Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Evidence-based Learning Method for K-12 Students to Evaluate the Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

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Researchers
Nancy Butler Songer
Managed By
Jessica Soulliere
Digital Technologies Licensing Specialist 734.647.9926
Publications
Predicting the impacts of climate change on ecosystems: A high school curricular module
The Earth Scientist Mar, 2012, Volume 28, Number 3, Pages 33-37., 2012

In an increasingly complex world, it is critical that all students gain practical knowledge and firm grasp of science in order to fully comprehend the world and make informed decisions. Multimedia tools continue to play a key role in keeping students more engaged and helping them understand scientific concepts better. Understanding nature is especially critical with issues such as global warming affecting the entire planet. However currently there is no interactive environmental science platform for K-12 students to understand the effect of climate change on species survival.

Evidence-based Learning Method for K-12 Students to Evaluate the Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

Change Thinking is a set of curricular modules developed at the Center for Essential Science which puts authentic climate science modeling tools in the hands of middle and high school students so they can predict the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and species. This curriculum is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and represents a powerful and unique way of improving climate literacy in middle and high school students. SPECIES, the online learning environment, was created using Lifemapper, a scientific modeling tool that uses online geospatial species occurrence data to create distribution maps and combines it with global climate, terrain and land cover information, to identify environmental correlates of species ranges. Students in 7th - 12th grades use SPECIES to understand the dynamic interactions within ecological communities, including the capacity to interpret data, critique scientific evidence and apply their knowledge of scientific concepts to current topics in global science. The Change Thinking curriculum includes curricular materials, software, websites, and assessments.

Applications:

  • K-12 education and informal education settings- to improve scientific literacy, content understanding of biodiversity and ecology, and engagement in discussions
  • Curriculum publishers- to enhance offerings for K-12 educational institutions

Advantages:

  • Enhances content understanding of biodiversity and ecology in middle and high school grades
  • Enhances engagement in classroom and during discussions
  • Promotes evidence based learning approach and enhances scientific curiosity
  • Permits students to use an innovative, scientific modeling tool to examine the impacts of climate change on ecosystems
  • Establishes a well-tested, learning progression in climate science, ecology, and biodiversity to build scientific literacy and content understanding in middle and high school grades
  • An inquiry-driven curriculum that is aligned with NGSS standards and well-tested in classrooms