Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

Arctic Climate Connections Curriculum: A Model for Bringing Authentic Data into the Classroom

Academic journal article Journal of Geoscience Education

Arctic Climate Connections Curriculum: A Model for Bringing Authentic Data into the Classroom

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

As human activities touch Earth's dynamic systems with an increasingly large footprint, the need for robust scientific literacy among the citizenry is becoming ever more urgent. This is particularly true with regard to climate science (Ledley et al., 2014; Melillo et al., 2014; Petes and Hubbard, 2014). Ideally, scientists and educators work together to translate new research findings into common knowledge (Handelsman et al., 2004; Scotchmoor et al., 2005). Thus, funding agencies require scientists to make their findings and data publically available. The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Broader Impacts criteria are an essential part of scientific research projects (NSF, 2015a). However, broadening the impact of science research beyond the scientific community can be difficult for researchers. Using teams of both researchers and science educators has been shown to be an effective strategy to collaboratively develop and disseminate relevant learning materials for students and citizens (Ledley et al., 2008, 2011, 2012; Bodzin et al., 2014; Houseal et al., 2014). Educators form the critical link from the scientists to learners in building science literacy (Dupigny-Giroux, 2010).

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) help frame geoscience education by stressing a three-dimensional approach for teaching content knowledge, scientific practices, and cross-disciplinary concepts. By integrating all three dimensions into the curriculum design process, educators can create materials that foster students' critical thinking skills and develop scientific habits of mind. Ideally, geoscience content knowledge and observations of geologic processes can be combined to develop a coherent mental framework that allows students to reason about Earth (Kastens and Manduca, 2012). In addition to content knowledge, students need to develop an understanding of how scientists know what they know (Hannula, 2003; Laursen and Brickley, 2011). While the scientific practices may differ slightly among the geoscience subdisciplines (Manduca et al., 2002; Manduca and Kastens, 2012), all follow a common scientific process (Hannula, 2003). The controversial and contentious debates around topics like evolution and climate science are often mired in misconceptions about the nature of science and the scientific process (Carter and Wiles, 2014). Therefore, educational materials around climate change topics need to clearly describe how scientists acquire data. A scientifically literate person also holds basic quantitative reasoning skills (Macdonald et al., 2000; Hancock and Manduca, 2005; Manduca et al., 2008). In order to build quantitative skills and to develop students' understanding of scientific results, learners need experience with the analysis, description, and interpretation of data (Handelsman et al., 2004). Finally, geoscience disciplines require students to orient observed phenomena and processes in space and time and apply cross-disciplinary scientific concepts-referred to as crosscutting concepts by NGSS.

Despite calls to strengthen students' quantitative skills (Manduca and Mogk, 2003; Ledley et al., 2008; Taber et al., 2012), the use of authentic, minimally processed scientific data in K-12 classrooms is rare. Some geoscience education programs successfully engage students in working with authentic data (Means, 1998; Ledley et al., 2012; Ellwein et al., 2014), but often students are not introduced to unprocessed numerical data until postsecondary education.

Here, we describe a high school curriculum that was developed using a three-way collaborative process. Research scientists provided their data and supporting information to a team of curriculum developers. The curriculum development team designed three instructional models, with input from the scientists. Lastly, classroom educators were brought into the process to review and test the instructional materials. This process yielded a well-rounded curriculum that highlights the use of authentic scientific data in a way that is accessible to high school students. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.