Integrating Chemistry and Local Earth Phenomena to Promote Environmental Literacy

Wednesday 2:15 PT / 3:15 MT / 4:15 CT / 5:15 ET Online
Oral Session Part of Oral Session III


Chelsea McClure, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Bess Caplan, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Jonathon Groom, George Washington University
Kevin Garner, Baltimore City Public School System
Kevin Fleming, George Washington University
Vonceil Anderson, Baltimore City Public School System
Integrating Chemistry and Earth science (ICE) is an NSF-funded project of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Baltimore City Public Schools, George Washington University and scientists and educators from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES). ICE has developed innovative units that bring Earth science concepts and practices into the chemistry curriculum as a way of addressing NGSS expectations in the absence of Earth science courses at the high school level. ICE features three-dimensional teaching by addressing local phenomena with student-designed investigations in the schoolyard and labs, exploration of BES data sets and conceptual modeling. During this session, we will share what we've learned through developing and pilot testing two ICE Units district-wide in Baltimore. The Thermochemistry unit focuses on the phenomenon of the Urban Heat Island (UHI). Students explore temperature differences in the schoolyard with IR thermometers and develop preliminary conceptual models to explain the differences they observe. They then design investigations to compare the albedo and heat capacity of urban materials, analyze urban and suburban data from a heat wave, revise their conceptual heat budget models and conclude the sequence by proposing ways of decreasing UHI. The Earth chemistry unit focuses on how chemistry influences the life and death of Baltimore's mountains. We will highlight the lesson sequence where students experiment with physical and chemical weathering of urban materials, observe evidence of these processes in the schoolyard environment and through stream chemistry data, and then consider ways of slowing these processes based on their growing understanding of the chemical and physical processes involved. Results from 3-D teaching embedded and end-of-unit assessments reveal that students are able to make progress in moving towards mechanistic models and explanations. Interviews with teachers and students suggest that there is a high level of interest among many in the integration of Earth science into chemistry.

Presentation Media

Integrating Chemistry and Local Earth Phenomena to Promote Environmental Literacy Presentation (Acrobat (PDF) 1.9MB Jul9 20)

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