Climate change education is a current priority both of the National Science Foundation and of our nation. We must prepare “a new generation of climate scientists, engineers, and technicians equipped to provide innovative and creative approaches to understanding global climate change and to mitigate its impact.” In addition, “we must prepare today’s U.S. citizens to understand global climate change and its implications.”(1) An important component of preparing both scientists and other citizens in understanding global climate change and its implications is the development of the capability to make reasoned socio-scientific arguments based on the knowledge that they have and effective analysis and interpretation of information and data. Attention to the specific impact of curricular materials on the development of student socio-scientific argumentation skills is therefore a key ingredient in climate change education.
We propose to develop a suite of in-class, group learning activities for climate change education that can be used in a variety of instructional contexts at the first –year college level. These twelve activities will be constructed using the Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) model, an approach that is based on research on how students learn best, and has been successfully implemented in a range of other contexts. Although the activities will be adaptable for use in a range of courses, we will focus on the implementation in general chemistry courses for science majors. We will use the presentation of environmental issues in Chemistry in Context as a model. In this way, this proposal leverages two successful national curriculum efforts exactly to the purposes described above. The activities will be useful both for science and for non-science majors, seeking to engage first-year students in learning about climate change using high-impact classroom practices that foster student learning: learning in context, active learning, and group-based learning. We will also examine student discourse in these classrooms, both as a means to refine and improve the activities, but also to transform climate change education by providing a model for the development of socio-scientific argumentation skills that builds directly from scientific argumentation itself.
Specifically, the goals of this project are:
1) to create a set of classroom activities for teaching climate change and the underlying chemistry; and
2) to use the analysis of student discourse to inform revisions of the activities so that they promote both the development of scientific concepts and substantive discussion of related socio-economic and environmental issues.
Daniel King (Drexel University)
Karen Anderson (Madison College)
Doug Latch (Seattle University)
Jennifer Lewis (University of South Florida)
Susan Sutheimer (Green Mountain College)
Gail Webster (Guilford College)