Daniel Barth’s The Maurice Series Gains Recognition as Common Core Standards-Ready Literature

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Daniel Barth’s The Maurice Series aligns with Common Core Standards, effectively teaching young students how to solve real-world problems and improving classroom performance.

Daniel Barth is the author of The Maurice Series, a science fiction adventure series geared towards 5th-8th graders. The first three books of the ongoing series are not only scientifically accurate, but also have an educational element that has been underappreciated since the first book’s publication, a little over six years. Gaining more recognition, The Maurice Series has recently been confirmed as an educational resource aligned to Common Core Standards, a state-administered foundation that focuses on core conceptual understandings and processes, fostering the ability to identify and solve real-world problems while improving classroom performance.

The Common Core Standards target inefficiency in school systems. Dr. Barth strongly believes that “the concept that we can teach a fact-heavy curriculum that is a mile wide (dozens of separate standards and sub-standards!) and then measures student learning and success by the use of a multiple choice exam is clearly a bankrupt idea.”

The original philosophy behind The Maurice Series is to promote active learning; science is an activity that people do. The series motivates readers to put the book down and actively engage in a science activity, the activities are all closely tied to the adventures of the characters in the books.

Mrs. Cathy Seabourne is a reading intervention teacher in South East High School in South Gate, CA. She uses Maurice on the Moon, the first book in the series, in her classroom. Even though most of her students read at several grade-levels lower, Maurice on the Moon has had tremendous results in her classroom.

Dr. Barth’s philosophy for The Maurice Series is perfectly aligned with the Common Core Standards, which seek to integrate language, problem solving, and precision technical communication skills in a framework of project/task driven instruction. The Maurice Series provides educators an interdisciplinary approach that promotes student engagement. It is neither a science nor an English lesson, but a culmination of both and more.

Rooted in the Common Core Standards, The Maurice Series does not solely base its success on how students score on standardized tests. Moreover, the core concepts that the series promote are performance-based.

In a recent visit to a school in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Dr. Barth exhibited this performance-based learning that the series is rooted in. The lesson was about asteroid impacts and the craters they make on the Moon – and on the Earth. There were no textbooks, no formulas scratched out on a blackboard, and no multiple-choice exam. Dr. Barth helped the students study impact craters by having them drop weights into pans of flour, and then measure and study the crater they had made and the ejecta material that was blasted out of the crater. “The students discovered the relationship between impact energy and crater size pretty quickly!” noted Dr. Barth. This active approach to learning is what spurred him to write The Maurice Series.

Dr. Barth is very excited that schools are beginning to recognize how powerful The Maurice Series can be in schools. Twenty-five schools nation-wide and several internationally are now using the series in their interdisciplinary approach to educating.

How will Dr. Barth and the schools gauge the success of The Maurice Series?

Along with observing test scores and general classroom performance, Dr. Barth notes: “We believe that students who participate in the Maurice on the Moon program will begin to choose science and math as elective courses more often. The growth in these elective classes will be one of the clearest indicators of our success with The Maurice Series.”

Read more about educator and author Daniel Barth.

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