EarthGen Washington
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Middle School
  • EarthGen
  • Energy
  • Environmental Science
  • Middle School
  • NGSS
  • Science
    Creative Commons Attribution
    English, Spanish
    Media Formats:
    Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

    In the Dark

    In the Dark


    In the Dark is a Middle School curricular program framework created by EarthGen. For this unit, we offer professional development training and assistance with implementation. If you are interested in implementing this program at your school or district, please let us know! Please contact for more information. 


    In the Dark is a curricular program designed to support students in middle school as they explore their relationship to energy - what energy is, where it comes from, how we engage with it, and the consequences of our energy use. Students will grapple with the dynamics between population growth, per-capita consumption, and the growing impacts on Earth’s systems. In the Dark will support students in visioning a pathway for them to pursue careers that challenge the energy systems that cause harm and explore new technologies that aid in healthier interactions with the environment and those that live within them. 


    Learning Goals

    Next Generation Science Standards

    The learning goals of In The Dark are closely informed by the Performance Expectations described in the Next Generation Science Standards, which guide the scientific concepts and practices that we focus on in the unit. In The Dark addresses the following standards:


    MS-ESS3-4 Earth and Human Activity  

    Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.


    MS-ESS3-3 Earth and Human Activity

    Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.                           


    MS-ESS3-5 Earth and Human Activity    

    Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.                    


    Students will primarily address the first Performance Expectation (MS-ESS3-4) by engaging in argument from evidence as they act as advocates for community stakeholders impacted by the potential installation of a new energy storage facility, tackling assumptions that an increase in population necessitates an increase in per-capita consumption of natural resources, which leads to inevitable negative impacts on Earth’s systems, including Indigenous communities.



    Science Social Focus Framework

    After unpacking the complex relationship between population growth, per-capita consumption of natural resources, and the impacts on communities human and nonhuman, how should our community's energy use change to protect the environment, our health, and our futures?       


    To explore this complex topic, In the Dark supports students to engage with social and cultural dimensions that are often not included within Western scientific knowledge. An additional framework that informed the creation of this unit is the Science Social Focus Framework designed by Anastasia Sanchez. This learning experience aims to move toward the following three learning goals that correspond to the three interconnected concepts in this Framework: 


    Science Social Focus Concept

    Learning Goal Within In The Dark

    Critical consciousness: Promoting awareness of others and society to apply appropriate empathy or critique through the lens of environmental justice. 

    • Through data collection and debate, students create an impact report that highlights how stakeholders are affected by the proposed energy storage project. 

    Consequential concern: Grappling with matters of future well-being and ecological caring as students make connections between science content and the consequential concerns facing society.

    • Students have the opportunity to reimagine what their relationship with energy can be and specifically how they can dismantle energy systems that have damaged communities and the environment through their future careers choices. 

    Critical and liberatory presence: Restorative justice-oriented representation that names the intersectional injustices faced by racially and socioeconomically marginalized communities — as well as their resistance, leadership, and flourishing. 

    • Students recognize, consider, and amplify the voices and perspectives of various racially and socioeconomically marginalized communities as they advocate for different stakeholders in the energy storage project phenomenon.