A National Science Foundation grant will support formal and informal teachers in integrating climate change in science education in Delaware and Maryland.

Climate change funding

Partnership will bring teachers, scientists together on topic of climate change

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2:39 p.m., Aug. 15, 2012--Delaware and Maryland teachers will have new resources to integrate climate change science into the classroom, thanks to a major multimillion dollar initiative announced by the National Science Foundation today.

The $5.8 million cooperative agreement supports implementation of the Maryland-Delaware Climate Change Education, Assessment, and Research (MADE CLEAR) partnership, an effort to forge new ways to deliver effective and relevant climate change education that could serve as a national model.

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The MADE CLEAR partnership brings together of a group of experts in the fields of climate science and education, led by the University System of Maryland and University of Delaware, to provide a system of support for teachers in Maryland and Delaware. Focusing on grades 8-12, the network will also engage universities, state departments of education, and educators from natural resources agencies, museums, and aquariums.

"MADE CLEAR will connect Maryland and Delaware students and citizens with the world in which they live by fostering a greater understanding of why the climate is changing and the consequences within our two states," said Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and MADE CLEAR director. "Our goal is to provide a basis for our citizens, today and tomorrow, to make individual and collective choices for limiting the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its consequences."

Climate change is a complex and sensitive topic to teach, touching on economic, social, political and scientific issues to a greater degree than most other science topics. The MADE CLEAR partnership encourages scientists and educators to work together to ensure scientific objectivity and accuracy in the classroom and promote critical thinking.

Rather than introducing climate change science as a new subject in an already crowded curriculum, the goal is to integrate understanding of climate change within new science standards and environmental literacy requirements in Maryland and Delaware schools.

“As the world around us changes in many ways, it’s important educators stay current with cutting-edge science,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell. “This partnership provides a way to engage and inform the teachers who will be instructing the emerging workforce for jobs of the future.”

"The goal is for students to emerge with better knowledge of the science behind climate-related issues," said Nancy Targett, dean of UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. "They can then better understand implications for our health, coasts, water supplies, farms and forests.”

The partnership brings together scientists from the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware who are engaged in various aspects of climate change research, ranging from atmospheric physics and chemistry to the effects of climate change on ecosystems and human health. This expertise is already being utilized by local, state and federal governments and businesses in understanding what impacts climate change will have on their assets, people, and ecosystems. 

"The goal is to develop a learning community involving scientists, teacher educators, and teachers to support each other during professional development activities and follow-up classroom assistance," said Nancy Shapiro, University System of Maryland associate vice chancellor.

"MADE CLEAR will support the development and distribution of teaching approaches and materials, and evaluate their effectiveness," said Nancy Brickhouse, interim provost and professor of science education at UD. "In that way, we can strive not only for continuous improvement in our two states, but be a model for the nation."

MADE CLEAR is led by the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware and includes participation of faculty members from the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and Towson University. 

Key to the partnership is the participation of the Maryland State Department of Education, the Delaware Department of Education, Maryland Public Television and state and federal science agencies, including the state departments of environmental and natural resources, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This project is one of six Phase II projects being funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Climate Change Education Partnership (CCEP) program. The CCEP program is a one-time, dedicated NSF effort to establish a coordinated national network of regionally- or thematically-based partnerships devoted to increasing the adoption of effective, high quality educational programs and resources related to the science of climate change and its impacts. The vision of this program is a scientifically literate society that can effectively weigh the evidence regarding global climate change as it confronts the challenges ahead, while developing the innovative scientific and technical workforce to advance our knowledge of human-climate interactions and develop approaches for a sustainable, prosperous future. 

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