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Development of a grades 6-12 learning progression for biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

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Written by: LAUREL HARTLEY1, ANDY ANDERSON2, ALAN BERKOWITZ4, JENNIFER DOHERTY2, SHAWNA MCMAHON3, JOHN MOORE3, CORNELIA HARRIS4, JONATHON SCHRAMM2, BROOK WILKE2

Culturally relevant ecology, learning progressions and environmental literacy

Long Term Ecological Research Math Science Partnership

April 2011

Disclaimer: This research is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation: Targeted Partnership: Culturally relevant ecology, learning progressions and environmental literacy (NSF-0832173). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


Development of a grades 6-12 learning progression for biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

LAUREL HARTLEY1, ANDY ANDERSON2, ALAN BERKOWITZ4, JENNIFER DOHERTY2, SHAWNA MCMAHON3, JOHN MOORE3, CORNELIA HARRIS4, JONATHON SCHRAMM2, BROOK WILKE2

UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER1, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY2, COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY3, CARY INSTITUTE of ECOSYSTEM STUDIES4


Who we are

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Who we are

  • Ecologists + Science Education Researchers + Teachers + Grades 6-12 Students


Pathways to Environmental Science Literacy Project biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Andy Anderson, Brook Wilke, Jennifer Doherty, Jon Schramm et al. MSU

Beth Covitt,

Univ. of MT

Bob Mayes,

Sylvia Parker,

et al. Univ. of Wyoming

Karen Draney, UC Berkeley

Lia Harris, Eric Keeling, et al. Cary Institute, NY

John Moore,

Kim Melville-Smith, Ray Tschillard, Bill Hoyt, Laurel Hartley NREL, CSU, UC Denver, UNC

Alan Berkowitz, Bess Caplan, Sarah Haines, et al. Cary and Towson University

Ali Whitmer, Scott Simon, et al. UCSB and Georgetown Univ.

Kristen Gunckel, Univ. of AZ

Bob Waide, LNO

Many others:


Why do we need biodiversity literacy

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Why do we need biodiversity literacy?

  • Biodiversity is rapidly declining


Why do we need biodiversity literacy1

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Why do we need biodiversity literacy?

  • Species perform vital ecosystem functions/services.


Why do we need biodiversity literacy2

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Why do we need biodiversity literacy?

  • The more diverse a population or community is, the more resistant it might be to perturbations like disease


Why do we need biodiversity literacy3
Why do we need biodiversity literacy? biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

How much do citizens need to know to make sense of the information in popular media and policy?

How can a reader decide whether to trust claims, especially when reports are contested in popular press?

Should we expect citizens to make or accept changes in policies that affect them on the basis of simplified popular media, leaving “technical details” to the experts?


Goal of our work

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Goal of our Work

  • Develop a grades 6-12 learning progression for biodiversity


Our working definition of a learning progression

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Our working definition of a learning progression

  • Learning progressions are descriptions of increasingly sophisticated ways of thinking about a subject.

  • Conceptual coherence: “make sense”/ tell a reasonable story

  • Empirical validation: grounded in empirical data about real students

  • Compatibility with current research: built on findings of the best research about both student learning and scientific thought


Informed by builds upon corroborates

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Informed by, builds upon, corroborates

  • Anderson

  • Catley, Lehrer, and Resler

  • Duncan

  • Furtak

  • Metz

  • Nehm

  • Schauble and Lehrer

  • Songer and Gotwals

  • and others


Upper anchor framework

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Upper Anchor Framework


Upper anchor framework1

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Upper Anchor Framework


Upper anchor framework2

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Upper Anchor Framework


Upper anchor framework3

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Upper Anchor Framework


Methods biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy

Observe patterns in student thinking (literature search and pilot studies)

Define ContentArea

Construct a model about we how think students progress

Revise the model

teaching experiments

assessments

Test the model


Methods

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Methods

Written Assessments

(MD, NY, CO, MI, CA)


Methods1

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Methods

Clinical Interviews

(MD, NY, CO, MI, CA)

Written Assessments

(MD, NY, CO, MI, CA)


Methods2

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Methods

  • Created rubrics for each item with 10 student answers

  • Attempted rubrics with 30 student answers, refined rubrics

  • Used rubrics to code interview data

    • Refined rubrics

    • Eliminated unreliable questions

  • Coded all student answers with refined rubrics

    • 10% of answers were coded by multiple coders

    • Less than 80% reliability led to another round of developmental coding

  • IRT analysis is on-going


Basic learning progression

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Basic Learning Progression

Upper Anchor

Lower Anchor


Outline
Outline biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

  • Paper 1: Development of a Grade 6-12 Learning Progression for Biodiversity:  an Overview of the Approach, Framework, and Key Findings, Laurel Hartley

  • Paper 2: The Role of Heredity and Environment in Students’ Accounts of Adaptation by Selection and Phenotypic Plasticity, Jennifer Doherty

  • Paper 3: Endangered Species Conservation as a Context for Understanding Student Thinking about Genetic Diversity, Shawna McMahon

  • Paper 4: Student understanding of species diversity in ecosystems, Jonathon Schramm, Brook Wilke

  • Paper 5: Using complexity in food webs to teach biodiversity, Cornelia Harris


Characteristics of levels individual scale

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Characteristics of Levels: Individual Scale

  • See individuals as static life forms  recognize change in individuals over life cycles and seasons

  • Type I survivorship curves  Type II and III survivorship curves

  • Recognize traits of individuals  connect trait with function and environment


Characteristics of levels population scale

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Characteristics of Levels: Population Scale

  • Recognize Individuals/families  recognize populations within communities

  • Traits of individuals shaped by free will  traits shaped by genetics moderated by environment

  • All survive  survival in face of strong selection pressures  recognize reproduction as important, recognize weak as well as strong selection

  • Phenotypic plasticity as rationale for “free will” explanation  as rationale for genetic explanation

  • Change within generation  long-time  generational time


Characteristics of levels community scale

Learning Progressions for Environmental Literacy biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

Characteristics of Levels: Community Scale

  • See direct biotic interactions  also see indirect, resource-mediated interactions, see time lags from action to response

  • Simplistic view of connections  recognition of variable strengths of connections, recognition of functional redundancy

  • Change only from catastrophic events or human intervention  change as constant and mediated by interplay among biota and abiotic environment

  • Isolated landscapeslandscape mosaics

  • don’t invoke dispersal see dispersal as important and moderated by traits


Future directions
Future Directions biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings

  • Teaching Experiment (N=1200)

  • Revisions of 2010 Assessments and Framework

    • Plasticity

    • Importance of weaker selection pressures

    • Socio-ecological contexts

  • Differences among students

    • Demographics

    • Schools and teaching practices

  • Incorporating learning progression teaching strategies into our teacher professional development


Questions

Questions? biodiversity: an overview of approach, framework and key findings


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