Understanding Global Change: Frameworks and Models for Teaching Systems Thinking
The scientific and education communities must impart to teachers, students, and the public an understanding of how the various factors that drive climate and global change operate, and why the rates and magnitudes of these changes related to human perturbation of Earth system processes today are cause for deep concern. Even though effective educational modules explaining components of the Earth and climate system exist, interdisciplinary learning tools are necessary to conceptually link the causes and consequences of global changes.
To address this issue, the Understanding Global Change Project at the University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) at UC Berkeley developed an interdisciplinary framework that organizes global change topics into three categories: (1) causes of climate change, both human and non-human (e.g., burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, Earth’s tilt and orbit), (2) Earth system processes that shape the way the Earth works (e.g., Earth’s energy budget, water cycle), and (3) the measurable changes in the Earth system (e.g., temperature, precipitation, ocean acidification). To facilitate student learning about the Earth as a dynamic, interacting system, a website will provide visualizations of Earth system models and written descriptions of how each framework topic is conceptually linked to other components of the framework. These visualizations and textual summarizations of relationships and feedbacks in the Earth system are a unique and crucial contribution to science communication and education, informed by a team of interdisciplinary scientists and educators.
The system models are also mechanisms by which scientists can communicate how their own work informs our understanding of the Earth system. Educators can provide context and relevancy for authentic datasets and concurrently can assess student understanding of the interconnectedness of global change phenomena. The UGC resources will be available through a web-based platform and scalable professional development programming to facilitate systemic changes in the teaching and learning about climate and global change. We are establishing a diverse community of scientists and educators across the country that are using these tools, and plan to create local networks supported by UGC staff and partners.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Presented at the AGU Fall Meeting on December 15, 2017 in New Orleans, LA
Scholar Commons Citation
Bean, Jessica R.; Mitchell, Kristen; Zoechfeld, Kathleen; Oshry, Aleeza; Menicucci, Anthony J.; White, Lisa D.; and Marshall, Charles R., "Understanding Global Change: Frameworks and Models for Teaching Systems Thinking" (2017). School of Geosciences Faculty and Staff Publications. 1798.