Earth Day 2020
Since 1970, Earth Day has served as an opportunity for society to examine our actions and explore the impact that humankind has had on the planet. At the heart of its mission is education: "to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide." For 2020, in recognition of its 50th anniversary, the theme for Earth Day 2020 is "Climate Action."
Environmental science is a discipline than many ITEST projects have explored over the programs' 17 years. Engaging students in exploration of their communities and empowering them to solve real-world problems has been an effective method of introducing STEM subjects and inspiring youth to pursue science careers.
In recognition of Earth Day, below is a selection of projects, curriculum materials, instruments and publications that have focused on environmental research.
Voices to Hear (V2H): Native American Youth Learning About Environmental Sciences, Related Careers and Engaging Their Communities through Podcasts
This project will use the oral tradition of storytelling to empower Native American students (middle school, high school and college) to engage in environmental decision-making and scientific communication, while building a stronger sense of their ethnic identity.
Engaging Secondary Students in Regionally Relevant Science Topics Through Videography
Middle and high school students from low-income backgrounds and other groups underrepresented in STEM fields will participate in a summer program and a school-year program to produce videos documenting the effects of environmental changes on their lives and communities.
Marine Technology for Teachers and Students (MaTTS)
Over 70 teachers, 1800 high school students and 900 middle school students in urban and suburban RI and CT districts during the course of the program will interact with cutting edge research technologies related to exploring the global ocean.
Broadening Interest in Geosciences, Habitat, and Technology among Girls
This project will build on high school Alaskan girls' general interest in biology and the natural environment to develop new interests in areas such as ecosystem dynamics, geophysical dynamics, and use of technologies, such as remote sensing.
Building STEM Identity and Career Interests in Native American Students By Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Remote Sensing Technologies
The project is designed to develop, implement and assess an educational model intended to improve Native American student science identity through culturally relevant use of technology that can directly improve the well being of their communities. The project will engage 90 low-income, high school Native American students from the rural Nez Perce Reservation in Idaho through a program of educational activities centered on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and remote sensing.
Middle Schoolers Out to Save the World (MSOSW) Curriculum
The Middle Schoolers Out to Save the World (MSOSW) curriculum uses data gathered by students to develop optimum scenarios for conserving energy and reducing the global production of greenhouse gases.
The Arctic Climate Modeling Program: Professional Development for Rural Teachers
The Arctic Climate Modeling Program (ACMP) offered yearlong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professional development to teachers in rural Alaska. Teacher training focused on introducing youth to workforce technologies used in Arctic research. Due to challenges in making professional development accessible to rural teachers, ACMP modified the traditional ITEST format, instead offering unique “curriculum resource-based professional development” that provided a year-round mix of training options for 165 teachers.
Socio-Environmental Science Investigations
Socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) are a series of secondary level geospatial investigations that focus on social issues related to environmental science. The investigations focus on local problems and utilize fieldwork to gather data in a local setting. Students use the Esri Collector app to gather geo-referenced data outside their school. The student-collected data is then shared into a Cloud-based map service over the Internet.
“You know you can do this, right?”: Developing geospatial technological pedagogical content knowledge (GS-TPACK) and enhancing teachers’ cartographic behaviors with Socio-Environmental Science Investigations (SESI).
Many barriers exist to K–12 classroom teachers’ adoption and implementation of geospatial technologies with their students. To address this circumstance, we have developed and implemented a geospatial curriculum approach to promote teachers’ professional growth with curriculum-linked professional development (PD) to support the adoption of socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) in an urban school environment that includes reluctant learners.
The Nature Relatedness Scale
Disconnection from the natural world may be contributing to our planet's destruction. The authors propose a new construct, Nature Relatedness (NR), and a scale that assesses the affective, cognitive, and experiential aspects of individuals' connection to nature. In Study 1, the authors explored the internal structure of the NR item responses in a sample of 831 participants using factor analysis. They tested the construct validity of NR with respect to an assortment of environmental and personality measures.
The Impact of Environmental Education on Sense of Place Among Urban Youth
Research suggests that an ecologically informed sense of place, including strong place attachment and ecological place meaning, contributes to pro-environmental behaviors. Yet it is unclear whether an intervention such as environmental education can intentionally influence sense of place, especially in cities. To investigate the impact of urban environmental education programs on sense of place, we used pre/post surveys of youth in 5-week environmental and non-environmental summer youth programs in the Bronx, New York City, in 2010.
EcoScienceWorks: Exploring and Modeling Ecosystems Using Information Technology
Twenty-five seventh and eighth grade teachers and 150 of their students in Maine engage in computer modeling, simple programming and analysis of GIS data coupled with hands-on field experiences in ecology.
The Urban Tree Project: Using Geographic Information Systems to Determine the Ecological Value of Neighborhood Trees
Geospatial technologies have emerged over the last 15 years as one of the key tools used by environmental scientists (NRC 2006). In fact, educators have recognized that coupling geospatial technologies with environmental science topics and scientific datasets opens the door to local and regional scientific investigations (McInerney 2006). Over the last three years, we have been working to provide tools, curriculum, and resources that allow students to learn science through authentic inquiries using their own scientific data.
Watch these three videos made by ITEST project GreenTECH! These videos give you insight into environmental engineering. In the first video, meet Adam, a mechanical engineer who works in an NYC power plant. The second video features Team Reakter, a team of green battery experts. Finally, the last video features Levi and Ozgem, two energy activists, who will show you how to get your community excited about saving energy.