Where coronavirus is being added to the high school curriculum

'Model-Oriented Issue-Based' framework allows students to explore current news events through scientific modeling
By: | May 12, 2020
Coronavirus lessons developed in five Missouri high schools will guide the expansion of a COVID curriculum to more high schools.Coronavirus lessons developed in five Missouri high schools will guide the expansion of a COVID curriculum to more high schools.

The coronavirus that has kept students home from school for months is set to become a part of high school curriculums around the country.

A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Missouri-Columbia is working with Missouri high school teachers to develop COVID-19 instructional activities focused on media literacy, graphing skills and social distancing, among other concepts.

Students will also participate in focus groups so teachers can assess their knowledge of the pandemic.

“It’s essential that science classrooms be spaces in which students can explore complex issues such as the current epidemic of COVID-19,” said Troy Sadler, a professor of experiential learning at the UNC School of Education and the leader of the one-year project.


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“We intend to develop materials that help students develop science understandings associated with the issues around this epidemic and how science can be used to inform solutions and personal decisions,” Sadler said.

The project, which was funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Research program, follows the “Model-Oriented Issue-Based” teaching framework that the team has previously helped schools implement.

The approach allows students to explore current news events, such as coronavirus, through scientific modeling.

The lessons developed in the Missouri high schools will guide the expansion of the coronavirus curriculum to more high schools.

“We will study what students understand about the epidemic, what interests them about it, and how they are getting and understanding information,” Sadler said. “The findings will then be used to inform the creation of educational resources that teachers can use to teach about the COVID-19 epidemic, and similar epidemics of the future.”


DA’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on K-12.