Reflection: Qualitative Evaluations CAPSTONE: Environmental justice in Sunset Park (3 of 3) - Section 3: EVALUATE: Beyond the waterfront-INDIVIDUAL ASSESSMENT


This is the type of assessment that I like to give to my students because it aligns with the experiences they have had throughout the unit. Rather than an abstract essay topic or multiple choice exam, students engage with the community, albeit virtually, in order to demonstrate understanding of the key concepts and tools from this unit. Many students that have lived in the community their whole lives loved this "test" because they were able to see their world through the eyes of an environmental scientists interested in developing environmentally just communities. I would not argue that this unit changed my students' lives.  However, I would argue that for a large subgroup of students it made places meaningful sites of investigation and future change.

While I was tempted to incorporate a mapping component in this activity, I ultimately decided against this course when it failed during my first class. Students had already demonstrated proficiency with building digital maps; making a map ended up interrupting students' reflective process. Many students submitted complete paragraphs. Others submitted outlines. My goal was to surface students' takeaways from this unit. As such, I was more lenient with submission format.

At any rate, the attached resource is an example of proficient work. However, this student did not identify any community partners that might assist with future work.  This was a consistent result. As data to inform instruction, this lead me to believe that the CAPSTONE project for this work, and learning activities through this unit, do not give equal weight to analysis of environmental justice and groups that can do something about a lack of environmental justice in the community. A primary change I will make to this unit next year is to do more with the initial ENGAGE activity. Currently, students start this unit by looking at Sunset Park through the eyes of UPROSE, the environmental justice group in Sunset Park. Instead of using only a clip, a neighborhood walk led by UPROSE would be a much stronger hook that would more strongly ground students in the environmental justice framework.

  Qualitative Evaluations: Learning from student submissions
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CAPSTONE: Environmental justice in Sunset Park (3 of 3)

Unit 3: Environmental justice
Lesson 16 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to 1) describe the successes and failures of the Sunset Park waterfront development plan through the lens of environmental justice and stakeholder interests; 2)make evidence-based recommendations for the future environmentally just development of Sunset Park; and 3) identify community organizations that would be most able to assist with future development work.

Big Idea: The environmental justice movement needs informed citizens in afflicted neighborhoods to advocate for change. How might we use Sunset Park as a case study for of how citizens can apply STEM skills to create a more environmentally just community?

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Science, Statistics, field work, Community Mapping, engineering design thinking
  55 minutes
mapping toxicity
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