The CliMES team is excited to share our first project publication, which appears in the December issue of the Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, a publication of the Green Schools National Network. In this article, we provide an overview of the CliMES project, as well as a primer on the findings from the literature review in which we are currently engaged focused on K-16 climate education. This issue, entitled Climate Literacy: Educating with the Future in Mind, focuses on climate education and includes contributions from an array of esteemed science education colleagues, including some of our CliMES project advisory board members. We very much appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this important issue and the broader conversation about climate education in K-12 classrooms.
Congrats to Diane Lally, doctoral student with the WELL project, for being selected by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) for a 2019 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. This award recognizes outstanding teaching assistants in geoscience education. Diane is currently a 4th-year doctoral student who, for the past 3 years, has served as a graduate teaching assistant for the SCIL 109: Water in Society course. Her research focuses on scientific modeling and systems thinking in undergraduate geoscience courses, including work in the 109 course develop and study the impact of course modules in which students use data-driven, computer-based water models to investigate water-related phenomena (e.g., groundwater, regional water balance, etc.).
Many thanks to the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Geoscience Education Research (GER) Division for showcasing our research and development work in the October, 2018 Geoscience Education Research Spotlight. Through funding from NSF and USDA-NIFA, we are fortunate to be able to implement a number of geoscience-focused education research and development projects in a variety of educational settings, including K-12 and undergraduate classrooms, as well as professional development for K-12 science teachers and postsecondary faculty. It is wonderful to have had the opportunity to build a connection with the NAGT GER community in recent years. I look forward to continuing to contribute to this community, as well as the positive impact this connection will have on our own project work.
An article describing our NSF-funded SCIL 109 Water in Society course, part of the WELL project, and its first implementation appears in the September/October 2018 issue of the Journal of College Science Teaching. In the article, we describe core tenets of the course design, present some findings from research conducted during the first year of the course, and share some ongoing questions and challenges associated with the course. This was a great team effort and it’s fantastic to see this manuscript in print. We look forward to building on this work with subsequent publications focused on students’ model-based reasoning about socio-hydrologic issues conducted in the context of the course.
Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., Franz, T., Lally, D., & Petitt, D. (2018). Water in Society: An interdisciplinary course to support undergraduate students’ water literacy. Journal of College Science Teaching, 48(1), 36-42.
This summer, the Forbes team attended and presented at the 2018 Earth Educators’ Rendezvous on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. As part of the conference, I had the unique opportunity to co-plan and co-facilitate a 3-day workshop – Advancing Transdisciplinary Dialogue in Geoscience Education Research – with my colleague Caitlin Callahan. The objective of the workshop was to advance research around grand challenges associated with teaching about the Earth in the context of societal issues. Attended by nearly 40 participants, the workshop was highly engaging for all involved. Many thanks to our participants and invited speakers: Laura Zangori, Anne Egger, Steve Semken, and Donna Charlevoix.
The Rendezvous also afforded the opportunity to present work from the WELL project and NC-FEW.
Forbes, C.T., Scherer, H., Li, C., Millenbah, K., Sintov, N., & Wang, H-H. (2018, July). Building a National Collaborative for Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW): Insights from a national conference. Poster presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., McNeal, K., & Soltis, N. (2018, July). National Survey of Geoscience Teaching Practices 2016: Current trends in geoscience instruction of scientific modeling and systems thinking. Presentation at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, July). Water in society: undergraduate learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Paper presented at the Earth Educators Rendezvous (EER), Lawrence, KS.
It was wonderful to engage with the geoscience education community and spend time on the KU campus. As always, Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!
For the past year, I have been fortunate to be involved in an NSF-funded endeavor to identify and articulate grand challenges driving geoscience education research in the years to come. The resulting product is a community framework for geoscience education research, which is freely-accessible to anyone with interests in this domain. I served on a working group for one of the 10 strands focused on teaching about the Earth in the context of societal issues, a summary of which can be found in published form here.
Teasdale, R., Scherer, H., Holder, L., Boger, R., & Forbes, C.T. (2018). Research on teaching about Earth in the context of societal problems. In K. St. John (Ed.), Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research (pgs. 49-60). National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.25885/ger_framework/5.
Many thanks to Kristen St. John and the other PIs for leading this effort!
In June, the WELS2 project team held our second 1-week workshop for more than 45 Nebraska middle- and high school science teachers from over a dozen school districts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Innovation Campus. Building on the previous summer workshop, teachers learned groundwater quality sampling techniques, used a computer-based, data-driven water balance model to explore regional water challenges, toured the Nebraska Water Sciences Laboratory, and developed curricular resources to use these tools in their own classrooms. Teachers also had the opportunity to participate in the workshop as part of a UNL graduate course – SCIL 800 Experiential Learning in Food, Energy, & Water II. A special thanks goes out to colleagues Trenton Franz, Dan Snow, and Dana Divine for working with teachers to utilize extraordinary UNL resources and tools, as well as to Tina Vo and Kate Gibson for helping plan and coordinate the workshop. We greatly appreciate funding from the USDA-NIFA PD-STEP program and Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) grant program through the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, both of which have made this program possible.
In November, I was invited to visit the Center for Science and Technology (CSTE) at the University of Maryland. During my visit, I met with CSTE-affiliated faculty and graduate students and gave a Distinguished Lecture. My talk, entitled, “Scientific Modeling for K-16 Earth Systems Education: Theoretical Perspectives and Empirical Insights”, focused on empirical and theoretical work associated with the WELL, MoHSES, and CliMES projects. This was a wonderfully engaging experience – many thanks to Randy McGinnis and Diane Kettelhut for the invitation!
I am excited to announce our new project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K-12 program (DRL 1720838 and 1719872). In the High School Students’ Climate Literacy through Epistemology of Scientific Modeling (CliMES) project, we will engage 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 the Earth’s climate and climate science? and 2) how do secondary science teachers support students’ use of EzGCM to develop epistemic and conceptual knowledge about the Earth’s climate and climate science? The project will impact over 50 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.
Many thanks to all members of our research and instructional team who collaborated on a study investigating undergraduate students’ reasoning about water-focused socioscientific issues. Carried out in the first iteration of the revised SCIL 101 course (formerly AGRI/NRES 103) with more than 200 students, study results illustrate strengths and limitations of students’ thinking about the use of groundwater for agriculture in the context of a multi-week course module. Thanks to Dr. Jaime Sabel for leading this effort!
Sabel, J.L., Vo, T., Alred, A., Dauer, J.M., & Forbes, C.T. (2017). Undergraduate students’ scientifically-informed decision-making about socio-hydrological issues. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(6), 64-72.