Northeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (23–25 March 2015)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


HANSELMAN, Jennifer, Biology Department, Westfield State University, 577 Western Ave., Westfield, MA, SLIKO, Jennifer, School of Science, Engineering, and Technology, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, PA 17057, OCHES, Eric, Department of Natural & Applied Sciences, Bentley University, 175 Forest St, Waltham, MA 02452 and WRIGHT, Laura, Cullowhee, NC 28723,

Westfield State University boasts highly respected education programs for K-12 teachers, including in the STEM fields. The recently adopted Next Generation Science Standards encourage educators to use a scaffolding approach to increase student understanding of scientific concepts. This philosophy should encourage inquiry-based teaching methods, provided the teacher has both the knowledge and the confidence to teach the content. Although confidence to teach science is high amongst secondary science (biology, general science, chemistry) teachers, depth of knowledge may be lacking in certain areas, including climate science. To address this issue, a graduate course in climate science was developed to include inquiry-based instruction, connections to current research, and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching science. With the support of the InTeGrate program (SERC) at Carleton College, a module was developed to utilize cli-fi (climate science present in fictional literature) and related climate data. Graduate students gain an appreciation of scientific communication, an understanding of climate data, and its connection to societal issues. The graduate students then gain the confidence to teach climate science effectively in his or her classroom and the ability to connect interdisciplinary concepts and prepare the students for standardized testing.