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  1. Alec Bodzin
  2. http://www.lehigh.edu/~amb4/
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  5. Lehigh University
  1. Tom Hammond
  2. https://confluence.cc.lehigh.edu/spaces/viewspace.action?key=~tch207
  3. Associate Professor
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  5. Lehigh University
  1. Kate Popejoy
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  4. Popejoy STEM

Socio-Environmental Science Investigations Using the Geospatial Curriculum Ap...

NSF Awards: 1614216

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 9-12

This ITEST project has developed, implemented, and evaluated a series of innovative socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) using a geospatial curriculum approach that has provided economically disadvantaged students in the 9th grade of the Building 21 school in Allentown, PA with technology-rich geospatial learning experiences to develop STEM-related skills. SESI focus on social issues related to environmental science. These issues are multi-disciplinary, involve decision-making that is based on the analysis of scientific data connected to relevant social science content, and has implications for social equity. This project used a design partnership between Lehigh University natural science professors, social science professors, education professors, Building 21 science and social studies school teachers, and STEM professionals in the local community to develop geospatial investigations with Web GIS that are designed to prepare students with skills, and career awareness, to motivate them to pursue appropriate education pathways for STEM-related occupations. The learning activities provide opportunities for students to collaborate, seek evidence, problem-solve, master technology, develop geospatial thinking and reasoning skills, and practice communication skills that are essential for the STEM workplace.

This project attends to a significant challenge in STEM education: the recognized deficiency in quality locally-based and relevant high school curriculum for under-represented students that focuses on local social issues related to the environment. Environmental issues have great societal relevance and because many environmental problems have a disproportionate impact on underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, they provide a compelling subject of study for students from these groups in developing STEM-related skills.

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