Developing a Learning Progression for Sustainability
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Developing a Learning Progression for Sustainability Elizabeth de los Santos, May Lee, and Andy Anderson Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864. Overview

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Developing a Learning Progression for Sustainability

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Developing a learning progression for sustainability

Developing a Learning Progression for Sustainability

Elizabeth de los Santos, May Lee, and Andy Anderson

Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864

Overview

We present preliminary data and analysis from interviews of undergraduate students about their ideas on sustainability.

Within the context of ongoing collaborations with POSOH (UW Madison) and GLBRC Education & Outreach, we focus on the supply and waste chains for corn and gasoline.

Preliminary results indicate that students show varying levels of understanding of the inputs, processes, and outputs associated with the production and disposal of corn and gasoline.

  • Patterns in Student Responses

  • All students exhibited gaps in their understanding of supply chains (e.g., where corn seeds come from, difference between field corn and sweet corn).

  • Few students trace matter through systems from input → processes → outputs → processes → input.

  • Few students connect soil fertility with the nitrogen cycle (e.g., crop rotation is good for fertility).

  • As students compare different production systems, they bring in social and economic aspects in their explanations.

  • Interview Protocol

  • Part I: CORN

  • Where does corn come from?

  • What happens to the corn when you eat it?

  • Corn can be grown in many different ways. What is similar and different about growing corn in a small-scale community garden, a large-scale industrial farm, and a Native American method called the “Three Sisters”?

  • Part II: FUEL

  • Where does gasoline, ethanol, and the electricity for a electric vehicle come from?

  • What are the environmental impacts of each?

  • Rank them from least to most sustainable.

  • Part III: SUSTAINABILITY

  • What do you think sustainable means? Which of these is most sustainable, and why?

  • In order for a practice or system to be most sustainable, how far into the future do you think we should be concerned about?

  • Next Steps

  • We plan to interview middle school and high school students at the end of this month.

  • We also plan to continue analysis of the interviews.

Contact Information

Andy Anderson

[email protected]

Elizabeth de los Santos

[email protected]

May Lee

[email protected]

Acknowledgements

Support for this project is provided by POSOH and GLBRC.

We thank Josh Rosenberg, Joyce Parker, and Jonathan Schramm for their contributions to this project.

Part of this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE 0707432. Materials are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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