GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 40-2
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


BEAN, Jessica R.1, MITCHELL, Kristen1, ZOEHFELD, Kathleen1 and WHITE, Lisa D.2, (1)Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, (2)University of California, Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, CA 94720-4780,

Teaching students about climate and environmental changes of the past and present is one of the most daunting communication and pedagogical challenges for the science education community. Fortunately, many of the interdisciplinary science concepts fundamental to understanding the causes and consequences of global changes are embedded in the performance expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards. The Understanding Global Change web resource from the UC Museum of Paleontology will provide science educators with a conceptual framework, graphical models, lessons, and assessment templates for teaching integrated NGSS curricula, unified by the overarching theme of global change topics.

To comprehend changes in the Earth system today and those that occurred in the past, students must understand the various factors that drive global change and also how they interrelate. Implementation of the NGSS also requires that the connections among the four domains of science (physical science, life sciences, Earth and space science, and engineering) be emphasized throughout instruction and assessment. Although educational modules exist that allow students to explore Earth system processes and global change, they are rarely connected causally or presented within a common format and context. The Understanding Global Change site will provide explicit conceptual links for causes of global change (e.g., burning of fossil fuels, volcanism), Earth system processes (e.g., Earth’s energy budget, ocean circulation), and the changes scientists measure in the Earth system (e.g., temperature, species ranges). The conceptual links among topics are diagramed in a series of storyboards that visually represent interdependencies and feedbacks in the Earth system and provide teachers with guides for sequencing NGSS-aligned instructional units. These resources are being tested and piloted with teachers through professional development programs in the San Francisco Bay Area and at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.