CLEAN Teleconference Call December 19, 2017

[reuse info]
Provenance: Daniela Pennycook, University of Colorado at Boulder
Reuse: This item is in the public domain and maybe reused freely without restriction.

High School Students' Climate Literacy through Epistemology of Scientific Modeling

Abstract: Climate education efforts in formal learning environments have traditionally emphasized students' conceptual understanding about climate concepts. These efforts have been successful in developing students' factual knowledge about the phenomenon (i.e. they know that Earth's average global temperatures have shown an increase). However, students still often do not describe causation (why the temperatures are increasing) and/or correlation (describing what other factors might influence global temperatures) in their explanations about changing climate. Through a recently funded 4-year, mixed-methods, design-based NSF project, we aim to engage students in learning about climate systems by developing their epistemic understanding about climate science, particularly climate modeling. We do so by using a simple global climate model toolkit called EzGCM and by emphasizing that as students explore the fundamentals of Earth's changing climate, they engage in epistemological reasoning through the use of EzGCM. In our presentation, we will share more information about the objectives and scope of the project, the pilot program with Lincoln Public Schools to use EzGCM in secondary science classrooms, and project research on intended outcomes regarding students' learning and understanding.


Dr. Cory Forbes is an Associate Professor of Science Education in the UNL School of Natural Resources and College of Education and Human Sciences and Director of the National Collaborative for Food, Energy, & Water Education. Forbes holds a B.S. in Ecology and M.S. in Science Education from the University of Kansas and an M.S. in Natural Resources and Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Michigan. His teaching and research efforts focus on STEM education and education research in K-16 contexts, with a particular emphasis on teaching and learning about food, energy, and water. He directs multiple externally-funded projects involving STEM curriculum development, assessment design and testing, professional development for K-12 STEM teachers and postsecondary STEM faculty, and classroom-based research on STEM teaching and learning that are based in regional, national, and international partnerships with education researchers, STEM faculty, K-12 teachers, and stakeholders. Over the past 10 years, he has secured over $3.5M in external funding and led eight externally-funded research and development projects, contributed to 40+ publications and over 90 conference presentations, mentored 15 graduate students, taught 350+ preservice teachers, 150+ practicing teachers, and 500+ undergraduate students, and impacted thousands of K-12 students. In 2014, Forbes was awarded the Early Career Research Award by the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

Dr. Devarati Bhattacharya is a K-16 STEM Education Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska. Her work focuses on advancing the understanding of the Anthropocene among teachers through STEM curriculum, teacher education and professional development, and education research. Bhattacharya recently completed her Ph.D. in science education, building upon her background in environmental science and ecology. These projects paved the way for her doctoral work with the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota. Focused on secondary science teachers' conceptual understanding of global climate change, this work revealed the importance of epistemological reasoning and that the development of conceptual understanding by itself was not sufficient for understanding a complex natural phenomenon like global climate change. In addition to her work in climate literacy, she has significant experience and expertise with STEM curriculum development and teacher professional development, both of which were crucial elements of multiple scientist-educator partnership projects to which she has contributed. Advancing this experience under the mentorship of Dr. Cory Forbes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Bhattacharya is working to engage students in scientific modeling to foster their conceptual and epistemological understanding about the Earth's climate.

Dr. Mark Chandler is a climate scientist at Columbia University and a member of NASA's global climate modeling and analysis team at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. In his research he uses computer climate models to study Earth's past and future climates, with a focus on extreme climates in Earth history. His projects span a wide range of climate study from the effects of future climate change on Earth to the search for habitable planets in other solar systems. Dr. Chandler is also director of the Educational Global Climate Modeling project (EdGCM), a program that develops computational tools to make NASA's global climate models more accessible to educators and students. EdGCM software is used in over 200 institutions worldwide, including at universities, museums and in online courses. In the past decade he has taught dozens of professional development workshops, helping instruct over one thousand K-12 teachers about climate modeling. Dr. Chandler has been a principal investigator on more than 20 awards from NASA, NSF, NOAA, and USGS and he is a co-founder of the Center for Climate Systems Research a cooperative program between Columbia University and NASA/GISS since 1993.

Email list archive Join the CLEAN Network

Recent and upcoming CLEAN Network telecon topics and speakers »

Return to the CLEAN Network home page »

CLEAN CollectionTeaching about Climate and Energy