Definition of Curriculum
- A curriculum is a coherent progression of educational experiences that addresses a societal issue or need.
- These experiences are organized sequentially such that concepts build on one another (vertical organization) and connect to other content areas or real-world situations (horizontal organization).
- The curriculum needs to be developmentally appropriate, be grounded in relevant learning theories, and provide necessary resources and techniques for effective implementation with the intended audiences in specified learning settings.
- Finally, a curriculum must be evaluated empirically and shown to realize intended learning objectives.
From Smith, M. H., Worker, S. M., Meehan, C. L., Schmitt-McQuitty, L., Ambrose, A., Brian, K., & Schoenfelder, E. (2017). Defining and developing curricula in the context of Cooperative Extension: Theoretical perspectives and practical considerations. Journal of Extension, 55(2). Available from https://www.joe.org/joe/2017april/a4.php.
Curriculum Development Process for Cooperative Extension Programming
Examples of Curriculum Development
There's No New Water! In 2010, ANR developed a water education curriculum for implementation by 4-H, which has a record of successful, nonformal science education programming that complements classroom-based instruction. The development of the new curriculum, There's No New Water!, is described, and preliminary results from a pilot test with high school youth are provided. Preliminary outcomes showed gains in both science knowledge and life skills.
Smith, M. H., Heck, K. E., & Worker, S. M. (2012). 4-H boosts youth scientific literacy with ANR water education curriculum. California Agriculture, 66(4), 158-163. http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.v066n04p158
Junk Drawer Robotics. The article describes the benefits of engineering and technology education, often missed in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and highlights the Junk Drawer Robotics curriculum. Junk Drawer Robotics extends science education into engineering and technology domains using experiential learning, cross-age instruction, and small group learning. Evaluation efforts show promise in helping youth increase their content knowledge in engineering and technology.
Mahacek, R. & Worker, S. (2011). Extending science education with engineering and technology: Junk drawer robotics curriculum. In A. Subramaniam, K. Heck, R. Carlos, & S. Junge (Eds.), Advances in youth development: Research and evaluation from the University of California Cooperative Extension 2001-2010 (pp. 46-57). University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. http://4h.ucanr.edu/files/130752.pdf