Presentation on theme: "Opinions About Climate Change Among Non-science Majors and Influence of Passive vs. Active Learning Strategies Geoff Horst Department of Fisheries and."— Presentation transcript:
Opinions About Climate Change Among Non-science Majors and Influence of Passive vs. Active Learning Strategies Geoff Horst Department of Fisheries and Wildife 2009 FAST Symposium
Climate Change is an important but controversial issue
PEW Survey Finds Less than ½ of Adults Accept Concept of Human-Induced Climate Change 1)From what you have read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature of the earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades? (Yes/No/I Dont Know) – Directly from PEW survey 2)If yes, then: a) Mostly due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels b) Mostly because of natural patterns in the earths environment c) Dont know
Objectives For This Research In order to understand how to teach climate change more effectively, I need to know what opinions students have about climate change coming into the course and what factors may be influencing their opinions. Objectives: a) determine what influences students incoming opinions about climate change b) evaluate the effectiveness of passive vs. active learning strategies in shaping post-course opinions about climate change. Teaching Goal:
Methods - Surveys - An initial 15 question survey asked for student opinions on climate change and what sources of information had the most influence - A follow-up survey at the end of the semester asked the same questions, but also included questions on science educational background, opinions about science and scientists, and a brief assessment of scientific literacy. - Surveys were given to two environmental science courses for non- majors: a) FW 203 Resource Ecology (class I taught Spring semester) b) ISP 217 Water and the Environment
Methods - Surveys Example survey questions: - From what you have read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature of the earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades? (Yes/No/I Dont Know) If yes, then: a) Mostly due to human activities such as burning fossil fuels b) Mostly because of natural patterns in the earths environment c) Dont know - Rate on a scale from 1-5, how much influence each of the following sources had on your opinion about climate change before taking this course (1 = very influential, 5 = non influential) a) What Ive learned from previous classes b) Opinions of friends and family….. f) What Ive seen from watching the news
Initial Survey Results Students taking these courses already have a higher acceptance rate of human-induced global warming coming into the course than adults in the PEW survey.
Initial Survey Results Specific associations between climate change opinions and a number of co-factors including, measures of scientific literacy, science background and opinions about scientists, are still being analyzed.
Follow-up Survey Results The follow-up survey indicated that acceptance rates of human-induced global warming increased to nearly 90% in the FW203 course and 71% in the ISP course.
Follow-up Survey Results – Active vs. Passive Learning Examples of Active Learning - Group presentations on climate change solutions
Next Steps and Implications Analyze specific associations between climate change opinions and co-factors including: measures of scientific literacy, science background and opinions about scientists - A preliminary analysis indicates that students appear less likely to accept climate change if they dont believe there is a consensus among scientists. Emphasize hard-data in lectures and perhaps tie this into active learning activities such as analyzing a CO 2 or temperature data set from multiple observatories.
Acknowledgements Kendra Cheruvelil (Mentor) FAST Steering Committee Fellow FAST students QUESTIONS?
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