Topic outline

  • General

    Conservation Education Tutorial
    Connecting Students, STEM, and Standards through Field Investigations, Project-Based Learning and Systems Thinking
    Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies


  • Topic 1

    Unit 1 STEM and the K-12 Framework for Science Education

    In this first unit, you will be introduced to STEM and identify this as one of the driving forces for science instruction. You will also explore and gain familiarity with the Next Generation Science Standards as they relate to STEM and the K-12 Framework for Science Education. You will connect conservation education and programs with real world opportunities to involve students in meaningful learning of the science standards.
  • Topic 2

    Unit 2 An Introduction to Systems, Questions and Field Investigations

    As you get into this learning module for introducing field investigations, project based learning, and systems thinking into classrooms and environmental education programming, you will have to explore what each of those concepts means for both you and your students. In this unit, you will take the first step towards entering the world of field investigations. You must first determine how your classroom or program can benefit from the use of the processes, questions and communication skills inherent in field investigations. Before you involve your students in these field investigations, it is important to build their basic understanding of good observation and communication skills. Next, you will explore those skills and think about how you might teach them to your students. Field investigations represent a wide variety of activities which can range in length from a 45-minute experience on the school campus to a year-long study that takes place on public lands. As a final facet of your exploration, you will study a variety of model field investigations. Your reflections on these concepts will deepen your understanding of how field investigations can fit in to your curriculum or program.
  • Topic 3

    Unit 3 The Project-Based Learning Model

    This Conservation Education Strategy unit on Project-Based Learning will introduce you to the Pacific Education Institute’s Project-Based Learning Model. You will explore how this model can be used effectively to engage and involve both teachers and students in meaningful learning activities that can positively impact your local environments. The Pacific Education Institute’s Project-Based Learning Model (PBLM) provides a framework for designing projects that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) into a variety of subject areas and contexts that involve students in real-world action projects. You will enhance your project design by using conservation based, environmental projects take place in local environments, outside of the classroom. From small scale projects that can take place in the schoolyard to large scale projects that take place in a variety of public lands, you will better understand how to design and frame an authentic project that engages students in learning standards connected to the STEM content domains.
  • Topic 4

    Unit 4 Utilizing Technology, Tools, and Systems Modeling

    This final unit of the Problem based learning tutorial is concerned with utilizing technology, tools, and systems modeling as part of the overall Conservation Education Strategy. You will be introduced to a number of tools that you can use with teachers and students in order to access credible information about their environmental sites of interest. You will explore how different technologies and tools are used for environmental and conservation research and monitoring. These tools and technologies can be used with students to describe the systems they study in much the same ways as researchers and scientists use modeling to represent the natural systems they study. Building a model is a great way to analyze data and make sense of it. Once you have completed this unit, you will be ready to use the project based learning model to design and implement authentic conservation based projects in the STEM content areas that engage and empower your students.
  • Topic 5

    Unit 5 Tell Us What You Think

    Congratulations! You have completed the Connecting Students, STEM, and Standards through Field Investigations, Project-Based Learning, and Systems Thinking tutorial. If you have any questions or comments related to this online experience, please contact the Pacific Education Institute at info at

    This tutorial is one in a series on the Conservation Education Strategy for North America. Please take a few minutes to tell us what you think by completing the brief online assessment below. You can also download your Certificate of Completion for your professional development hours.

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