Over the past year, the Mi-STAR team has been working to develop curriculum based on salient topics in science and aligned to the Michigan Science Standards. Michigan science teachers played a crucial role in the development and refinement of the units. A unit on Global Climate recently completed pilot testing in Kalamazoo and Houghton Michigan with 216 students.
In this unit, students practice asking scientifically testable questions and using data to explore answers. After developing an understanding of foundational climate science, students use data from different time periods and geographic locations of the world to investigate claims that Earth’s surface temperature is changing. Students explore how change may impact important Michigan industries such as tourism, fishing, and agriculture.
Participating teachers have been indicating their enthusiasm for the unit:
“…, it’s been a terrific week. It really has. The kids are digging in and I have not seen this before.”
“They’re having fun with it. They’re pushing their thought.”
“The kids being more independent at times, that’s always a benefit. To be able to know they can do things themselves…so often with my students they won’t even look at something, even before reading directions, they’ll ask for help.”
“I am a middle school science teacher who has successfully taught a unit on global climate change for the past two years, without parent complaint. I am able to teach the unit because I was fortunate enough to have access to climate researchers, physicists, foresters, and more at Michigan Tech’s summer teacher institutes. Last summer, I worked with researchers and engineers to create a middle school climate change unit that is NGSS aligned, as part of Michigan Tech’s MiSTAR middle school curriculum program (http://mi-star.mtu.edu/).
The key for successful climate change experiences for students is to enable their teachers to meet the experts doing the research. When teachers spend time working with climate experts, they have access to the most current data and can ask clarifying questions to gain confidence in presenting climate research to students. Michigan Tech has the right idea…”
Posted to the NPR website in response to “Why Science Teachers Are Struggling With Climate Change,” All Things Considered, February 19, 2016.