Climate Change Learning Studios: Teaming up for Global Climate Change Literacy

Jeffery Dilks

National Commission on Teaching

The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), in partnership with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Howard County Public Schools, will develop Global Climate Change Learning Studios to improve teaching and learning related to climate change. The project will address several goals of the Innovations in Global Climate Change Education program: long term educator professional development, utilizing curricular resources, and improving student knowledge and engagement regarding Global Climate Change. The Global Climate Change Learning Studios will bring together teams of STEM teachers and NASA Goddard scientists and engineers to work in four high schools and their feeder middle schools with high percentages of minority students and those underrepresented in STEM careers. The interdisciplinary teams of teachers and scientists will call upon their members' diverse skills, backgrounds and life experiences to integrate data collection, tools, images, research, and cutting-edge discoveries drawn from NASA missions and GCCE projects into Climate Change Learning Challenges.

The initiative will launch with 6 schools in Year 1 (4 high schools and 2 feeder middle schools), then expand to 8 schools in Year 2 and 10 schools in Year 3. The project builds on an effective model, funded by a 2009 NASA K12 Cooperative Agreement Notice, in which interdisciplinary teams of high school teachers (including earth science, biology, physics, environmental science, algebra, computer science, technology, and special education teachers) work with NASA Goddard scientists to create quarterly project-based learning earth science modules. Past modules have addressed topics including plate tectonics, weather systems, earthquakes, and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Climate change has emerged as a consistent theme in our current Studios and a powerful real-world issue that has increased student engagement across the STEM curriculum. We will build on this foundation as the initiative grows, extending the reach to middle schools.

The Global Climate Change Learning Studios project will be coordinated by NCTAF, a nonprofit (501c3) organization with a long record of working with high need school districts and schools. NCTAF's highly qualified Principal Investigator is a former secondary school science teacher, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator and has years of experience in STEM industry and government. Co-Investigators are the Coordinator of Earth Science Education and the Assistant Director of Science for Communications at Goddard. Together they will work with teacher teams to embed powerful applications of NASA's unique contributions to climate and Earth Systems Science -- including NASA earth observation data, system models and simulations -- in compelling learning projects they develop for their students. This project is innovative in three critical ways that support NASA goals. It provides long-term embedded professional development for interdisciplinary teams of teachers; engages NASA scientists and other climate change experts in local schools; and uses NASA resources to create project-based learning activities that build knowledge, skills, and interest in climate change among underserved, minority high school and middle school students.

Funding agency NASA

Award Numbers NNX11AM22A

Selection Year:

Award Period:
9/1/2011 - 9/30/2014