the Curricula

An integrated approach to community-Engaged science education


Using the Boulder apple trees as a focal system, we are combining course-based undergraduate research (CUREs) with the practices of place-based education, which emphasizes local civic engagement. We call this approach the Power of Place Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience or POP-CURE.  

Calls for reform in science education highlight involvement of students in research as a mechanism that increases persistence in STEM. At the same time, there is increasing emphasis on building students’ civic responsibility and engagement, essential skills to interact in today’s rapidly changing world.

Our goals are to retain more students in STEM, with an emphasis on retention of students from underserved groups, strengthen civic engagement and support community-institution ties. Our ultimate goal is to develop, test, and refine our model so that we may both expand it internally and offer it for adoption by other institutions.


are you an incoming CU-Boulder freshman?

Join our fall 2019 cure: ebio 1250

We are pleased to offer our first Boulder Apple Tree Project CURE this Fall. Students who enroll in EBIO 1250, one of several introductory courses offered to freshmen and transfer students by the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department, will have the opportunity to engage in authentic research on Boulder’s apple trees and support their community!

This course features three CURE branches that students can choose from: 1) Research on the urban ecology of apple trees including effects of urban heat islands on tree growth, 2) Investigations of the effect of the shifting climate on apple tree phenology and physiology, or 3) Genetic explorations of the basis of fruit characteristics such as sweetness or bitterness. For questions about the course or to enroll, contact Lisa Corwin.


Bring POP-CURE into your classroom!

We would love to infuse the boulder apple tree project
into your course curricula

Collect fruit and leaves as a class

The information you collect about the tree and fruit characteristics will help us identify cultivars and compare fruit ripening among trees. Identifying cultivars is the first step to understanding the diversity of apple trees we have in Boulder and will allow us to explore research questions about how differences in the local environment and climate change may affect these historical trees in our community.