Principal Investigators: Brian Drayton and Gilly Puttick

Funder: National Science Foundation (DRL-1417202)

TERC and the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences are developing and testing an education partnership model for climate change education that features inquiry-oriented and place-based learning. Curriculum development will begin with a prototype program developed in prior years, and use a design-based implementation research (DBIR) approach to transform this exemplar into a model that can be more widely used by scientist-school partnerships.  The program will enable middle school students and teachers to compare data they collect on local transects with scientists' data about biological indicators of climate change. The curriculum materials will relate these local data to the broader science of climate change, and engage the students with key science practices in the field and the classroom.

The project is innovative in linking direct exploration of current, local conditions with data sets from current and historical research to examine changes in natural phenomena whose meaning emerges from the long-term data. Components of the model being developed will include:

  1. a standards-aligned curriculum;
  2. field and lab activities that engage students in collecting and analyzing data on local biotic and abiotic indicators of climate change;
  3. integration with a current climate science research program;
  4. support materials for teachers and scientists (print and electronic) and a digital teacher professional development program; and
  5. a project Website.

During each year of the study, specific barriers to implementation of this mode will be addressed, and strategies to overcome these barriers will be tested. The findings of this project have the potential to enrich middle-school science education, and to engage students and teachers in the urgent science of climate change — in their own backyard and around the world.