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NECC News: Maps Provide First-of-their-kind Classroom Examples of Integrating 21st Century Skills into Science and Geography Courses

Posted Jun 30, 2009
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The 21st Century Skills Science and Geography Maps were recently released at the National Education Computing Conference by representatives from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) along with colleagues from the National Council for the Social Studies and National Council of Teachers of English, who released social studies and English maps in 2008.


The 21st Century Skills Science and Geography Maps demonstrate how the integration of 21st century skills into science and geography classes support teaching and prepare students to become effective and productive citizens.


The maps provide educators with teacher-created models of how 21st century skills can be infused into instruction and highlight the critical connections between science, geography and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication.


In addition to aligning teaching and learning to the demands of today’s world, the maps cite specific student outcomes and provide project models that will result in enhanced student achievement in grades four, eight and 12, according to the announcement.


For example, twelfth graders participate in a "citizen science" project such as a service learning project or an environmental issue specific to the community, through which they have the opportunity to work collaboratively with local and remote research scientists, organizations, agencies and/or universities. Students then work in teams and blog about their experiences and how they connect to their classroom learning. They then present their research finding to an external audience, such as a science fair, junior academy of science, or a local chapter of a scientific professional society. Through this science project, students learn how to collaborate with their peers and experts and defend arguments using scientific reasoning, logic, and modeling.


At the eighth grade level, to combine the teaching of geography with 21st century skills, students identify historic and contemporary migrant groups in their area and examine why migration occurs. They consider factors such as war, famine, recession, natural resources and climate, among others. Students then form teams to investigate the changes that occur when people migrate and present their findings to the class. As a result, eighth graders learn what can cause migration and the impact that migration has on communities, while also developing collaboration, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills.


The 21st Century Skills and Science and Geography Maps are the third and fourth in a series of core content maps designed for educators, administrators and policymakers. The last map in the series, for mathematics, will be available later in 2009. All of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills resources are freely available at

Source: Partnership for 21st Century Skills,

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