Paper No. 208-3
Presentation Time: 8:35 AM

INVESTIGATING AND SUPPORTING ENERGY EDUCATION AS A COMPONENT OF CLIMATE EDUCATION


GOLD, Anne, Cooperative Institute of Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80303, anne.u.gold@colorado.edu, LEDLEY, Tamara, TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140, KIRK, Karin B., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, SULLIVAN, Susan Buhr, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Univ of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, LYNDS, Susan, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, UCB 449, Boulder, CO 80309-0449, and MANDUCA, Cathryn, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057
Anthropogenic climate change is one of the key challenges that our society faces and thus educating tomorrow’s citizens about climate and climate change is imperative. Energy use is the single largest cause of anthropogenic climate change; because of this, it is an essential part of the solution. Energy education can have several beneficial effects in the classroom. Most importantly, improved energy literacy is an important component of climate education. Moreover, students can become empowered when they become energy literate and learn about how they can take part in solutions for climate change. By discussing solutions, students can avoid “gloom-and-doom” emotions about climate change, and can learn the role that citizens play in energy use.

The recently-released Next Generation Science Standards emphasize instruction on energy and energy choices with respect to climate change.

Different studies have looked at the knowledge of students and citizens with respect to energy and energy awareness. Both groups show a low proficiency with the subject matter. This raises the question about the instruction, teaching practices, and teacher preparation with regards to energy education.

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN, cleanet.org) strives to support teaching of climate and energy topics. In order to understand teacher needs and practices better, the project has completed a national, multi-year study focused on climate and energy instruction among teachers in grades 6-16.

In this presentation we will share the longitudinal results of this 3-year study with respect to energy and solutions to climate change. Our data gives interesting insight into the teaching practices and needs of educators of grades six through sixteen with respect to energy. We will also demonstrate the various avenues through which the CLEAN portal can help educators improve their teaching about energy, build on their own energy literacy, find support in determining why and how to effectively integrate the energy principles into their teaching, and facilitate their successful use of new teaching approaches with their students.