|Grant to allow schools to teach climate change
STARKVILLE - More than 75 classrooms around the state will learn more
about climate change as part of a National Science Foundation grant that
includes a partnership between Mississippi State, the University of
Texas, Michigan State University and a nonprofit, educational software
McNeal, an assistant professor in Mississippi State University’s
geosciences department, is the primary investigator of a $2.5 million
project that will introduce climate change lessons to more than 75
classrooms in Mississippi.
Designed to improve high school students’ knowledge of
climate change, the four-year project will involve students and teachers
from throughout Mississippi and Texas.
Karen McNeal, the primary
investigator for the grant and an assistant professor in MSU’s
geosciences department, said the goal of the $2.5 million NSF Discovery
Research K-12 project is to train teachers to use modules created
through the program for their classrooms and then review students’ work
to determine how well they learned the material.
"We want to see
teachers using the resources and students engaged in them," McNeal said.
"As this happens, we’ll use information collected to improve the
material by creating better ways to teach climate change."
NSF grant will allow researchers to create computer modules on climate
change that complement hands-on lessons high school teachers use in
their classrooms. TERC, the nonprofit assisting with the project, will
post online climate change modules at
The curriculum developed
will comply with standards for laboratory-based high school science
education and support a better understanding of climate literacy.
schools and teachers are in the process of being selected. Beginning
this summer, the first training session for Mississippi teachers will
involve about six to eight instructors engaging in the curriculum and
providing feedback during the online materials development.
more workshops are held on the curriculum, the project will expand over
time to up to 100 teachers, McNeal said. During the 2012 and 2013
academic school years, teachers will incorporate the material in their
classrooms, she added.
As part of the evaluation of student work,
McNeal and other researchers will examine challenges students face in
learning about climate change, including misconceptions of the science,
along with identifying particular graphs and other visual aids to
examine how students learn the material.
Researchers will use eye-tracking devices to analyze how students view material on computer screens.
project participation from two states, McNeal said a long-term goal
will be to include teachers in all states to teach the curriculum. To
help achieve this, all material created, including presentations
teachers create, will be posted online for others to use.
of the research community, McNeal sees this as an opportunity to teach
and inform the public about the values of science.
teaching the scientific method through climate change," McNeal said. "We
want students to be able to interpret data and make their own
- For more information, contact Dr. Karen McNeal at (662) 268-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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