Teaching Environmental and Climate Science to Various Age Groups in the Texas Panhandle




Hiranuma, Naruki
Alrimaly, Sarah
Guy, Jaclynn

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Integration of research and teaching is one of the most important aspects of university activities. Here, we developed three science outreach modules and hands-on education activities (primarily appropriate to the grade 5-6 age group but can be age-adjusted) to teach chemistry and physics of Arctic warming and its impact on the ecosystem, which is a key subject with regard to the concurrent global climate change issues. Replicable curriculum and teaching materials were disseminated to students at local schools in the Texas Panhandle through after school programs and local non-profit organizations (i.e., interactive science center, boy scout, and zoo). We initially targeted providing underrepresented students with hands-on activities that will foster their interest in the environmental sciences. For this reason, we prioritized choosing the schools with the socioeconomically and ethnically diverse student body (especially the ones having a Title 1 disadvantaged status). To date, from September 2020 to December 2021, we taught 288 students at 11 schools. We shared read-ahead exploration material for local teachers and officers to introduce them to the scientific concepts. This process helped to ensure that the teachers have an understanding of the science that they convey via our prefabricated teacher modules. Outcomes of the student-participating modules were assessed. Furthermore, our lesson plans and materials as Kit were borrowed by a local non-profit educational organization (i.e., Don Harrington Discovery Center) to teach their visitors about the Arctic climate during the winter camp events. In the future, local school districts also plan to facilitate the development and loaning of our Kit, ensuring that learning objectives align with the state instructional materials allotment program. Loans of this type would have a direct impact on approximately 10,000 students in grades K-12 (1,600 in middle schools) and >70 K-12 and high school science teachers.


Lab study & outreach education


2022 Faculty Research Poster Session and Research Fair, West Texas A&M University, Department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Poster, Arctic warming, Global climate change, Texas panhandle, After school programs


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