Student and Parent Outcomes of an Initiative to Infuse Weather Science and Safety Instruction in the Georgia K-8 Curriculum

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Alan E. Stewart, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and J. A. Knox and A. L. Qureshi

This project provides a summative evaluation of a NSF-funded effort to teach teachers about weather science and safety so that they can deliver elements of a standardized curriculum in a way that exhibits practical impact for K-8 students and their parents. The teachers were from three school districts in Georgia that possessed both socioeconomic (i. e., lower SES, higher proportion of people from underserved groups) and climatological (susceptibility to floods, hurricanes, or tornadoes) vulnerabilities. Week-long Weather Science and Safety Workshops were provided to 70 teachers in 2011 and 2012. Immediate evaluation data indicated that the workshops resulted in improvements in: 1. Fund of weather science and safety content knowledge; 2. Levels of science teaching self efficacy and weather science and safety teaching efficacy. Longer-term follow-up included classroom observations of teacher lesson delivery, student post-lesson assessments, and surveys completed by the students' parents. This data included responses from over 300 students and parents. This follow-up data suggested that: 1. Teachers were effective if delivering the curriculum, 2. Students evidenced adequate learning and understanding of the lessons they received, and 3. Parents were aware of their childs' learning about weather science and safety and that this awareness often was accompanied by tangible behaviors by the parents to make the family more prepared for severe or extreme weather (e. g., developing a family disaster plan, assembling and emergency kit, etc.). This is the first project, to date, that has evaluated all three phases (i. e., teachers, students, and parents) of an effort to infuse weather science and safety content into a regularly-delivered curriculum in the Georgia schools. Teaching teachers about weather science and safety not only increases an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the schools, but it also creates a more informed and educated cohort of citizens that are able to practically prepare for routine and severe weather.