Model-based inquiry, inquiry-based learning, and phenomenon are all popular terms in K–12 science education right now. Science education in our public education system is rapidly changing due to the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These standards ask teachers to move away from direct instruction to having students develop their understanding of the natural world through guided-learning activities. Under NGSS, students are expected to develop this understanding through one of the main scientific practices, model building, which requires a complex, real-world phenomenon to drive the learning experience. Phenomena work best in the classroom when they apply to students' lives and pique their interest. Finding such phenomena can be hard – especially finding ones that have not already been thoroughly explained on the internet. A great way to find a complex, real-world phenomenon that will interest students is to partner with a local research lab to bring part of their research project into the classroom. This article lays out a process for bringing a local research project into the classroom and designing NGSS-aligned curricula around this project to create a more authentic learning experience for high school students.
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Vol. 82 • No. 9