GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 253-9
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM


MA, Ankun1, VAN DER FLIER KELLER, Eileen1, ZANDVLIET, David2 and CAMERON, Kevin1, (1)Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada, (2)Department of Education, Simon Fraser University, 250-13450 102 Ave, Surrey, BC V3T 0A3, Canada

In 2016, the British Columbia Science Curriculum for schools was updated HYPERLINK "" to be concept-based and competency driven. Recognizing the importance of interdisciplinarity, indigenous knowledge and effective pedagogical implementation, Earth Sciences and Education at Simon Fraser University are collaborating to incorporate Earth science into an Environmental Education course (EDU452) for pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers. Researchers in the past have demonstrated the advantages of teaching science courses using innovative pedagogies. This course, through inquiry, constructivist and place-based learning, seeks to establish connections to place, increase awareness of environmental issues, and empower students to effectively teach about the environment. The action research examines the effectiveness of the redesigned EDU452 and evaluates the pedagogies adopted for incorporating Earth science using pre and post course surveys, interviews and field observations. The research consists of two pilots with 52 participants in summer 2018 and 2019. Earth science topics including natural hazards, Earth processes, geological history and resources were merged into three of the six course modules. Data acquired from the first pilot were used to modify the course curriculum and surveys for the second pilot. The constructivist and place-based approaches received an overall positive feedback, while inquiry learning responses varied, depending on, for example, student backgrounds, learning preferences, and the complexity of concepts. The field observations suggested that larger group size improved the inquiry process by allowing more opportunities for discussion and exchange of ideas. Introducing Earth science knowledge prior to the environmental content consolidates the negotiating process. The course has had a positive influence on student learning attitude, learning interest and confidence in teaching Earth science. The triangulation between the interviews and quantitative data indicated that the positive impacts may be due to an increase in recognition that Earth science is relevant and fundamental.