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!
It was a big summer of transition in the Forbes team, with team members moving on to next steps and new team members coming on board. Congrats to newly-minted Ph.D. Tina Vo who will begin a tenure-track position at UNLV as an Assistant Professor of Science Education in August. Dante Cisterna, UnICORN project postdoc, is also starting a new position at ETS in July. Destini Petitt completed her M.S. in the School of Natural Resources and will begin doctoral studies in the Dept. of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Ashley (McKenzie) Sutter (formerly Peterson), will leave us for a second time to return to her position with USDA. And, finally, Florian Böschl, doctoral student at the University of Leipzig in Germany, will return home after a summer in Lincoln. We wish them all the best!
Joining the team are two new SNR doctoral students, Amie Sommers and Kim Carroll-Steward, undergraduate research assistant Brooke Mott, and incoming postdoctoral researcher Ranu Roy, who recently completed her Ph.D. at Indiana University. They join a fantastic continuing group of team members, including SNR doctoral student Diane Lally, postdoc Devarati Bhattacharya, and undergraduate research assistants Holly White, Isabella Catalano, and Nancy Theodor.
The Forbes team attended the 2018 annual meetings of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), held March 10-13 in Atlanta, GA, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), held March 15-18 in Atlanta, GA, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA), held in New York City. We had the opportunity to present an array of findings from the WELL, MoHSES, UnICORN projects.
Bhattacharya, D., Forbes, C.T., Ingram, E., Hawley, L., Stevens, J. & Cisterna, D. (2018, March). Developing 3rd-grade students’ understanding of inheritance using a model-based curriculum. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
Bhattacharya, D., Forbes, C.T., Ingram, E., Hawley, L., Stevens, J. & Cisterna, D. (2018, March). Supporting scientific modeling practices in elementary science instruction about inheritance. Poster presented at annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
Bhattacharya, D., Ingram, E., Forbes, C., Cisterna, D. (2018, March). Using agriculture as a context for teaching genetics in elementary classrooms: Insights from UnICORN (Understanding Inheritance in CORN). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association (NARST/NSTA sponsored session), Atlanta, GA.
Böschl, F., Vo, T., Forbes, C.T., Lange-Schubert, K., (2018, March). Development of an empirically grounded learning performance framework for elementary students’ modeling competency of water. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
Cisterna, D., Bhattacharya, D., Vo, T., Zangori, L., & Forbes, C.T., (2018, March). Examining multiple programs to supporting K-12 teachers’ instruction about water using scientific models. Submitted to the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), 2018 Annual International Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Lally, D., Dauer, J.M., Forbes, C.T., (2018, March). Helping undergraduate students’ CREATE understanding of scientific and popular media articles about contemporary water issues. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., (2018, March). Water in society: Making water issues matter to undergraduate students. Session presented at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Atlanta, GA.
Petitt, D., Lally, D., Forbes, C.T., Brozovic, N., & Franz, T. (2018, March). Undergraduate students’ learning and reasoning about socio-hydrological issues. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
Vo, T., Bhattacharya, D., Baumfalk, B., Zangori, L., Welch, G., Forbes, C., (2018, April). Examining the impact of a modeling enhanced water unit on 3rd grade students’ scientific explanations. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York City, NY.
Vo, T., Forbes, C.T., (2018, March). A mixed methods comparison of elementary students’ model based explanations about water. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Atlanta, GA.
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!
As part of the WELL project, our team had the chance to teach our new course – SCIL 109 Water in Society – this past spring semester. It was an amazing opportunity work with 45 undergraduate students, both STEM and non-STEM majors from an array of programs. It was also a wonderfully enriching experience to collaborate with colleagues spanning multiple disciplines as part of our instructional team. The course touched on core hydrology concepts, exploration of contemporary real-world water-related challenges, and opportunities to communicate about both the scientific and non-scientific dimensions of these issues. Students used computer-based water modeling tools based upon authentic datasets, worked in collaborative teams on long-term projects, participated in site visits, and developed and presented infographics to attendees at an international water-focused conference. Please see our spring, 2017 syllabus and course calendar here.
In a new video series from CADRE, a network for STEM education researchers funded by the National Science Foundation’s Discovery Research K-12 (DR K-12) program, I had a chance to share a bit about the importance of scientific modeling in science learning environments. It’s very exciting to be featured as part of a group, including Dan Damelin (The Concord Consortium) and Brian Reiser (Northwestern University), discussing this important topic related to our MoHSES, NE WETS, WELS2, and WELL projects.
In October, the 2017 STEM Education Research Retreat was held on East Campus in Hardin Hall in partnership between the Center for Science, Mathematics, and Computer Education, IANR Science Literacy, and the Nebraska Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education. Over 75 UNL faculty, postdocs, and graduate students representing nearly all of UNL’s academic Colleges and Extension participated in this year’s event. Over 30 posters were presented in two consecutive poster sessions, showcasing the high-quality and innovative STEM education research being conducted at the university and across the state. Participants also participated in an interactive webinar with NSF Program Officers to learn more about the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) funding program. It was a pleasure to co-plan and host this event in conjunction with colleagues from across campuses. Kudos to Devarati Bhattacharya, Erin Ingram, Tina Vo, Diane Lally, Kari Nelson, Destini Petitt, and McKenzie Peterson for presenting their research, including work from the MoHSES, WELL, and UnICORN projects.