Contact Person: Bourassa, Mark

Collaborators: J. Carlson, S.R. Smith

Institutions: Florida State University, University of South Florida

Funding Agency: NASA

Start: June 2010    End: May 2013

Status: Funded

Filed Under: Climate SciencesEducation

Abstract: The overall goal of this three-year project is to increase teacher content knowledge in global climate change and provide pedagogical training to enable teachers to stimulate student's interest in and learning about climate change. Teachers will learn to use and practice using resources available through NASA and elsewhere to incorporate global climate change education in the classroom.The project includes one year of developing programs and two years of sustained professional development (PD) for middle-school science teachers. Two cohorts, each composed of 15-18 middle-school science teachers, will be selected from three Florida school districts with high proportions of students from groups historically underrepresented in science and technology career fields - Hillsborough, Polk, and Volusia. At the outset of the project, student focus groups will be presented with current topics in climate change and asked to identify content that interests them to be included in the teacher workshops. A PD panel consisting of climate scientists and educators will meet several times during the first year to develop the teacher PD. The panel will review available climate literacy frameworks, consider student input, select materials for inclusion in the PD, develop specifications for additional resources, and design a year-long program for teachers. The PD content will include local and regional topics to stimulate interest in climate change topics for both the teachers and their students.Selected PD panel members and experts identified by school districts will participate in coach training and later serve as coaches for teacher participants. The program will be ongoing throughout the school year to maximize teachers' ability to apply their new learning in the classroom. Teachers will participate in three face-to-face workshops, ongoing coaching, and online interactive training and communication throughout the academic year. Climate scientists and science education faculty members will provide the training and online communications. The evaluation will provide formative information for enhancing program effectiveness during the life of the project and alert project staff to any issues that need resolution early in its design and throughout implementation. It will assess the degree to which the primary objectives of the project are attained and the degree of value added by the project. Plans will be prepared for continuing the program in school districts through a teach-the-teacher and coaching model.