Developing Chemistry Education Modules for High-School Global Climate Change Education (GCCE)

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Ming-Kuo Lee, Auburn Univ., Auburn, AL; and P. Norgaard, J. Cox, L. Marzen, M. Simon, and M. Wooten

Auburn University has launched a state-wide Global Climate Change Education (GCCE) Program that aims at improving high school and public education in climate change science. With funding provided by NASA, we have developed new educational modules that can be incorporated into the existing course of study for 9-12 grade chemistry and environmental sciences classes. The main goals are to ensure that teachers are proficient in teaching the concepts of climate science and students become knowledgeable about the influence of climate change on water resources. Teachers are trained in the use of these modules for their classroom through partnership with Alabama Science in Motion (ASIM) funded by the Alabama State Department of Education. The modules are developed by a team of scientists in conjunction with ASIM specialists and lead teachers. The modules, aligned with the Alabama Course of Study and National Science Education Standards, employ Roger Bybee's (1997) Five E's of the learning cycle: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate. Modules learning activities include field data collection, computer simulations, and laboratory measurements of solubility of chemicals and gases in water. Students employ NASA data, remote sensing imagery, and Google Earth to investigate effects of global climate changes on oceans' temperature, salinity, density, and currents. The field modules allow students to collect ground-truth data from local streams to evaluate the effects of climate change on water quality and availability. They also analyze the response of local streamflow conditions to the changes or trends of temperature and precipitation in their living areas. Students conduct laboratory experiments to investigate how climate change processes (climatic variables) may affect water chemistry and water quality. Results of the project suggest that partnerships among scientists, ASIM specialists, and high school teachers can provide students state-of-the-art equipment and hands-on experiences for learning the concepts of Earth's system and effects of climate change on them.