DEVELOPING SECONDARY TEACHERS’ UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING PRACTICES FROM THE NEXT GENERATIONS SCIENCE STANDARDS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
During the first half of the PD, teachers investigated the following socio-scientific issue: To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities? Teachers also investigated the following scientific problem: To what extent are coastal communities at risk due to climate change? During this activity, teachers modeled the diverse ways in which scientists conduct their work (e.g. scientific practices). For instance, to respond to the above question(s), teachers were required to collect multiple lines of evidence (e.g. melting of terrestrial-based ice sheets) to construct working hypotheses (e.g., sea-level will rise 5 meters over the next 50 years). Teachers also investigated the costs of rebuilding in order to respond to the socio-scientific issue.
During the last half of the PD, teachers investigated solutions to mitigate the amount of CO2that is emitted into the atmosphere. Employing engineering practices can solve these real-world global problems. For instance, teachers constructed possible solutions to develop more efficient wind turbines in order to reduce our reliance of burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity. This activity utilized the problem-based learning (PBL) instructional method. Teachers brainstormed possible solutions to the problem, researched the problem, and decided on the best solution to construct a better turbine (e.g. redesigning wind-turbine blades). Teachers constructed and tested their turbine, too.
To assess teachers’ content knowledge, they took two content pre- and post-tests and created their own STEM unit that embedded both scientific and engineering practices. The design of this research project and the outcomes from this study will be shared.