Project Learning Tree Secondary Module
PINEMAP has partnered with Project Learning Tree to develop, test, and implement a new secondary environmental education module, Southeastern Forests and Climate Change. This module provides educators with the necessary information and resources to engage secondary students in lessons about climate change, forest ecosystems, the carbon cycle, pine tree genetics, modeling, and life cycle assessments. The module explores these concepts in 13 experiential activities that are based on PINEMAP’s interdisciplinary research. The activities incorporate technology, data analysis, critical thinking, and system-thinking skills to encourage students to understand the connections between human, biological, and physical systems.
The activities are designed for students in grades 9 through 12, though many could be adapted for middle school or college students. With its application of climate change to forest ecosystems and management, this module is intended to be used by life science, biology, agriculture, and environmental science teachers. To help educators address curriculum standards, each activity has been correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards and the Project Learning Tree Conceptual Framework.
This module is designed to help students
- Understand how climate change could impact forests in the southeastern U.S.;
- Understand how forests can be managed to address changing climate conditions and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Enhance decision-making skills to make informed choices as consumers to mitigate climate change;
- Develop systems-thinking skills to see connections between climate change, forests, and people;
- Recognize that individual and community actions can help mitigate and adapt to climate change; and
- Become part of future community conversations about climate change and potential solutions.
The module website (http://sfrc.ufl.edu/extension/ee/climate) provides online access to the activities and includes supplemental materials and resources. Educators will find teacher tools including audio-visual tours of the activities that include tips for leading, quizzes that gauge content comprehension prior to teaching each lesson, and videos and interactive tools that provide background information for each activity. Activity webpages also include download options for slide presentations and student worksheets in modifiable format so that educators can adapt the materials to better meet their needs.
The module is currently being pilot tested with 65 teachers in the Southeast. Their experiences and observations after implementing the activities will be used to evaluate and revise the module. The final version of the module will be released fall 2014.