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ASK FLorida

Global Climate Change Education (GCCE):
Advancing Student Knowledge Through Teacher Education

The Coalition for Science Literacy (CSL) at the University of South Florida, in collaboration with the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at The Florida State University, has been awarded a grant under NASA’s Global Climate Change Education program. The three-year project funded under this grant, Global Climate Change Education: Advancing Student Knowledge Through Teacher Education, began April 15, 2010. The project is now known as NASA GCCE, ASK Florida.

The overall project goal is to increase teacher content knowledge in global climate change and provide pedagogical training to enable teachers to stimulate students’ 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 (Hillsborough, Polk, and Volusia) with high proportions of students from groups historically underrepresented in science and technology career fields.

At the outset of the project, a student focus groups was convened to identify content of interest to students to be included in the teacher workshops. A PD panel consisting of climate scientists and educators met several times during the first year to develop the teacher PD. The panel will reviewed available climate literacy frameworks, considered student input, selected materials for inclusion in the PD, developed specifications for additional resources, and designed a year-long program for teachers. The PD content includes 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 the project and serve as coaches for teacher participants. The program spans the entire school year to maximize teachers’ ability to apply their new learning in the classroom. Teachers participated in three face-to-face workshops, ongoing coaching, and online interactive training and communication throughout the academic year. Climate scientists and science eductors provide the training and online communications.

The evaluation provides formative information for enhancing program effectiveness during the life of the project and alerts project staff to any issues that need resolution early in its design and throughout implementation. Evaluation is being used to assess the degree to which the primary objectives of the project are attained and the degree of value added by the project. Plans are being prepared for continuing the program in school districts through a teach-the-teacher and coaching model.

For more information please contact the PI JoEllen Carlson.

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