South-Central Section - 47th Annual Meeting (4-5 April 2013)

Paper No. 1-11
Presentation Time: 11:30 AM


HADDAD, Nick1, ELLINS, Katherine K.2, LEDLEY, Tamara1, MCNEAL, Karen S.3 and LIBARKIN, Julie C.4, (1)TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140, (2)Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Rd., Bldg. 196, Austin, TX 78758, (3)Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762, (4)Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, 288 Farm Ln, 206 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115,

The EarthLabs climate literacy project is an NSF-funded (DRK-12) project that includes curriculum development, teacher professional development, teacher leadership development, and research on student learning, all directed at high school teachers and students. The project’s evaluation efforts inform and guide all major components of the project. The research effort addresses the question of what interventions are most effective in helping high school students grasp the complexities of the Earth system and climate processes, which occur over a range of spatial and temporal scales.

The curriculum component includes three distinct but related Web-based modules: Climate and the Cryosphere; Climate, Weather, and the Biosphere; and Climate and the Carbon Cycle. Key climate related themes that cut across all three modules include: the Earth system, with the complexities of its positive and negative feedback loops; the range of temporal and spatial scales at which climate, weather, and other Earth system processes occur; and the recurring question, “How do we know what we know about Earth’s past and present climate?” which introduces students to proxy data, scientific instrumentation, and modeling.

The professional development component of the project, which is the focus of this presentation, includes: a Web site with extensive background information and selected climate science resources for classroom teachers; a summer workshop that introduces high school teachers to the three climate modules; a system for developing the teacher leaders who plan and implement those summer workshops; and special efforts to promote the professional growth of teacher leaders who can support climate education beyond the boundaries of the project.