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Towards a Unified Human Sciences Education

  • K-16 scope & sequence
  • K-16 integrative programming (UACS)
  • NGSS Framework + Big History Narrative + Biology of PROSOCIAL + Project Citizen = A UHS Education 
Human Sciences in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The NGSS were published in 2013 based on the mandate outlined in the 2011 National Research Council (NRC) report on the framework for science education. In this report, the NRC makes explicit their reasons for excluding the social sciences from this next generation of science education standards. These reasons include: a lack of connection to the authors' mandated scope, a lack of expertise among the extant authors in the social sciences, and - the existence of other standards for social sciences education.  The authors are appropriately cautious about not defining this distinction as sacrosanct, and encourage exploration of the issue further. All of the given reasons for this current exclusion of social sciences, of course, have a reasonable surface logic. It is simply argued here that there remains a vast untapped efficiency gain by not folding social sciences,  and indeed all of human sciences within the exact framework currently outlined in the NGSS. 

The PEAR Lab's work in developing Project Citizen Through the Lens of Big History offers the first generalized model for how such an integration of natural and social sciences can engage students in a truly unified science of the human condition.

Our work developing Project Citizen: The Policies of Play & Sport offers the first content specific model for direct classroom development.

A 4-Point Simplified Connection Between 
Next Generation Science Standards & Unified Human Sciences:
  • Tinbergen's Four Questions
    • The same exact theory that served so well to synthesize all of the natural sciences in the 1960's, is currently serving quite well to synthesize all of human sciences in the 21st century. This later claim is accomplished by viewing Evolution in Four DImensions (Jablonka & Lamb 2006) - as four systems of adaption: genetic, epi-genetic, behavioral, and symbolic. NGSS appropriately reflects the current status of Tinbergen's work, and therefore, is appropriate to apply to all of human sciences. 
  • Multiple Levels of Analysis
    • Analyzing systems from the molecular to the macro scale is fundamental to the NGSS, and who would argue that the same doesn't apply to all of human sciences in the 21st century?
  • Applied Project Development
    • The NGSS aptly emphasizes the role of developing applied project work connecting science to civic engagement. Oddly, this explicitly excludes the social sciences from the very framework proving so often to be productive in integrating all of human sciences!
  • Nature of Science 
A Bilingual Unified Human Sciences chart from the PEAR Lab, examining Tinbergen's Four Questions across Multiple Levels of Analysis is fully congruent with the NGSS:

If a student can speak about a given public policy issue at an appropriate level - in functional terms, across both spatial and temporal scales of complexity - who would doubt they are meeting, indeed exceeding, the current intent of NGSS? 

Big History, Evolutionary Studies, and the University-Assisted Community School (UACS) model provide a road map to achieving this vision.

We must tap into this currently untapped efficiency gain!