The River City Project concentrates on the areas of epidemiology, scientific inquiry, and experimentation. Based on recommendations outlined by the National Research Council (2000), the River City Curriculum supports students as they:
Learn the principles and concepts of science
Acquire the reasoning and procedural skills of scientists
Devise and carry out investigations that test their ideas and understand why such investigations are uniquely powerful.
River City is a 17 hour, time-on-task curriculum that includes a pretest and a research conference at the end of the unit. Teachers are not expected to find extra time in the school year in order to implement River City. On the contrary, the River City Curriculum is designed and intended to replace existing lessons. The River City Curriculum is interdisciplinary in scope, spanning the domains of ecology, health, biology, chemistry, and earth science, as well as history.
Three diseases simultaneously affect health in River City, based on historical, social, and geographical content. As students explore these diseases, they learn how disease is spread and how human interactions can have effects far from the initial site. This situation allows students to experience the realities of identifying a problem, investigating it, and delineating the multiple causes that underlie a complex phenomenon. Students follow multiple threads that potentially lead to very different hypotheses and experiments. This helps refute the common belief that there is one right answer to any science experiment.
The River City Curriculum is a roadmap to a destination – an understanding of scientific inquiry.
We view the teachers as "expert drivers" because they:
Know the terrain better than anyone (the students, parents, researchers)
Decide when to speed up and slow down and emphasize and highlight what they think is most important.
This mission will help players understand ...
River City - Common Core Standards:
River City and the National Science Standards
The National Science Education Standards list seven content standards for K-12 school science (National Research Council, 1996). River City maps to five of these standards.
CONTENT STANDARD A: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop:
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Understandings about scientific inquiry
River City is an inquiry-based project
As an inquiry-based project, students gather data, hypothesize, use tools to test, analyze and make conclusions
Students are guided to learn the skills necessary to conduct scientific inquiry
Simultaneously, they engage in an authentic and personal inquiry investigation.
CONTENT STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of:
Structure and function in living systems (grades 5-8)
Populations and ecosystems (grades 5-8)
Diversity and adaptations of organisms (grades 5-8)
Interdependence of organisms (grades 9-12)
River City helps students understand disease and three forms of disease transmission
Students are guided to understanding the effect of disease on humans;Students investigate the niche of microorganisms
Students see the interactions between humans, microorganisms and the ecosystem they both inhabit
Students learn the role of microorganisms in causing disease.
CONTENT STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop:
Abilities of technological design
Understandings about science and technology
Students are asked to design virtually an intervention that will potentially solve the River City epidemic
Students evaluate their intervention to see if it did indeed affect the spread of disease
Students learn that technological inventions such as microscopes drive scientific discoveries by expanding scientists' ability to make observations
Students investigate the intended and unintended consequences of a newly introduced technological invention.
CONTENT STANDARD F: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of Personal health
Community Health (grades 9-12)
Populations, resources, and environments (grades 5-8)
Environmental quality (grades 9-12)
Human-induced hazards (grades 9-12)
Risks and benefits
Science and technology in society
Students explore three different diseases with varying health impact
Students discover that there are human-caused health hazards in the river
Students' investigations lead them to understand that the causes of these hazards stem from natural occurrences such as heavy rain, water stagnation as well as human impact
Through experimentation, students are able to test out their hypothesis of the cause of the sudden increase in disease before making recommendations
Students need to weigh the advantages and drawbacks to various interventions before choosing what they view as the best option
Students join politicians, doctors, and university professors in working together to understand the impact on the poorest segment of the River City population.
CONTENT STANDARD G: As a result of activities in grades 5-12, all students should develop understanding of: Science as a human endeavor
Nature of science (grades 5-8) and of scientific knowledge (grades 9-12)
History of science (grades 5-8)
Historical perspectives (grades 9-12)
Students participate in science along with men and women in various virtual roles
Students are exposed to concepts of nature of science
Students are encouraged to base their conclusions and decisions on evidence and to re-evaluate them in light of new evidence
Students travel back in time to experience the “dawn of microbiology” along with the culture and habits typical of that time