Learning in Places Rhizome

At Learning in Places, we call our core commitments, stances, and ideas our project’s rhizome. A rhizome is an underground plant stem system that produces both new roots and new shoots for the plant. In other words, it is the foundation from which the plant makes new growth. We use the rhizome as a metaphor for the foundation of our work, in which our core commitments and key concepts propagate through teaching and learning and from where we cultivate new ideas and practices. Our rhizome foregrounds analyses of power and historicity as they intersect with, interact with, and ultimately construct complex socio-ecological systems, nature-culture relations, and field-based science.

Diagram with Complex Socio-ecological systems; culture, family and communities; field-based science learning; around Learning and being in places, surrounded by nature-culture relations and power and historicity
Our Rhizome

Our Seasonal Storyline

What does it look like to learn about complex socio-ecological systems using field-based science and family and community knowledges and practices in classrooms, homes, neighborhoods, and other outdoor places? The Learning in Places Seasonal Field-Based Science Storyline provides one such model or sequence of activity. The storyline is intentionally designed to support learners to engage in wonderings and science that matters in the places they live – from their own homes, to neighborhood blocks, to school yards, parks, and beyond.

Our storyline is organized by learning engagements and takes learners through wonderings, Should We” questions and investigations that engage the intersection of natural and social phenomena in our everyday lives. We emphasize phenology and seasons as broad organizing principles, however the storyline can unfold over different timescales. The combination of “should we” questions and investigations open opportunities for learners, families, and educators to make ethical decisions about complex socio-ecological systems that intersect with their familial experiences, cultural practices and knowledge and are informed by evidence from their field investigations.

The seasonal storyline is  aligned with the cross-cutting concepts, disciplinary core ideas, and science and engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards.