Poster Session I: Thinking about the Present and Future of Earth Education

Friday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online
Poster Session

Session Chair

Anne Egger, Central Washington University

This poster session will be held from 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET on Friday. All Rendezvous participants are invited to attend. Sessions will include 4-6 posters on similar topics and will start with presentation of a 1-minute lightning talk for each poster, followed by panel discussions among authors and Rendezvous participants to address common themes. Zoom sessions will allow authors to move into Breakout Rooms for more specific discussions with Rendezvous participants.

Presenter Guidelines

Thinking about the Present and Future of Earth Education

Enhancing Teaching and Learning about the Food-Energy-Water-Nexus: Who are Postsecondary Reformers in NC-FEW?
Sumaiya Tabassum, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska at Lincoln

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Food, energy and water (FEW) are critical systems for humanity and subject to rapidly growing global demand compounded by climate change. The inter-dependency among these resources is multifaceted and complex, requiring an effective and coordinated Nexus approach. These challenges provide a rationale for sustained, systemic, and interdisciplinary educational efforts focused on food, energy and water systems in a wide array of educational contexts. The National Collaborative for Research on Food, Energy, and Water Education (NC-FEW) is an NSF-funded, emergent, transdisciplinary community of postsecondary educators and discipline-based education researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds engaged in sustained network- and capacity-building. Here, we present preliminary findings from an onboarding survey of 165 members of the NC-FEW community, primarily postsecondary faculty from a diverse array of disciplines, to better understand the depth of their FEW-Nexus knowledge base, confidence with FEW-Nexus teaching and education research, and sense of community affiliation. Results show that NC-FEW members are able to characterize FEW-Nexus concepts with approximately 56.57% accuracy. Participants were more confident about general teaching & research abilities (Mean=3.8) than with FEW-Nexus teaching & research proficiency (Mean=3.3). One-way ANOVA test showed a statistically significant effect of 'Professional Roles' and 'Disciplinary Identities' on FEW-Nexus teaching and research confidence at p<.05 level. Also, results demonstrate that participants feel connected to the community of FEW-Nexus educators only 'To some extent' (Mean= 2.28). Multiple regression analysis indicated positive impact of community interaction on teaching confidence, research confidence, and sense of belongingness to the community and vice-versa. These findings highlight the importance of boosting members' confidence and strengthening their sense of community affiliation to enhance their knowledge of the FEW-Nexus, as well as their Nexus-focused teaching and education research , therefore having important implications for ongoing NC-FEW community activities and broader postsecondary reform efforts.
Skills Geoscience Employers Look For in Bachelors-level Geoscientists
Gregory Shafer, Boise State University
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University
Anne Egger, Central Washington University

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Preparing graduates to enter the workforce is a common goal of undergraduate geoscience degree programs. Determining what skills are necessary for new graduates to succeed in the workforce requires knowledge of the skills sought by employers of bachelors-level geoscientists. To investigate skills desired by employers, we systematically analyzed job advertisements retrieved from 4 search engines between May and November 2020. We used 15 search words derived from the 2018 Status of the Geoscience Workforce (AGI) report to select job advertisements that required or preferred a geoscience-based bachelor's degree. Additionally, we categorized each advertisement by industry sector based on definitions in the 2018 AGI report. Each job advertisement (n=1214) was coded to identify skills sought by the employer. An initial set of codes was based on skills identified by the Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education project and additional emergent codes were identified during the coding process. We generated a final set of 34 codes, with definitions and examples, through an iterative coding process, checking for inter-rater reliability. Advertisements were not coded for geoscience content knowledge. The most common skills sought by employers were the ability to conduct field work, teamwork, work with computers, collect, process and interpret data, and communicate effectively, however, the desirability of skills varied across industry sectors. For example, teamwork skills were sought in 60% of mining sector advertisements but only 22% of oil and gas sector advertisements. Our results provide insight into the expectations of potential employers for recent graduates seeking a career in geoscience. Additionally, our results provide geoscience degree programs with critical information required to prepare undergraduates with the necessary skills to be successful in the current job market.
Climate change anxiety and perceptions of complexity
Jonathan Ham, Temple University
Chelsea Helion, Temple University
Tim Shipley, Temple University

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Climate change is the result of complex interactions between natural science systems and social systems. For humans, climate change may have both emotional causes and emotional consequences. In this study, we asked how the perceived complexity of climate change relates to anxiety about climate change. We theorized that differences in depth of understanding of climate change captured by the perception of complexity might distinguish adaptive from maladaptive levels of climate change anxiety. We conducted online surveys with an undergraduate sample (n = 209) with measures of climate change anxiety and perceived complexity of climate change. We found no relationship between the perceived complexity of climate change and anxiety. We also conducted exploratory factor analyses of our measures. We identified three factors in our measure of climate change anxiety (general anxiety, persistence of anxiety, and difficulty regulating anxiety), and two factors in our measures of perceived complexity (the complexity of cause, and the complexity of effect). Analyses conducted with these factors found that 1) the perceived complexity of cause was negatively associated with general anxiety about climate change (the more complex they thought the problem was the less general anxiety they reported), and 2) overall levels of persistent anxiety were lower than general anxiety. Together, these suggest that students have effective strategies for regulating negative emotions about climate change, and that thinking about cause and avoiding effect may be one of these strategies. We are currently testing this hypothesis using a novel information-seeking paradigm where subjects will be presented with a complex scenario and asked to choose to learn more about the cause or the effect of the scenario. The paradigm will be followed with measures of emotional outcomes relevant to the scenario. We hypothesize that choosing to learn about cause will be associated with more positive emotional outcomes.
Secondary Teachers' Implementation of a Model-Based Climate Curriculum Unit: A Longitudinal Study
Kimberly Carroll Steward, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Devarati Bhattacharya, University of Minnesota-Morris
Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Mark Chandler, Columbia University in the City of New York

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Cultivating climate literacy among students allows them to understand, communicate, and make informed decisions about the weather, climate, functions, and impacts. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) and the Essential Principles for Climate Literacy (NOAA, 2009), partnered with science education reform, have created teaching and learning opportunities about Earth's climate and GCC in formal K-12 classrooms. However, teachers still report feeling challenged in understanding Earth's climate system, underprepared in teaching it, describing GCC instruction as a low priority (Hestness et al., 2011; Plutzer et al., 2016). We engaged in a 3-year, NSF-funded project to design and implement a new, 3-week curriculum unit designed around an online, computer-based global climate modeling tool to address this need. Based on HS-ESS3-5 (NGSS, 2013), this geoscience curriculum engages students in an authentic exploration of the Earth's climate and GCC using the Easy Global Climate Model(EzGCM) grounded in authentic NASA climate data. We followed two secondary science teachers over three years, using a combination of interviews, classroom observations, and daily reflections to access 1) In what ways do teachers implement the project curriculum? 2) How and why do they implement it in the ways that they do? and 3) How teachers' implementation changes during the project? Our findings from this longitudinal mixed-methods study show that in Y1, while the project curriculum was primarily built to highlight the practice of using climate models, teachers focused on describing model construction. However, while this remained true for one teacher across all three years, the other teacher made significant changes to her implementation during the project. During all three years, both teachers brought external resources than those explicitly written for the CliMES curriculum. These findings have implications for curriculum design, teacher professional development, and how secondary science teachers can support student learning about Earth'sEarth's climate.
Water – related standards for teaching and learning to support K-12 to lifelong water literacy
Silvia Jessica Mostacedo Marasovic, The University of Texas at Arlington

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Water is a critical component of Earth systems, including their human dimensions. Water literacy is a key outcome for learners, who should understand how water interacts with different human and non-human systems and to help them develop knowledge, tools, and attitudes to participate in informed decision-making that support water management efforts. It is therefore crucial to foster water literacy in today's global citizens, particularly through formal education. However, research has identified challenges in teaching and learning about water spanning K-16 settings. Water is an interdisciplinary concept that is touched on in many subject areas and disciplinary learning environments. The purpose of this research is to examine water-related standards for teaching and learning from an array of disciplines to develop a comprehensive, transdisciplinary perspective on water education. We ask, What do disciplinary standards specify as outcomes for students' learning about water?, and sub-questions i) To what extent do water-related standards address recognized domains of learning?, and ii) What thematic outcomes for students' learning are apparent across grades in water-related standards?. The study uses a conventional qualitative content analysis complemented by processes from grounded theory to analyze water-related education standards (n=262) from 12 education-oriented non-governmental organizations based in the United States. The results from the study enabled to characterize the water standards according to the cognitive and affective domains of learning, as well as to develop a matrix for water-related standards for each grade band from K-12. The results of the study can help inform teaching and learning to cultivate water literacy.
Statewide Efforts Elevate the Status of Earth Science in California K-12 Schools
Matthew d'Alessio, California State University-Northridge

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For decades, California has relegated Earth science to a second-tier status. The rollout of the Next Generation Science Standards led to a shift where Earth science now takes a much more central role. After California adopted the NGSS in 2013, it began drafting its own curriculum framework to envision how the standards should be implemented in California classrooms. There was no explicit effort to elevate Earth science, but the shift grew out of two other pressures: 1) a desire for science integrated across the disciplines; and 2) environmental educators pushing for more emphasis on interactions between human and natural systems. At the high school level, we outlined a 'three course model' where students used traditional biology, chemistry, and physics concepts to explain Earth and Space science phenomena, with particular emphasis on the environmental problems of the day. Climate change is a central thread to all three of the courses. We gave the courses new names, "Living Earth", "Chemistry in the Earth System", and "Physics of the Universe". While Earth science still doesn't sit on equal footing as those three traditional science courses, districts that adopt this model elevate Earth and space science to a central role in every science course. More than half of California districts have adopted this three course model and the UC system now accepts it as a legitimate laboratory sequence. The challenge is now about implementation. Few publishers have crafted materials for the courses and teachers remain underprepared to integrate the Earth science content into the disciplines in which they hold credentials. Earth scientists have a new footing, but now we need to step up to help realize the potential of this transition.
Envisioning the future of NAGT
Anne Egger, Central Washington University

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NAGT ended fiscal year 2020 with 1,711 members—our highest number in more than 15 years and an increase of 111 members over 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the COVID pandemic has highlighted some of our strengths as an organization: we are nimble and responsive to current needs in the community, we have a deep and rich set of online resources that can be enhanced with new ideas and content, and we are experienced in offering online professional development activities and know what it takes to make these effective. However, 2020 also brought challenges to the organization and to our members, and highlighted some of our weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is the lack of a current strategic plan to help guide our goal-setting and decision-making. The last time NAGT went through a strategic planning process was over ten years ago, and the organization has changed considerably since then. A current, robust strategic plan will outline goals in areas like reach, diversity, and impact of programming and allow us to set benchmarks against which we can measure our progress annually. We began the strategic planning process by conducting a member survey at the end of 2020, and continue to seek feedback from our members about their interactions with the organization. In this interactive poster, I will share results of the survey and strategic planning updates, and seek additional input from members.