EMPOWERING PRE-COLLEGE TEACHERS TO ENHANCE THEIR CLIMATE CHANGE INSTRUCTION WITH TECHNOLOGY AND OUTDOOR LEARNING EXPERIENCES
HAINE, Dana and YELTON, Sarah, Institute for the Environment, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB#1105, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, firstname.lastname@example.org
Climate Literacy: Integrating Modeling & Technology Experiences (CLIMATE) in NC Classrooms, an interdisciplinary, global climate change program for NC high school science teachers is administered by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment (IE) with funding from NASA’s Innovations in Climate Education Program. Currently in its second year, this program combines hands-on investigations with experiential learning in fragile ecosystem environments to: increase teacher knowledge of climate change science and predicted impacts; increase teacher knowledge of modeling and technology resources, with an emphasis on those provided by NASA; and increase teacher confidence in using technology in climate change instruction. In this year-long program, 24 teachers work alongside climate scientists and non-formal educators and receive: 1) six days of professional development comprised of one three-day summer institute at UNC-Chapel Hill and two, 1.5 day weekend retreats, one in the NC mountains and one at the NC coast; 2) access to three academic year webinars designed to support classroom adoption of resources provided during the workshops; 3) access to the NC CLIMATE Fellows online community, and 4) support to develop one lesson plan that incorporates at least one NASA resource for dissemination to teachers beyond this program.
During this program teachers interact with numerous and diverse scientists, many of whom use NASA data in their research, to learn about the current research taking place to extend society’s knowledge of climate change; explore online NASA resources that can be used to engage students in cutting edge climate science; and, learn about NASA’s role in providing data and resources to help scientists understand the problems posed by global climate change. Evaluation data reveal that teachers are more confident at integrating technology, like NASA's online resources, into their climate change instruction. During weekend retreats, teachers explore the Southern Appalachian Mountains and NC’s barrier islands with local experts and scientists to learn about the ecosystem services provided by each and to gain awareness about predicted climate change impacts. Teachers also obtain ideas for integrating outdoor learning experiences into their climate change instruction.