Earth Science

An Innovative Approach to Earth Science Teacher Preparation: Uniting Science, Informal Science Education, and Schools to Raise Student Achievement

Teaching Science Teachers [Video file]. (2013, December 15). Retrived from http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/100000002602875/teaching-science-te...

Author/Presenter: 
Chris Cascarano
Snigdha Koirala
Year: 
2013
Short Description: 

The American Museum of Natural History is offering a master's degree in teaching, part of a broad national campaign to add 100,000 science, technology and math teachers by 2021

Constructing Scientific Arguments Using Evidence from Dynamic Computational Climate Models

Pallant, A., & Lee H.-S. (2015). Constructing scientific arguments using evidence from dynamic computational climate models. Journal of Science Education and Technology. 24 (2-3) 378-395. doi 10.1007/s10956-014-9499-3.

Author/Presenter: 
Amy Pallant
Hee-Sun Lee
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2014
Short Description: 

Modeling and argumentation are two important scientific practices students need to develop throughout school years. In this paper, we investigated how middle and high school students (N=512) construct a scientific argument based on evidence from computational models with which they simulated climate change. We designed scientific argumentation tasks with three increasingly complex dynamic climate models. Each scientific argumentation task consisted of four parts: multiple-choice claim, open ended explanation, five-point Likert scale uncertainty rating, and open-ended uncertainty rationale.
We coded 1,294 scientific arguments in terms of a claim’s consistency with current scientific consensus, whether explanations were model based or knowledge based and categorized the sources of uncertainty (personal vs. scientific). We used chi-square and ANOVA tests to identify significant patterns. Results indicate that (1) a majority of students incorporated models as evidence to support their claims, (2) most students used model output results shown on graphs to confirm their claim rather than to explain simulated molecular processes, (3) students’ dependence on model results and their uncertainty rating diminished as the dynamic climate models became more and more complex, (4) some students’ misconceptions interfered with observing and interpreting model results or simulated processes, and (5) students’ uncertainty sources reflected more frequently on their assessment of personal knowledge or abilities related to the tasks than on their critical examination of scientific evidence resulting from models. These findings have implications for teaching and research related to the integration of scientific argumentation and modeling practices to address complex Earth systems.

Assessment of uncertainty-infused scientific argumentation

Lee, H-S, Liu, O.L, Pallant, A., Roohr, K. C., Pryputniewicz, S., & Buck, Z. (2014). Assessment of uncertainty-infused scientific argumentation. The Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 51(5), 581-605.

Author/Presenter: 
Hee-Sun Lee
Lydia Liu
Amy Pallant
Katrina Crotts Roohr
Sarah Pryputniewicz
Zoë E. Buck
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2014
Short Description: 

Though addressing sources of uncertainty is an important part of doing science, it has largely been neglected in assessing students' scientific argumentation. In this study, we initially defined a scientific argumentation construct in four structural elements consisting of claim, justification, uncertainty qualifier, and uncertainty rationale. We consulted literature to characterize and score different levels of student performances on each of these four argumentation elements. We designed a test comprised of nine scientific argumentation tasks addressing climate change, the search for life in space, and fresh water availability and administered it to 473 students from 9 high schools in the United States. After testing the local dependence and unidimensionality assumptions, we found that the uncertainty qualifier element was not aligned with the other three. After removing items related to uncertainty qualifier, we applied a Rasch analysis based on a Partial Credit Model. Results indicate that (1) claim, justification, and uncertainty rationale items form a unidimensional scale, (2) justification and uncertainty rationale items contribute the most on the unidimensional scientific argumentation scale as they cover much wider ranges of the scale than claim items, (3) average item difficulties increase in the order of claim, justification, and uncertainty rationale, (4) students' elaboration of uncertainty exhibits dual characteristics: self-assessment of their own knowledge and ability versus scientific assessment of conceptual and empirical errors embedded in investigations, and (5) students who can make warrants between theory and evidence are more likely to think about uncertainty from scientific sources than those who cannot. We identified limitations of this study in terms of science topic coverage and sample selection and made suggestions on how these limitations might have affected results and interpretations.

Earth Educators’ Rendezvous

Event Date: 
Mon, 07/18/2016 - 8:00am to Fri, 07/22/2016 - 4:00pm

Overview: Join us for the second annual Earth Educators' Rendezvous. Last year's inaugural event brought together researchers and practitioners working in all aspects of undergraduate Earth education. This year we will be expanding our audience to welcome a mix of college faculty, graduate students, and K-12 teachers from all disciplines who are interested in improving their teaching about Earth. Read more

Key Dates:

Event Type: 

Examining the Enactment of Web GIS on Students' Geospatial Thinking and Reasoning and Tectonics Understandings

Geospatially enabled learning technologies may enhance Earth science learning by placing emphasis on geographic space, visualization, scale, representation, and geospatial thinking and reasoning (GTR) skills. This study examined if and how a series of Web geographic information system investigations that the researchers developed improved urban middle-school learners’ GTR skills and their understanding of tectonics concepts.

Author/Presenter: 
Alec M. Bodzin
Qiong Fu
Denise Bressler
Farah L. Vallera
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2015

Moving Toward Collective Impact on Climate and Global Change Education

Day: 
Tues

Participants discuss and identify what coordination is needed across DR K12 efforts to enable sustained collective impact on the issues presented by climate, global, and environmental change.

Date/Time: 
1:45 pm to 3:45 pm
2014 Session Types: 
Collaborative Panel Session
Session Materials: 

DR K12 projects have been funded to conduct (1) activities and develop materials that are beneficial to the STEM education community (teachers and students) and (2) education research to ensure continuous improvement of these activities and materials.

Using Life Cycle Data to Help Teachers Understand Key Energy Concepts

Day: 
Tues

Participants engage in and provide feedback on digital interactive learning experiences that use National Renewable Energy Laboratory life cycle data and help teachers understand key energy concepts. Please bring your laptop.

Date/Time: 
9:45 am to 11:45 am
2014 Session Types: 
Feedback Session (Work in Development)
Session Materials: 

Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and project partners are developing an online course for high school science teachers. The purpose of the course is to help teachers understand key energy concepts in alternative energy contexts. The course includes three interactive learning experiences (interactives) that use life cycle data from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).

Ocean Tracks: Bringing Large-Scale Marine Science Data to and Beyond the Classroom

Day: 
Tues

Participants engage in marine data investigations using the Ocean Tracks Web interface and analysis tools, offer feedback, and discuss possible synergies with other DR K12 programs.

Date/Time: 
9:45 am to 11:45 am
2014 Session Types: 
Feedback Session (Work in Post-development)
Session Materials: 

Digital, large-scale scientific data have become broadly available in recent decades, and analyzing data, identifying patterns, and extracting useful information have become gateway skills to full participation in the 21st century workforce. Yet, pre-college classrooms are falling short in preparing students for this world and are missing opportunities to harness the power of Big Data to engage students in scientific learning. To address this issue, scientists, educators, and researchers at Education Development Center, Inc.

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