Earth Educators’ Rendezvous 2015

Boulder, CO
July 13-17, 2015
Conference Website

Capitalize on the experience of your colleagues in a wide range of fields at a variety of workshops, present and discuss your own findings, and network with others engaged in improving undergraduate Earth education. Events will include workshops, oral and poster sessions, plenary talks, and working groups. The meeting will bring together activities that support faculty in improving their courses, departments or programs; in increasing their overall impact of Earth education; and in building a collective capacity to use and conduct education research.

Wednesday, July 15

Amy PallantHigh-Adventure Science: Making and Defending Scientific Claims in the Face of Uncertainty

Amy Pallant

11:30 AM–1:30 PM

The poster will describe results from the NSF-funded High-Adventure Science: Earth’s Systems and Sustainability project. The project developed five online curriculum modules that promote understanding of how human actions affect the mechanics of some of Earth’s systems. The five modules each focus on a single topic: climate change, fresh water availability, air pollution, land management, and energy choices. The curricula include interactive computational models and real-world data. Computational models are used as a way to help students more deeply explore complex Earth systems and the human impact on those systems. The real-world data present an opportunity to engage students’ scientific analysis and reasoning skills on a topic of current interest in Earth Science.

We created and validated an assessment framework that measures students’ formulation of uncertainty-infused scientific arguments with real-world data and modeling. Since students are not naturally inclined to consider uncertainties in their scientific arguments, we developed a four-part scientific argumentation prompt that includes: (1) a multiple-choice claim, (2) an open-ended justification to support the claim, (3) a five-point Likert scale uncertainty rating, and (4) an open-ended explanation of the reasons for their uncertainty rating. We used these prompts in pre-post assessments of students’ scientific argumentation abilities as well as embedded in curricular activities. Analyses show statistically significant improvement of scientific argumentation abilities across all five curriculum modules, as well as further gains when multiple modules are used.

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