Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Younkyeong Nam

Second Advisor

Dr. Peter Veronesi


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NRC, 2013) have developed a framework for more effective pedagogical approaches in the science classroom that advance student engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The framework is cited in developing student understanding of three major aspects of learning: “understanding of science concepts, their identities as learner of science, and their appreciation of scientific practices and crosscutting concepts” (NGSS, 2012).The framework explains that the most effective way of transmitting these aspects of learning is through “investigation, collection and analysis of evidence, logical reasoning, and communication of information” (NGSS, 2013). Project-Based Learning (PjBL) meets these criteria, and is argued by the scientific and educational communities to be a portal for aligning science teaching to the NGSS. This project cites the wealth of support for PjBL in the science classroom. Additionally, this project proposes a unit plan that introduces PjBL in the science classroom in an attempt to engage students in genuine science learning that references the NGSS. Specifically, students work in groups throughout the unit to collaborate on research, design, data analysis, and a presentation of their understanding of the different forms and effectiveness of four types of renewable energy: solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy. The presentation is the culmination of students’ ability to collaborate in understanding the overall objectives of the unit.