This RAPID project responds to the Buffalo blizzard of 2022 (Buffalo, NY) by developing, with and for the community, a science education curriculum framework focused on disaster justice and resilience. This project will document the science education human and social impact of the blizzard by capturing the experiences, reflections, and needs of science teachers, Black and Brown community leaders, and families who were directly affected.
Co-developing a Community-based Science Education Curriculum Framework for Disaster Justice and Resilience: A Response to the 2022 Buffalo Blizzard
This RAPID project responds to the Buffalo blizzard of 2022 (Buffalo, NY) by developing, with and for the community, a science education curriculum framework focused on disaster justice and resilience. This project will document the science education human and social impact of the blizzard by capturing the experiences, reflections, and needs of science teachers, Black and Brown community leaders, and families who were directly affected. This project is important for two main reasons. First, this extreme weather event exposed persistent economic and social injustices, as well as racial and class divides that place marginalized populations at a greater risk during extreme weather events. Second, the blizzard exposed glaring gaps in disaster education, and specifically disaster risk, reduction, and resilience in science education in the US. To address these gaps, the team will document the experiences, reflections, and needs of the Buffalo community. Also, the team will work with the community to develop a science education framework that will inform formal and informal community-based disaster justice and resilience in Buffalo and beyond. Findings from this project will be shared in the science education and climate justice spaces, and via community-designed forums and panels, and through multimodal media. Overall, this project will inform justice-oriented science education as well as disaster preparation and resilience that center the voices and humanity of those who are most vulnerable and impacted by disasters.
This proposed work is framed by understandings of disaster resilience and disaster justice to promote science education for social justice in response to the Buffalo blizzard. Understanding the process of recovery after a disaster is critical to building resilience to future disasters. The role of education in building disaster resilience is critical, as emphasized by the U.N. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. This RAPID project has three main objectives: First, the team will conduct interviews with science teachers, community leaders, and families to document their experiences and reflections on the Buffalo blizzard in relation to weather and climate curriculum and instructional approaches and needs; community approaches to preparedness and needs, family needs, school support, and resources; cultural and racial impacts of climate-related disasters (in terms of loss of life and geographical impacts); and justice/injustice, resilience, and emotions. Second, the team will convene a coalition of science teachers, community leaders, families, science education researchers and scientists to discuss key findings from the interviews and identify overarching themes. Third, the team will develop guidelines for a science education curriculum framework on disaster justice and resilience for use in/out of school, co-developed with people who were directly impacted by the Buffalo blizzard. A social design-based experiment (SDBE) approach will guide this project. This iterative approach is appropriate for addressing urgent problems that impact vulnerable students and communities. The core principles of SDBE relevant to this project focus on history and historicity; the bringing of the past into the present; the use of a dynamic model of culture; an emphasis on resilience and change; and an end goal of transformation and sustainability. The main data sources are individual semi-structured interviews, coalition discussions, and artifacts (e.g., articles, news reports). This project aims to broaden the participation of urban science teachers serving approximately 500 K-12 students in schools that were impacted by the blizzard, Black and Brown community leaders working in youth services, public health, climate justice, food (in)security, and equitable mobility organizations; and Black and Brown families living in communities most impacted by the blizzard.