it if you had your students take both tests, but are also happy to have you just administer one of the tests.
The tests are available now, and we would like to have them returned by mid-June. Due to funding and grant restrictions, we cannot pay you for your help, but we can offer you a small gift certificate to as a thank you.

Item 2 – Field Test: SEPUP is accepting applications for field test centers to participate in the national field test of our new course Science in Global Issues. The development of this National Science Foundation funded curriculum is utilizing a process of backward design to develop four biology units and an accompanying introductory unit on sustainability. Issue-oriented guided-inquiry instruction will provide opportunities for students to evaluate global sustainability issues using biology content and process skills developed through the course.

We are currently taking applications for field test centers that would like to participate in our field test for the 2008-2009 school year. The process will begin with an all expense paid trip to our summer conference, July 28 – August 1, 2008, for professional development to prepare for field testing in the 2008-2009 school year.

If you are, or know of, an educator who has a science background and teaching experience in one of the above content areas and are interested in putting together a field test center, please use the Field Testing Application found at to submit an application.

If you are interested in either opportunity, or would like further information, please let me know. I can be reached by telephone at (510) 642-8718 and by electronic mail at