2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Active-Learning Strategies: A Different Approach to Teaching Climate Change to Idaho Students

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jen Pierce


In order for Idaho’s next generation to adapt to climate change, our school system needs to prioritize an understanding of the basic drivers and consequences of climate change, which helps prepare our students for the future. In many cases, it is difficult for educators to compare the conflicting information presented to them and decide on the factual evidence they teach their students. The scientific consensus is humans are affecting our environment in a significant way, and our science educational standards should reflect this. It is crucial that students take an active role in their learning to understand the complex mechanisms involved in climate change. This study analyzes the effectiveness of active-learning strategies in climate education and implements lesson plans to supplement kindergarten through sixth grade learning. Topics taught include: the ocean as a carbon sink, the carbon cycle, and greenhouse gases. The primary method of applying these strategies is outreach events where active learning is fostered through a logical flow of science experiments where students are asked to make connections based on previous observations. Results show that students are best able to draw conclusions when they take an active part in this learning process.

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