CLN > Climate Change Education Projects > Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle: An Earth Systems Approach to Increasing Elementary Teachers' Understanding of Climate and Climate Change

Beyond the Water Cycle Logo for CLN project

Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle: An Earth Systems Approach to Increasing Elementary Teachers' Understanding of Climate and Climate Change

Principal Investigators: Kimberly Lightle, The Ohio State University
Project Website: http://beyondweather.ehe.osu.edu
National Science Foundation Grant # 1034922

Project Description

Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle is an online professional development magazine which focuses on preparing elementary teachers to teach climate science concepts while also integrating inquiry-based science and literacy instruction. The project draws on research showing that an integrated approach can improve student achievement in science, as well as in reading comprehension and oral and written discourse abilities. Through the Beyond Weather and Water Cycle project, we propose to increase elementary teachers' understanding of climate and climate change, increase the amount and quality of science taught in elementary classrooms, and build a virtual professional learning community of practice around the teaching of climate and climate change. These goals will be accomplished by contextualizing and adapting existing developmentally-appropriate digital resources delivered through an online magazine format including differentiated, engaging informational texts; developing an online climate literacy course for elementary teachers; and utilizing Web 2.0 tools to provide interactive experiences and to facilitate virtual, collaborative professional development. Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle is modeled on an award-winning NSF-funded project Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: Integrating Literacy and Science in K-5 Classrooms.

Structured around the seven essential principles of climate literacy, instructional and professional resources will take elementary teachers and their students past the superficial understanding and teaching of weather and the water cycle to a solid understanding of climate. An interdisciplinary approach will foster an understanding of Earth (and its climate) as a system of interconnected parts. By improving elementary teachers' understanding of climate science and change through an Earth systems approach, we are effectively preparing our youngest students to study and shape climate policy in the future.

Contact Information:

Jessica Fries-Gaither
fries-gaither.1 AT osu.edu
(614) 247-7893

Location graphic

See more Climate Change Education Projects »