Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM
A CURRICULUM APPROACH USING GOOGLE EARTH AND WEB-BASED INTERACTIVITIES TO PROMOTE CLIMATE CHANGE UNDERSTANDINGS
Research on misconceptions and knowledge deficits about climate change indicate that most school-age children and adults have significant gaps in their understanding of basic scientific principles pertaining to climate change. Teaching and learning about climate change science is essential for developing future citizens who must understand how their personal and societal decisions will ultimately affect the future of the environment. To address the lack of a well-designed middle school science climate change curriculum that can be used to help teachers promote the teaching and learning of important climate change concepts, we developed a 20-day inquiry-based Climate Change curriculum in partnership with a local area urban school district. The curriculum is designed to align instructional materials and assessments with climate change science learning goals from the Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences (U.S. Global Change Research Program, 2009) and the AAAS Project 2061 Communicating and Learning About Global Climate Change (AAAS, 2007) frameworks. The curriculum is a coherent sequence of learning activities that include climate change investigations with Google Earth, Web-based interactivities that include an online carbon emissions calculator and a Web-based geologic time-line, and inquiry-based laboratories. The curriculum includes embedded support material designed to assist teachers’ development of both climate change content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge for effective curriculum enactment. The curriculum was implemented during the 2011-12 school year with 1,141 eighth grade urban students. A reliable 28-item climate change assessment (Cronbach’s alpha = .86) was developed with items aligned to misconceptions and knowledge deficits in the literature. Implementation results showed that students significantly increased their knowledge about climate change science after using the curriculum.