2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 183-4
Presentation Time: 8:50 AM


ELLINS, Katherine K.1, LEDLEY, Tamara2, MCNEAL, Karen S.3, HADDAD, Nick2, LIBARKIN, Julie C.4, BARDAR, Erin2, YOUNGMAN, Betsy2, DUNLAP, Candace2, LOCKWOOD, Jeff5 and MOTE, Alison6, (1)Office of Outreach and Diversity, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, 10100 Burnet Rd., Bldg. 196, Austin, TX 78758, (2)TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140, (3)Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, (4)Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, 288 Farm Ln, 206 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115, (5)Center for Science Teaching and Learning, TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140, (6)Austin Independent School District, The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, 2206 Prather Lane, Austin, TX 78704, Tamara_Ledley@terc.edu

The EarthLabs Climate Series is a set of four distinct but related high school curriculum modules that help build student and teacher understanding of our planet’s complex climate system. The web-based, freely available curriculum modules include a rich set of resources for teachers, and are tied together by a common set of climate related themes that include: 1) the Earth system with the complexities of its positive and negative feedback loops; 2) the range of temporal and spatial scales at which climate, weather, and other Earth system processes occur; and 3) the recurring question, “How do we know what we know about Earth’s past and present climate?” which addresses proxy data and scientific instrumentation. The four modules (Climate and the Cryosphere; Climate and the Biosphere; Climate and the Carbon Cycle; and Climate Detectives) approach climate change from different contexts, and have provided teachers of biology, chemistry, marine science, environmental science, and Earth science with opportunities to address climate science by selecting a module that best supplements the content of their particular course.

We have assessed over 500 students to examine the impact of the EarthLabs modules on student understanding of the Earth as a system that changes over time and space, as well as their affective perspectives on climate science and confidence in their understanding. Early results indicate that student had pre-post gains on most of the content-based questions ranging from 2%-42%; and significant gains on the affective questions addressing knowledge, awareness, and information about Earth’s climate system and on their confidence in their answers.

This presentation will highlight the four curriculum modules in the Climate Series, the multiple pathways they offer teachers for introducing climate science into their existing courses, the preliminary research results exploring the modules impact and how that research contributed to the improvement and refinement of the EarthLabs modules.

  • The EarthLabs Climate Series - GSA 2015.pptx (15.1 MB)