As the Self | MIDDL | ing page explains, Self Schooling is focused for the 2017-2018 school year on curriculum opportunities in the middle school years. We are focused here for two reasons:

  • Change at the elementary school level is already underway. Kids are learning to program at the same time they learn to read, as they must. The K-5 years are already becoming the Data Readiness years. 
  • The "Middle School" years are when young minds start to be made up. They are the Destiny Years. These are the years when assumptions start to take hold. Without the right habits of thought, kids will struggle in their high school years as they encounter the BEADS subjects (Biology, Ecology, Algorithms, Data, and Society.)

Within the middle school purview, Self Schooling has selected three subjects that are not there now, but should be: 

  • Landscape Ecology 
  • Network Algorithms
  • "Veritas" 

These are subjects that can, with massive help from computers, be made accessible to middle schoolers and which install the right habits of thought for success in the high school years. Most middle schools will say, correctly, that they are already teaching "ecology." But ecology as a whole is much too big. Yes, it is a good idea to recycle the gum wrappers, but that is trivial. Yes, it is a good idea to save the planet, but that is beyond reach.

Landscape ecology is the study of ecology at the level of what we see as we look around us, and what we can experience just by walking around. It is ecology at the Henry David Thoreau level, ecology that a middle schooler already experiences first-hand and can actually do something about. To do so, of course, they must be comfortable making maps of their surroundings, which is what they learn in Data Stories: Data Science For the Middle School Years.