About Us

What is SPIRALS?

SPIRALS stands for Supporting and Promoting Indigenous and Rural Adolescents' Learning of Science. SPIRALS is a curriculum funded through a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant developed to help young learners (11-14 year olds) from indigenous and rural communities succeed in and connect with science. In addition, the grant encourages the learners to explore the rich traditional ecological knowledge that exists within their communities.


Often there is a separation between the traditional ecological knowledge that communities of indigenous and rural populations use and the ways that science is presented in a traditional classroom setting. The goal of the SPIRALS curriculum is to use the context of the local communities as a way to demonstrate how scientific understanding exists in our everyday experiences and how traditional ecological knowledge helps inform science.


As part of the SPIRALS curriculum learners will engage in fun and creative community centered activities to explore the concept of sustainability. Additionally, as part of the curriculum we hope to advance the learner’s technological understanding, by providing the opportunity for them to document their activities and present the story of their experience with other communities on our custom interactive online site (eSPIRALS). You can check out the nine different spirals that compose the curriculum and through eSPIRALS you can see what communities around New England have done as part of the program.


The creation of the SPIRALS curriculum is the result of collaboration between the University of New Hampshire and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension 4-H program. The SPIRALS curriculum will be led by community mentors supported by UNH Cooperative Extension. The setting for the curriculum will vary and is adaptable to many environments such as afterschool programs, school break initiatives, school immersion experiences, and summer enrichment programs. To meet our partners you can visit our partners page and to become involved in the SPIRALS collaboration contact us.