Project Name: Using NASA Data to Improve Climate and Science Literacy of Young Adults
Project Status: CURRENT
Selection Year: 2010
Organization: Florida Atlantic University
Project Description Project Investigator
Our team will include Julie Lambert, Associate Professor of Science Education at Florida Atlantic University, as principle investigator; Brian Soden, Professor of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at University of Miami, as co-investigator; and Robert Bleicher, Associate Professor of Science Education, California State University, Channel Islands, as co-investigator.

Our proposed project will primarily address funding category D/M (Goals 1 and 2): Using NASA Earth system data, interactive models and /or simulations to strengthen teaching and learning about global climate change. The overarching objective of our project will be to develop and implement modules that will enable students to analyze and use NASA data to address the public's questions and commonly held misconceptions/mistaken beliefs about climate change.

Our approach is not only to teach high school and undergraduate students how to answer these questions, but also to use the questions themselves and the arguments which underlie them as a basis for teaching the scientific processes that affect/contribute to/bring about/trigger climate change (i.e., develop hands-on modules that enable students to use NASA data and models to answer the questions for themselves, rather than simply reading other people's conclusions). In this way, the students are using science to actively acquire knowledge (constructivism). For example, in these modules, students would use NASA satellite and remote-sensing data and models to analyze short-term variability versus long-term temperature trends, natural versus human forcings of climate change, climate feedbacks, and the other processes related to climate change.

Our plan is to develop and test these modules in our own undergraduate-level classes in year one, then to conduct professional development for southeast Florida high school teachers and support the modules' implementation in year two, and finally to evaluate and finalize the modules in year three.

Our project specifically addresses the goals of NASA's GCCE project by improving the teaching and learning of GCC in high schools and on college campuses, increasing the number of high school and undergraduate students using NASA Earth observation data to investigate and analyze global climate change issues, and by aiming to increase the number of students pursuing employment in fields relevant to GCC.

Julie Lambert
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