Laura Zangori

University of Missouri

To act on energy issues, students need a strong understanding of energy flow and energy efficiency. However, students rarely have opportunities to learn about how buildings, such as their own school, drive about 40% of energy use and global carbon emissions. Addressing this gap in science education, this project will design, pilot, and evaluate a 6-week middle school curriculum called Build it Green! (BIG!). Blending classroom experiences and interactive digital learning tools, the researchers will work with rural middle schools in Missouri to implement and test how following the story of energy flow in and out of a hypothetical school building enhances students’ understanding of energy systems in the science of green buildings.

University of Missouri-Columbia

This exploratory project will design, pilot, and evaluate a 10-week, energy literacy curriculum unit for a program called Energy and Your Environment (EYE). In the EYE curriculum, students will study energy use and transfer in their own school buildings. They will explore how Earth systems supply renewable and nonrenewable energy, and how these energy sources are transformed and transferred from Earth systems to a school building to meet its daily energy requirements.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for supporting student learning about viral outbreaks and other complex societal issues. Given the complexity of issues like viral outbreaks, engaging learners with different types of models (e.g., mechanistic, computational and system models) is critical. However, there is little research available regarding how learners coordinate sense making across different models. This project will address the gap by studying student learning with different types of models and will use these findings to develop and study new curriculum materials that incorporate multiple models for teaching about viral epidemics in high school biology classes.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)

This research project will produce curricular materials designed to help students learn about viral epidemics as both a scientific and social issue. It will engage students in scientific modeling of the epidemic and in critical analyses of media and public health information about the virus. This approach helps students connect their classroom learning experiences with their lives beyond school, a key characteristic of science literacy.