GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 186-11
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


LECKEY, Erin H.1, GOLD, Anne1, WISE, Sarah2, LITTRELL-BAEZ, Megan1, LYNDS, Susan1, OONK, David1, SMITH, Lesley1, COZZETTO, Karen3, ALWEIS, Dick4, FORSYTH, Stacey5 and CARPENTER, Eric5, (1)Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, (2)Arts and Sciences Support Through Technology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, (3)Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, (4)Colorado Film School, Denver, CO 80230, (5)CU Science Discovery, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309,

Climate change is an important societal challenge, yet many students have difficulty understanding its relevance to their lives. The Lens on Climate Change program (LOCC) engages middle and high school students in producing short films about climate change topics affecting their communities in Colorado and New MexicoProgram participants attend either a week-long summer program or an after-school program during the school year. Participants are recruited from rural, suburban and urban communities, and represent a range of diverse backgrounds.   

The LOCC program engages students in self-directed research about a climate topic of their choice. Students participate in all aspects of filming and editing. The program culminates in a public screening where students present their films and answer questionsUndergraduate and graduate student mentors from the University of Colorado and the Colorado Film School assist students in their research and film production. These mentors act as role models and can thus spark students’ interest in a career in science and technology and possibly serve as guides to college engagement.   

A rigorous research design aims to understand whether filmmaking is an effective tool to spark and sustain student interest in STEM and technology fields. Survey, focus group and interview data are collected from participating students, mentors and teachers to examine the relative importance of key components of the program in achieving the research goalsPreliminary data from summer 2016 indicate that involvement in the project helped students to gain confidence in themselves and increased their interest in communicating potential future impacts of climate change to their communities.