The National Science Foundation awarded the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and TERC a $450,000 grant to design and implement a groundbreaking climate science education program for middle school students.
Climate Lab gives middle school educators a novel approach to climate change science by getting students to collect data and analyze biological changes in their local communities. Manomet scientists teach middle school educators how to monitor various climate change indicators, such as the timing of leaf-out. Those educators then bring the monitoring methods back to their own schools and establish on-campus research centers where their students measure and analyze local changes in spring vegetation, and relate these changes to climate change.
“We wanted to come up with a program that would allow more students to get outside and learn about natural sciences,” said Trevor Lloyd-Evans, director of Manomet’s Landbird Banding program. “For the past 45 years, Manomet has provided students with the unique experience of learning about our research while interacting with the birds we study and their habitats. We hope that Climate Lab will eventually bring this hands-on experience to middle school classrooms around the country and connect them to larger scientific studies on climate change.”
Brian Drayton, the lead ecologist for the TERC Climate Lab team, said, “This project is at the intersection of science and education, which is where TERC likes to work best. We’ll be able to design and test a model for collaboration between the classroom and field researchers. We are excited about the potential of this project and its novel plan to develop it collaboratively with teachers.”
In its initial pilot study leading up to the grant, Climate Lab trained 13 teachers, reaching over 500 students across six schools.
“For the past two years, Manomet and TERC have been working out techniques, analyzing preliminary data, holding teacher training workshops, and developing curriculum materials,” said Lloyd-Evans. “TERC’s expertise in curriculum development has allowed our vision to take shape and complement the emphasis on interdisciplinary teaching.”
Over the next three years, the NSF grant will give the program the support it needs to develop a regional and national model that includes integrated curriculum, web support, and professional development for teachers.
The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences is an international nonprofit research organization, based in Manomet, MA, that uses science and collaboration to create a measurably more sustainable world. Manomet’s Landbird Program works with schools and other research organizations to help children understand the importance of nature as they become the next generation of decision-makers. To learn more about Manomet, please visit www.manomet.org.
TERC, founded in 1965 and located in Cambridge, MA, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to improving science and math teaching and learning. TERC develops curriculum materials and teacher education programs, conducts research, creates hardware, software, and Web tools for inquiry, and designs and supports electronic communities of practice. To learn more about TERC, please visit www.terc.edu.
For more information, please contact:
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
508-224-6521 ext. 231