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

|Overview| |Personnel| |Publications| |Presentations|

Project Overview
To study Earth’s climate and make predictions about climatic patterns, scientists rely on robust, data-intensive, computer-based models. Modeling is a core scientific practice emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). To develop climate literacy, or the ability to engage with social, economic, and cultural issues around climate issues, students must develop knowledge of both the conceptual and epistemic underpinnings of climate science, the latter of which foregrounds understanding of how models are used to study the Earth’s climate. Because scientific modeling remains underemphasized in K-12 science classrooms, there is a need to learn more about the design of science learning environments that promote students’ model-based reasoning about climate. With funding from NSF (DRL 1720838 and 1719872), we are engaged in a 4-year, mixed-methods, design-based research project to investigate classroom use of EzGCM (Easy Global Climate Modeling), a web-based climate modeling suite designed to provide non-scientists experiences with climate modeling. We are developing and implementing a 6-week climate science module for secondary science classrooms designed around EzGCM. Each year, we will collect and analyze evidence of students’ model-based reasoning about climate, including pre-/post- measures of students’ conceptual and epistemic knowledge, curriculum-embedded modeling tasks, interviews, and videorecorded observations of instruction to investigate two research questions: 1) how do secondary students develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate change? and 2) how do secondary science teachers support students’ use of EzGCM to develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about climate change? The project will impact 55 secondary teachers and 3000 secondary students over four years and leverages a new partnership between Columbia University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, promoting cross-fertilization between climate scientists and science educators, in partnership with Nebraska school districts.

Stay up to date with current news associated with the CliMES project here.

Project Personnel
Cory Forbes – Principal Investigator

Mark Chandler – Co-PI, Climate Scientist and Director, The EdGCM Project, Columbia University and NASA/GISS

Devarati Bhattacharya – K-16 STEM Education Postdoctoral Fellow

Kim Carroll-Steward – Kim Carroll-Steward is currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Isabella Catalano, Undergraduate Research Assistant, UNL

Ashley McKenzie Sutter – McKenzie Sutter successfully completed her M.S. in the School of Natural Resources in 2017 and was a project associate on CliMES project in 2018.

Project Publications

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.

Bhattacharya, D., Carroll-Steward, K., Sutter, A., Chandler, M., & Forbes, C.T. (2018). Climate literacy: Insights from research on K-16 climate education. Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, V(4), 26-35.

Project Presentations