College of Education
phone: (208) 885-6772
toll free: (888) 884-3246
fax: (208) 885-7607
875 Perimeter Drive MS3080
Moscow, ID 83844-3080
Phone (208) 667-2588
Toll free (888) 208-2268
Fax (208) 664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Phone (208) 334-2999
Toll free (866) 264-7384
Fax (208) 364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702
NASA ICE Net grant
By Anne L. Kern and Justin Houghman
The University recently received a $547,727 grant from the NASA Intermountain Climate Education Network (ICE- NET) to assist Idaho teachers in teaching their students and community the science behind climate change (CC). The way the project will accomplish this is by engaging teachers in the collaborative development of a place-based climate change curriculum, thereby helping to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the science of climate change and how to teach these topics and concepts. The curriculum will include explanations of how climate models work, how to weigh the validity of studies on climate and climate change, and to how collect, access, and assess new data to add to or enhance currently existing models. Teachers from eight schools in predominantly Native American communities across Idaho and Northeastern Washington are working with University of Idaho Science and Education Faculty to develop these CC teaching/learning activities and curriculum.
Faculty and students in the University of Idaho’s Colleges of Education, Science, and Natural Resources are responsible for administering the ICE-Net project. Collaboratively, they work on specific elements of the project toward an interdisciplinary vision of CC education. The project team is composed of Drs. Anne Kern, Brant Miller, Justin Hougham, Crystal Kolden, John Abatzaglu, Lee Vierling, Ed Galindo, Karen Humes, Von Walden, and graduate students Steven Gillis, Vincent Jansen, Frank Finley and Bree Reynolds. The team is broken into two interdisciplinary areas of focus: climate science concepts and education delivery. The Science team is working to develop a Climate Science Conceptual Matrix that breaks down climate science facts and issues into the simplest concepts. These concepts are connected to classroom activities and curricula that are aligned with state science content standards. The matrix will be available online for use by project teachers and eventually made accessible for a wider audience of educators.
The Education team is responsible for the planning and delivery of summer professional development workshops and all follow-up work. This past summer, two teacher professional development workshops were held at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) that focused on concepts of climate and weather, teaching for cultural congruence, and the use of technology for engaging students’ inquiry experiences. Currently, they are developing the college’s Adventure Learning at the University of Idaho (AL@UI) to deliver ICE-Net curriculum and teaching activities to the classrooms of project teachers. The pilot expedition, AL@UI: CC 0.1 is expected to be online and ready for delivery to project classrooms by the spring of 2012.
Critical to the teaching of CC concepts is the awareness and reverence for teaching CC content in Native American communities. The project team is working with local tribal communities and educators to develop a culturally congruent understanding of CC, and thus use that understanding in developing place-based and appropriate curricular methods and activities for teaching Native American students. It is through this project we hope to gain understanding and develop a partnership for supporting Native American students and their schools.
The project team is utilizing a blended learning approach, with online resources for teacher outreach and support as well as face-to-face time. These residential visits aim to provide onsite support for teachers while collecting needs evaluation data and observations for the project. While on-site, ICE-Net team members will help facilitate lab activities, co-create classroom instruction with teachers and teacher teams, and get feedback on the project curriculum. The project activities and artifacts from these visits will be incorporated in the AL@UI online delivery. Ultimately, this content will be accessible to the other schools in the project, providing support for a community of learners investigating similar issues and sharing methods explored along the way. One exciting feature of this Websupported AL@UI adventure will be the connection to expert chats facilitated by U-Idaho scientists and educators. These sessions will be synchronized between ICE-Net schools and experts contributing to the project, as well as offering feedback on artifacts and science data the school students have shared online. This dynamic exchange should help engage learners, connect science to classrooms, and support new methods for teaching.
Over the course of the next two years, ICE-Net will host a number of additional summer workshops to share what has been developed thus far and provide enhanced support for continuing and newly recruited project teachers. The project will also continue to support project teachers, both through the AL@UI environment and in the classroom, through at least the life of the project. We hope the summer gathering will serve as a valuable meeting for project personnel and partner teachers to collaboratively assess the activities of the academic year, plan the activities for the next year, and evaluate the objectives and progress of the overall project.