Geoscience learning embedded in a case of environmental injustice: an equity oriented pedagogical model resulting in student interest development and knowledge gains

Thursday 1:45pm E Building 202
Oral Session Part of Thursday Oral Session A


Shondricka Burrell, Morgan State University
Children in racially segregated neighborhoods and/or communities with concentrated poverty are more likely to have poor indoor and outdoor air quality (Miranda et al., 2011; Wodtke et al, 2022) and poor-quality drinking water and sewage systems (Balazs, Morello-Frosch, Hubbard, & Ray, 2011; Balazs & Ray, 2014). Socially vulnerable groups, particularly African Americans, are more susceptible to climate change impacts such as extreme temperatures, air quality, and flooding (2021, EPA). Yet there is a persistent opportunity gap for students from minoritized communities to learn the science underlying the lived experience of environmental injustice. Deeply entrenched and pernicious environmental injustice and science educational opportunity gaps therefore motivate this work. For this study, I developed a pedagogical model informed by the socio-cognitive constructs of interest development (Renninger & Hidi, 2016) and place-based inquiry. In this study I tested the efficacy of a water quality themed curriculum using the water quality crises in Flint, Michigan as a case study. I tested the efficacy of this model using a quasi-experimental, within-group and between group comparison design aimed at addressing the following research questions:
- Is this pedagogical model of geoscience teaching effective as determined by student knowledge gains pre, post, and delayed post?
- Does this instructional approach of embedding geoscience content within a case of environmental injustice, lead to student interest development in the Earth sciences? If so, will these changes in student interest in the geosciences be measurable pre, post, and delayed post?
Results of multivariate analyses indicate statistically significant and meaningful shifts in knowledge gains and interest. In this talk, I will present the theoretical foundations of the pedagogical model, the research design, findings, and implications of the work.