Instructional Approaches for Teaching Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Socio-Environmental Issues

Friday 3:00pm Weeks Geo: AB20
Oral Presentation


Julie Lambert, Florida Atlantic University
Alana Edwards, Florida Atlantic University
Colin Polsky, Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University's Center for Environmental Studies and the College of Education's Department of Teaching and Learning have collaborated on a variety of educational projects aimed at increasing climate literacy of high school and university students, as well as preservice and practicing teachers. This presentation highlights three projects developed over the past few years.

Climate Science Investigations (CSI) (, is an online, interactive series of modules that provides an innovative framework for teaching and learning about climate science. The curriculum is designed to enable students to analyze data available through various sources (e.g., NASA, NOAA, National Snow and Ice Data Center, U.S. Drought) and utilize tools (e.g., ArcGIS, Google Earth, Digital Coast) to address common questions and about climate change.

Climate Science Evidence-Based Argumentation is an instructional approach developed by Lambert and Bleicher (2014) to teach students about climate change and how scientific knowledge is accumulated over time. Students are assigned a typical argument of skeptics and asked to refute it through research and development of an evidence-based scientific argument.

South Florida Rising Tides: Should I Stay or Should I Go? is a case study developed as part of a short-course, Teaching Through Socio-Environmental Case Studies, at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, Maryland. Socio-environmental case studies combine data and methods from the natural and social sciences to prepare students to address complex, transdisciplinary environmental problems. Each student assumes the role of a citizen scientist living in one of four south Florida counties. Each student is also assigned to a county/city committee and to one of three stakeholder perspectives––water managers, residents, and business leaders. Using the cooperative learning jigsaw approach, students alternate meeting in county and stakeholder teams to analyze current articles, data, and GIS maps to identify the specific sea level-related problems, socio-environmental impacts, and adaptation strategies.