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Welcome to the Kansas NSF EPSCoR (KNE) news and announcements blog. Stay up-to-date with all the happenings, discoveries, events and funding opportunities associated with KNE. Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box below an to the right to stay notified of new posts. Feel free to leave comments.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Teachers Explore Improving Climate Education at Fort Hays State University


Dr. Paul Adams instructing teachers
     This fall, Kansas school districts statewide are in the process of implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).   However, as Dr. Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education, Anschutz Professor of Education and Professor of Physics at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) commented, “while the vision advocated by the NGSS is a significant step to improving science education in the country, the knowledge and skills necessary to implement this vision lags behind.” So Adams, using his 2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Education and Diversity Grant Award, designed a secondary science teacher summer program to address some of these content and teaching strategy limitations.  His five day teacher workshop titled: Improving Climate Education through Field Observations and Data Analysis, had three specific goals:
  • to provide Kansas science teachers the opportunity to enhance their content knowledge; 
  • to discuss teaching strategies associated with the new NGSS curriculum requirements; and 
  • to explore resources that could support their lessons planning as it related to climate and weather.  
So on July 6, 2015, twelve high school and middle school science teachers from across the state of Kansas met at FHSU to work with Adams and to learn more about teaching climate and climate change within the scope of the NGSS curriculum guidelines.
Science teachers collecting data
    The workshop's hands-on activities featured using infrared thermometers and sun photometers as well as researching clouds, precipitation, relative humidity and biomass. In addition, participants were introduced to the worldwide science and education program, GLOBEGlobe Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. GLOBE served as an excellent resource for studying climate observation protocols; exploring tested climate and climate change teaching strategies; and learning how to use data to develop scientific arguments that aligned with the NGSS science and engineering practices. Teachers were also exposed to databases and database analysis tools in MY NASA DATA. This site created opportunities for the learner to develop strategies for arguing from evidence.
      During the workshop, teachers also learned how to define a study site, how to do field studies and how to use technology tools to help students reach NGSS performance expectations. At the end of the workshop, teachers used GLOBE data to produce NGSS lessons and to create course specific NGSS implementation plans incorporating GLOBE-based learning activities. These implementation plans will be made available to teachers across the state at the www.fhsu.edu/smei website.
      This climate workshop was so successful that there is a plan to re-run it as a short course at the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science meeting on Hydrology. There is also interest in doing an elementary science teacher GLOBE workshop and grants are being considered to fund these programs for the future.

The 2015 Kansas NSF EPSCoR Education and Diversity Grants are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of climate or energy research or atomic/molecular/optical science.

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