The NSF-fundedCliMES project was featured last week on NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations. The story provides an overview of the project, how it came about in Nebraska, and how the CliMES curriculum looks in the classrooms we’ve been working in. Many thanks to NET reporter Becca Costello for taking an interest in this project and pursuing a story that reflects perspectives of project teachers and the many stakeholders who have been involved. To learn more about the research-practitioner partnership that has made this project possible, involving UNL, NASA-GISS, and Lincoln Public Schools, please check out Chap. 3 of the recently released edited book, entitled Teaching Climate Change in the United States.
Forbes, C.T., Chandler, M., Blake, J., Bhattacharya, D., Carroll-Steward, K., Johnson, V., DeGrand, T., Mason, W., and Murrow, B. (2020). Fostering climate literacy with global climate models in secondary science classrooms: Insights from a collaborative partnership. In J. Henderson & A. Drewes (Eds.), Teaching Climate Change in the United States. Routledge; New York.
Over the past 7 years, I have been incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Prof. Dr. Kim Lange-Schubert, a colleague from Germany, on work related to models and modeling in elementary science classrooms. Springboarding, in part, from our earlier work on the MoHSES project, as well as a CEHS international travel fellowship awarded to former graduate student and now Assistant Professor Tina Vo, this ongoing collaboration yielded two more publications in 2019. The first is a practitioner-focused article in a German publication discussing the importance and role of models and modeling in the early grades. The second is a reporting of some smaller-scale work with students in Germany and articulation/elaboration of our underlying conceptual framework for model-based teaching and learning. We look forward to continuing this collaborative endeavor and important work yet to come.
For the last four years, the UnICORN project has afforded an opportunity to enhance and engage in research on teaching and learning about inheritance in elementary science through curriculum development and professional development for teachers. Through the implementation of a model-based curriculum, early learners in Nebraska have been afforded opportunities to use corn as a model organism to develop understanding of basic concepts of heredity and genetics using corn as a model organism. Two papers were recently published based upon this work which describe students’ understanding of core, NGSS-aligned target concepts and the relative impact of the curriculum on target outcomes in consecutive project years.
I am very excited to share that ongoing endeavors I have led over the past 3 years to build a transdisciplinary community focused on education and education research grounded in the FEW-Nexus will be supported for the upcoming 5 years through a Research Coordination Networks (RCN) grant from the National Science Foundation. The project – INFEWS/T3 RCN: Cultivating a National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW; NSF-1856040) is co-funded through the Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) program and education core research program (ECR) through Education and Human Resources (EHR). NC-FEW involves faculty from across the U.S. and is led by an amazing NC-FEW team, members of which have been working together since the beginning through prior early-stage funding from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award #1006539 and #2017-06281, the Network of STEM Education Centers/APLU (NSEC), the Agricultural Research Division at the University of Nebraska, and Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region (NCR). Stay tuned for information about future conferences, webinars, newsletters, and other community activities. Want to find out more? Check out the brand-new NC-FEW website and join us to get involved!
In August, the I was fortunate to attend the 2019 annual meeting of the European Science Educational Research Association (ESERA), held in Bologna, Italy. The conference provided a wonderful opportunity to be part of a PISA-focused session, organized by Jonathan Osborne, to present results of work associated with my Fulbright in Germany. It was also great to see doctoral student Florian Böschl, who works with Prof. Dr. Kim Lange-Schubert at the University of Leipzig, present work from his summer in Nebraska (2018) as part of our ongoing collaborative research on modeling in elementary science classrooms. ESERA was a truly fantastic way to cap off a year of travel and professional work in Germany.
Böschl, F., Lange-Schubert, K., & Forbes, C. T.
(2019, August). Investigating scientific modeling practices in primary science: A comparative
study of the U.S. and Germany. Paper presented at the
2019 annual meeting of the European Science Education Research Association
(ESERA) 2019, Bologna, Italy.
Forbes, C.T., Neumann, K., Schipe-Tiska, A. (2019, August). Science teaching and learning: Analysis of
PISA data from the United States and Germany. Paper presented at the 2019 annual meeting of
the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) 2019, Bologna,
Congrats to current doctoral student Diane Lally on publication of WELL project research from the SCIL 109 course. In this study, Diane investigated undergraduate students’ use and evaluation of a data-driven, computer-based modeling tools developed by Co-PI, course co-instructor, and SNR colleague Trenton Franz. The study, which compares student outcomes over the 1st and 2nd year of the course, also provides evidence for the impact of ongoing course refinement we have been engaged in over time as part of the project. The study adds to a growing number of publications from our project work with the 109 course, as well as broader efforts within my research group focused on model-based teaching and learning. It’s great to have empirical evidence in support of our team’s hard work on the 109 course over the last 3 years and kudos to Diane for her significant contributions to this work!
Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to contribute as a research team member on the National Geoscience Faculty Survey project led by SERC and made possible by funding from NSF. As part of this effort, I was fortunate to collaborate with Dr. Karen McNeal, as well as doctoral students Diane Lally (UNL) and Nick Soltis (Auburn University), on analysis of data from the 2016 administration of the survey to investigate U.S. geoscience faculty members’ reported emphasis on scientific modeling and systems thinking in their undergraduate courses. Based on a sample of over 2000 postsecondary instructors, this shows these elements to be more heavily emphasized by faculty members from certain geoscience subdisciplines than others and who generally show greater engagement with instructional innovation. This was a great experience working with a wonderful team on a unique dataset and we all hope these are findings that will be accessible and useful to postsecondary geoscience faculty nationwide.
Congrats to former Masters student Ashley (McKenzie) Sutter on publication of one of her thesis studies. This particular study explores 7th-grade students’ reasoning and science-informed decision-making about a local wind energy socio-scientific issue. Published in the International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, the article explores how middle school students problematized this issue, used available information to prioritize its most critical elements, and proposed feasible solutions to perceived challenges.
As part of my Fulbright stay in Germany this summer, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the European Science Education Research Association‘s 2019 summer school for graduate students. Held June 4-9 in Crete, Greece, the summer school brought together nearly 50 doctoral students and 20 faculty mentors from around the world to support graduate-level science education research. During the event, I gave an invited plenary talk on results of Fulbright-supported PISA-focused research and served as a faculty mentor. The event was highly engaging and presented an outstanding opportunity to learn about and advance high-quality science education research focused on many different topics spanning grade levels and disciplinary domains. It was great work with faculty colleagues from across Europe in service of the goals and mission of this annual event. Kudos to Dimitris Stavrou, Professor of Science Education at the Department of Primary Education, University of Crete, and Chair of the organizing committee, for putting together a productive program and offering Crete as an amazing site for the summer school!