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Research Project: MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR CONSERVATION OF WESTERN RANGELANDS

Location: Range Management Research

Title: Climate change and the water cycle: A new southwest regional climate hub curriculum unit for 6th-12th grade students

Author
item STEELE, CAITI - New Mexico State University
item Elias, Emile
item BESTELMEYER, STEPHANIE - Non ARS Employee
item HAAN-AMATO, STEPHANIE - Non ARS Employee
item DESWOOD, HELENA - New Mexico State University
item Rango, Albert
item Havstad, Kris

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2015
Publication Date: 12/16/2015
Citation: Steele, C., Elias, E.H., Bestelmeyer, S., Haan-Amato, S., Deswood, H., Rango, A., Havstad, K.M. 2015. Climate change and the water cycle: A new southwest regional climate hub curriculum unit for 6th-12th grade students (abstract). 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, December 14-18, 2015. San Francisco, CA. ED33A-0935.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: As climate change intensifies, increased temperatures and altered precipitation will make water, a limited resource in the arid southwestern United States, even scarcer in many locations. The USDA Southwest Regional Climate Hub (SWRCH) developed Climate Change and the Water Cycle, an engaging and scientifically rigorous education unit for 6th -12th grade students. The unit is aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Nine activities can be conducted over 10 instruction hours. Each activity can also stand alone. In partnership with SWRCH, the Asombro Institute for Science Education developed the unit. Each activity was reviewed by an educator for educational practices and by a scientist for scientific accuracy. The unit was pilot tested with 524 students in 2014, and pre- and post-tests were administered. Ninety-one percent of students were able to name a greenhouse gas on the post-test, compared to only 48% on the pre-test. On the post-test, 86% of students identified the relationship between average global temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, compared to only 52% on the pre-test. A student commented: “I loved all of the activities! They are fun and help us understand about what goes on in the world.” Educators who participated in pilot testing said: “the entire curriculum is great, but I was particularly impressed with the progression of ideas and the variety of lessons,” and “students could see the relevance and importance of these real life issues.”