Paper No. 311-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM
USING MSI-REACH OCEAN SEDIMENT AND SCHOOL OF ICE WORKSHOPS ON RECONSTRUCTING EARTH'S CLIMATE HISTORY LAB TOOLS FOR UNDERGRADUATE CLIMATE EDUCATION
Lab-centered teaching is an integral part of the Climatology course taught at Delaware State University. The study by Freeman et al. (2013) compared student performance in undergraduate STEM courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. They found, for the class size less than 50, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies). Climatology course is offered as a junior level elective to both majors and non-majors and average class size ranges from 9 to 15 students. Four lessons– two from the Ice Cores and Climate Change and two from the MSI-REaCH Reconstructing Earth’s Climate History workshops were used as inquiry-based lab exercises to demonstrate how paleoclimate records are used to reconstruct past climate data. The first lab activity, entitled Ice Core Research, was adapted from the lab “Exploring the History of Climate Change” in Climate Change: A Wisconsin Activity Guide. Students discovered what historical information scientists can obtain about climate from ice cores. In the second lab, students discovered how the deuterium/ protium isotope ratio, a paleoproxy for temperature in ice cores is used to learn about climate information from the past via isotopic fractionation of the hydrogen isotopes (1H and 2H) in water molecules. Students gained further knowledge on use of paleoproxy data and on isotopic fractionation by focusing on the isotopes of oxygen (16O and 18O) in water molecules. Those lessons were adapted from the book “Reconstructing Earth’s Climate History – Inquiry-Based Exercises for Lab and Class” by John et al. (2012). Students engaged in the interactive lesson “Exploring Marine Sediments Using Google Earth”. Course assessment followed by the lectures and laboratory activities to monitor students’ knowledge and understanding of the materials covered in the class through the use of a Google forms survey. This form of assessment gave immediate feedback on student comprehension of the concept, and allowed for re-teaching of a particular topic or remedial tutoring with a student. Assessments showed that these lab-centered teaching activities engaged students and enhanced their understanding of how historical ice core and marine sediment data are used to demonstrate the existence of, and rate of climate change.