The iStronG “All Hands on Deck” curriculum is an Asset-Based, Competency-Based set of 25 lessons, originally designed for the 5 to 6 week TRIO Upward Bound summer program; however, the lessons readily lend themselves to modular use in shorter settings. The iStronG curriculum is based on the perspective that if a more (Inclusive) approach is taken in which each student is given the empowering personal experience of learning Systems Dynamics concepts and technical tools such as Stella Architect (Strong); and is also challenged to use these skills to contribute to addressing the climate crisis (Green) in their local community, that more students will be likely to believe that they can aspire to life-long learning and set meaningful goals to contribute to the world around them.  Visit the “About” page for more information on the iStronG conceptual framework and pilot study results.

Upward Bound (UB) students from the Family Centered Education Agency (FCEA) in Chicago share their experiences with All Hands on Deck during the summer of 2019.

Who is iStronG for?

While All Hands on Deck was originally implemented during 5-week Upward Bound (UB) summer programs, it was designed with the flexibility to be adapted by Talent Search, Student Support Services (SSS) Programs, community colleges, pre-college programs, and even integrated with existing high school environmental studies programs.

View Curriculum ↗

Read an overview of each unit and download the Student Manual.

View Teacher Guide ↗

Browse slides, assessments, training materials, & more.

View Student Projects ↗

See examples of student action projects from 2019-2021.

All Hands on Deck combines systems thinking, climate change science, and local student action projects to promote student engagement, climate literacy, and interest in sustainable STEM careers. In this technology-driven curriculum, in Unit 1, students study basic systems dynamics concepts and explore the habits of a systems thinker. In Unit 2 students take on the roles of world leaders during the World Climate Simulation and use the C-ROADS simulation model to develop strategies to reach international climate goals. Later, in Units 3 to 5, using the Stella Architect simulation modeling software and inspired by Project Drawdown’s science based solutions, they build original simulation models to apply global insights to local climate solutions. The course culminates in students’ sharing their projects with their community

The iStronG Team

The Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) / Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education (Pell Institute), with partners, UMass-Lowell, Rutgers U, Waters Center for Systems Thinking, Pathlight Associates; and TRIO Upward Bound (UB) pilot site partners, U of Georgia, U of Kansas, UMass-Boston, Family Centered Education Agency (FCEA), and Weatherford Community College, iteratively developed and piloted the iStronG (Inclusive, Strong, and Green) competency-based curriculum from 2019-2022.

Following a “research-practitioner-students as partners” development model, the pilot site teachers and students have been actively involved in improving the curriculum over the 2019-2022 period.  In the 2022 extension year, work has focused on dissemination of iStronG including the development of additional climate justice modules and math activities. Learn more about our team.