Building Sustainable Science Curriculum: Acknowledging and Accommodating Local Adaptation

Sasha Alexander Barab, April Lynn Luehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


A core challenge facing science educators is how to develop and support the implementation of project-based, technology-rich science curriculum that is consistent with international calls for a "new approach" to science education while at the same time meeting the everyday needs of classroom teachers. In this article, we discuss the challenges of scaling out university-developed, project-based curricula, providing a contextualizing frame for the articles that constitute this current issue of Science Education. Specifically, we overview (1) what constitutes and why implement inquiry-based, project-focused learning environments, (2) the role of integrating technology to support their implementation, (3) the value of engaging in design experiments for their development, (4) the importance of allowing for local adaptation, and (5) the process of curricular diffusion. In our thinking, the process of dissemination is not simply "rubber-stamping" the same program into multiple contexts; rather, the process of large-scale adoption involves additional, individual teacher-directed design, fitting, and adaptation for local circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-467
Number of pages14
JournalScience Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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