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ERIC Number: ED564520
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 214
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-1194-0
From Civic Conservation to the Age of Ecology: The Rise and Synthesis of Ecological Ideas in the American High School Science Curriculum, 1900-1980
Laubach, Stephen A.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Ecological ideas have been manifested in diverse ways in American high schools since the early twentieth century. Core scientific concepts in ecology--the study of the relationship between organisms and their environment--include adaptations, plant succession, ecosystem ecology, and population ecology. This dissertation argues, however, that there is more to ecology as it played out in schools and society during its early decades. Two other forms of ecological thought--political ecology and romantic ecology--influenced the diverse ways that students have learned about the relationship between organisms and their environment. In schools, scientific and romantic ecology were the subject's main forms in the curriculum from 1900-1920, but curriculum trends toward applied project-based learning between 1920 and 1950 contributed to political ecology's dominance during this period. In the years following World War II, the Cold War conflict played a key role in bringing greater attention to student training in the disciplines. This affected classroom instruction across the sciences, including ecology. The response by policy makers was a shift toward a disciplinary focus and the decline of applied science courses. Between 1945 and 1960, some leaders in science education also called for a greater exchange of ideas between ecology's forms. Following the publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" and the ecology-themed high school textbook "BSCS Green," both in 1963, collaboration across ecology's forms became a reality. A new synthesis emerged as teachers, textbook authors, and others showed a greater interest in integrating scientific and political ecology. The exact extent to which ecology has been sustained in schools since these developments in the mid 1960s is unclear. Evidence suggests that enthusiasm for ecological ideas in public discourse has waned somewhat, but that it has nonetheless become a widely accepted part of the high school science curriculum. Further research on the closing decades of the twentieth century is needed to follow up on trends in classroom instruction in ecology since 1980. Such studies could examine the degree to which ecology has been sustained in the school curriculum and the nature of classroom ecology as it relates to the three forms considered in this dissertation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A