High School Students’ Climate Literacy through Epistemology of Scientific Modeling (CliMES)

This 4-year Design and Development project will examine the use of a web-based climate modeling tool designed to provide non-scientists experiences with climate modeling in high school geoscience classrooms. A theoretically-grounded and empirically tested approach to design-based research, instructional design, and assessment development will be used in an iterative cycle of instructional innovation and education research to find answers to two research questions: 1) How do secondary students develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate? And 2) How do secondary science teachers support student use of climate modeling application to develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate? Data associated with conceptual and epistemic knowledge, curriculum-embedded modeling tasks, interviews, and video recorded observations of instruction will be used to study impacts of the new curriculum module on 55 high school science teachers and 3,000 students. Project participants include students from low socioeconomic populations and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The curriculum will also serve as a resource for an existing, online professional development course at the American Museum of Natural History that engages teachers nationwide.

Mississippi teachers’ environmental awareness and usage of the Project Learning Tree curriculum within traditional classrooms

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an international environmental education (EE) program designed for educators working with children and youth. In Mississippi, roughly 700 educators are trained yearly in using PLT curricula; however, how and if teachers use knowledge gained from these workshops remains unknown. This study addresses the environmental awareness and use of PLT curricula in traditional classroom of primary and secondary teachers in Mississippi. Using PLT participant survey data, individuals trained during the years 2009-2013 were surveyed using Qualtrics Survey Software. Mississippi teachers appear to have ecocentric worldviews, above average environmental knowledge, and have incorporated PLT lessons into their classroom curricula. Teachers’ subject areas appear not to affect their usage of PLT, while motivation for incorporating and attending PLT workshops appears to have minor effects. Results of this study can be used to increase the efficiency of PLT workshops, as well as mitigate barriers to incorporating PLT into classrooms.