Posts Tagged 'education'

Impact of an inquiry-based science activity about climate change on development of primary students’ investigation skills and conceptual knowledge

Climate change is one of the major challenges facing society today and more effective education is needed on this topic. This study analysed the effects of an inquiry-based science activity about climate change effects in ocean ecosystems, done in a research laboratory and in the classroom, on primary students’ knowledge, investigation skills and satisfaction. Data were collected through the application of pretests and posttests, direct observation, questionnaires, interviews and document analysis. Results revealed an increase in students’ scientific knowledge and application to new situations. Regarding investigation skills, all students were able to make predictions, and to easily observe and register data. However, experimental planning and conclusions were more difficult for them. Students and teachers emphasised their satisfaction with the outdoor activity, teamwork and the subject. The present study revealed a positive
effect of the participation in the inquiry-based activity, embedded on a socio-scientific issue, in students’ conceptual knowledge and in the development of investigation skills.

Continue reading ‘Impact of an inquiry-based science activity about climate change on development of primary students’ investigation skills and conceptual knowledge’

Participatory research on using virtual reality to teach ocean acidification: a study in the marine education community

Ocean Acidification (OA) is an emerging environmental issue that is still largely unknown to the public and in its infancy in terms of educational strategies. OA teaching material should address the specific challenges that educators face while building learners’ understanding of OA. The objective of this study is two-fold. First, we identified the barriers to teaching OA as experienced by formal and informal marine educators. Second, we provided educators an opportunity to experience virtual reality and discuss how it could serve as a tool for face-to-face and distance learning to address the identified challenges. The findings shed light on four overarching themes of challenges to teaching OA: lack of science literacy, unprepared education field, complex and invisible nature of OA and lack of personal connection with the ocean. Marine educators consider empowerment, perspective-taking and visualization as the three principal avenues through which virtual reality may contribute to mitigating the challenges to teaching OA.

Continue reading ‘Participatory research on using virtual reality to teach ocean acidification: a study in the marine education community’

A case study using the New Ecological Paradigm scale to evaluate coastal and marine environmental perception in the Greater São Paulo (Brazil)

Highlights

•For most respondents, current environmental changes have been treated with exaggerated concern.

•People’s environmental are related to the relationship to coastal areas.•

The grouping variable reflected different marine environmental perception.

•There’s still a belief that man can rule the nature.

•Educational background and scientific dissemination in Brazil are still unsatisfying.

Abstract

The individuals’ perception may vary according to their values and life experiences, thus, the goal of the present study was to evaluate if the relationship to coastal areas (work, research and leisure) and frequency of beach attendance would influence the environmental perception of people living in greater São Paulo (Brazil). The environmental values were measured using online questionnaires based on the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale (adapted to coastal and marine environments) and considering that the type of relation with the coastal environment could alter their level of perception. A total of 386 participants answered the questionnaires and the results showed mainly a pro-NEP attitude of all respondents, However, people that establish some kind of relationship to marine environment presented significantly higher scores. In general, although they were conscious that we are reaching the Earth’s limit and that the human interference on the environment is mainly negative, there was still a belief that human beings are able to dominate nature and in the inexhaustibility of marine resources, once we know how to handle it. Besides that, most respondents think that climate change; sea level rise and ocean acidification has been treated with exaggerated concern. The results also showed that age and educational level significantly influenced the participants’ performance in the test. Therefore, we conclude that there is a necessity of educational investment from the beginning of the school age on and the importance of good quality in scientific dissemination.

Continue reading ‘A case study using the New Ecological Paradigm scale to evaluate coastal and marine environmental perception in the Greater São Paulo (Brazil)’

Using long-term data from Antarctica to teach ocean acidification

There is a mystery to be solved! This lesson plan asks students to identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of ocean acidification (OA). Global oceans have absorbed approximately a third of the CO2 produced by human activities, such as burning of fossil fuels, over the past decade (Sabine et al. 2004). This accumulation of CO2 in the ocean has lowered average global ocean pH and decreased the concentration of carbonate ions (CO32-) (Fabry et al. 2008). As a result of this OA, the carbonate chemistry of the global ocean is rapidly changing and affecting marine organisms (Orr et al. 2005). Pteropods (open-ocean snails) are considered bioindicators of OA due to the vulnerability of their aragonitic shells dissolving under increasingly acidic conditions from a changing climate (Figure 1) (Orr et al. 2005; Bednaršek et al. 2014). This lesson plan can be found at: >https://www.vims.edu/research/units/centerspartners/map/education/profdev/VASEA/lessons.php.

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How does climate change affect oyster populations?

Increased levels of carbon dioxide, caused by humans burning fossil fuels, are not only causing a rise in global temperature but are also having adverse impacts on marine ecosystems. Background The role of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on global temperatures is well known (IPCC 2014), but not all of the carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels enters the atmosphere. The Lesson Engage To begin, we elicit students’ prior knowledge about carbon dioxide and climate change through such questions as “What does the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere do for Earth?” and “What happened when people began burning more fossil fuel?” By the end of this discussion, students understand the following concepts: * Some levels of greenhouse gases are good and keep Earth warm enough to support life as we know it. * As more and more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, they cause global warming. * The “extra” carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels goes into both the oceans and the atmosphere. * When carbon dioxide enters the ocean, there is less going into the atmosphere, which is “good” in terms of global warming. In order to scaffold the process for students and to make materials management for the teacher easier, we provide a set of limited materials, such as beakers, straws, pH test strips, and salt water, that they can use in their investigation (see teacher’s guide in “On the web” for detailed materials list).

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Exploring the “evil twin of global warming”: public understanding of ocean acidification in the United States

Ocean acidification (OA) occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves into oceans. OA and climate change are both caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, and many scientists consider them equally critical problems. We assess if preexisting beliefs, ideologies, value predispositions, and demographics affect OA perceptions among the U.S. public. Nearly 80% of respondents know little about OA, but concern increased following a message explaining OA and climate change, especially among females, liberals, and climate change believers. OA information seeking intentions and research support were also greater among females, liberals, and climate change believers. We discuss implications for efforts to increase OA public awareness.

Continue reading ‘Exploring the “evil twin of global warming”: public understanding of ocean acidification in the United States’

Professional development training in ocean acidification: a case study of marine resource managers

Ocean acidification (OA) is the result of increasing concentrations of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, leading to a suite of alterations to specific parameters of ocean chemistry, which can negatively impact many marine organisms and ecosystems. Understanding how to measure and monitor the chemistry of OA will require specialized education and training, which may be important for the marine resource managers called upon to devise management strategies in response to the impacts of OA. We can best serve these OA ‘first responders’ by making this information more accessible via appropriate educational products that enhance their learning and empower effective management decision-making. For this study, we designed, developed, and piloted a professional training program on measuring and monitoring OA chemistry for marine resource managers in the Pacific Northwest. A companion survey was also developed in conjunction to assess outcomes in learning and professional behavior. Our participants demonstrated learning gains in key OA chemistry concepts, as well as changes in factors that indicated behavioral change. We present a training framework and its associated resources that science educators can use to deliver comparable training programs or build educational products to aid informal adult audiences in understanding and interpreting OA chemistry.

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Building the knowledge-to-action pipeline in North America: connecting ocean acidification research and actionable decision support

Ocean acidification (OA) describes the progressive decrease in the pH of seawater and other cascading chemical changes resulting from oceanic uptake of atmospheric carbon. These changes can have important implications for marine ecosystems, creating risk for commercial industries, subsistence communities, cultural practices, and recreation. Characterizing the extent of acidification and predicting the ramifications for marine and freshwater resources and ecosystem services are critical to national and international climate mitigation discussions and to local communities that rely on these resources. Based on critical grassroots connections between scientists, stakeholders and decision makers, “Knowledge-to-Action” networks for ocean acidification issues have formed at local, regional and international scales to take action. Here, we review three examples of North American groups elevating the issue of ocean acidification at these three levels. They each focus on developing practicable, implementable steps to mitigate causes, to adapt to unavoidable change, and to build resilience to changing ocean conditions in the marine environment and coastal communities. While these first steps represent critical efforts in protecting ecosystems and economies from the risks posed by ocean acidification, some challenges remain. Sensitivity and risk to OA varies by region, species and ecosystems; priorities for action can vary between multiple and conflicting partners; evidence-based strategies for OA risk mitigation are still in the early stages; and gaps remain between scientific research and actionable decision-maker support products. However, the scaled networks profiled here have proven to be adept at identifying and addressing these barriers to action. In the future, it will be critical to expand funding for food web impact studies and development of decision support tools, and to maintain the connections between scientists and marine resource users to build resilience to ocean acidification impacts.

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Aprender a interpretar la acidificación oceánica con recursos on-line y experimentación contextualizada

In this paper we present an introductory experience of the process of Ocean Acidification –decrease in the pH of sea water–, as part of the Experimental Sciences course of the Bachelor’s Degree in Primary Education. The experience involved the use of on-line resources and contextualized experimentation, in order to promote student’s development of scientific competences and to formulate proposals of improvement within the framework of education for sustainability. Satisfactory results are shown in terms of knowledge acquisition, interpretation of the process analyzed here and awareness of environmental problems. We suggest improvements in the educational curriculum and formulate questions which can generate new research. Finally, limitations of the experience regarding its novelty and the lack of adequate educational resources are discussed.

En este artículo se presenta una experiencia de introducción al proceso de acidificación oceánica –disminución del pH del agua del mar– en aulas de Ciencias Experimentales del Grado en Educación Primaria, utilizando recursos on-line y experimentación contextualizada, para contribuir al desarrollo de competencias científicas y formular propuestas de mejora del currículo en el marco de la educación para la sustentabilidad. Se ha contribuido a la adquisición de conocimientos, a la interpretación del proceso estudiado y a la concienciación ambiental. Se han hecho propuestas de mejora del currículo y se han formulado preguntas que darán origen a nuevas investigaciones. Finalmente, se señalan limitaciones de la experiencia relativas a su novedad y a la escasez de recursos didácticos adecuados.

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Citizen science observations reveal rapid, multi-decadal ecosystem changes in eastern Long Island Sound

Highlights
• Citizen-science observations revealed rapid warming, acidification, and dissolved oxygen loss over the past 40 years in eastern Long Island Sound.

• Otter trawl catches showed significant decreases in overall species diversity and richness.

• Cold-water adapted species (American lobster, winter flounder) decreased, but warm-water adapted species (spider crabs) increased since 1997.

Abstract
Long-term environmental records are among the most valuable assets for understanding the trajectory and consequences of climate change. Here we report on a newly recovered time-series from Project Oceanology, a non-profit ocean science organization serving New England schools (USA) since 1972. As part of its educational mission, Project Oceanology has routinely and consistently recorded water temperature, pH, and oxygen as well as invertebrate and fish abundance in nearshore waters of the Thames River estuary in eastern Long Island Sound (LIS). We digitized these long-term records to test for decadal trends in abiotic and biotic variables including shifts in species abundance, richness, and diversity. Consistent with previous studies, the data revealed an above-average warming rate of eastern LIS waters over the past four decades (+0.45 °C decade−1), a non-linear acidification trend twice the global average (−0.04 pH units decade−1), and a notable decline in whole water-column dissolved oxygen concentrations (−0.29 mg L−1 decade−1). Trawl catches between 1997 and 2016 suggested a significant decrease in overall species diversity and richness, declines in cold-water adapted species such as American lobster (Homarus americanus), rock crab (Cancer irroratus), and winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus), but concurrent increases in the warm-water decapod Libinia emarginata (spider crab). Our study confirmed that Long Island Sound is a rapidly changing urban estuary, while demonstrating the value of long-term observations made by citizen-scientists, educators, and other stakeholders.

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