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Research Projects - Climate Change (Track 1)
The goal of the Education component is to develop educational infrastructure to train students and teachers at all levels to be leaders in climate change research and provide public outreach on climate change issues. Integration of climate change education and research will be enhanced through delivering training programs, developing K-12 curricular materials, and providing courses. Science research teams will be developed from K-12 teachers, community college students, university undergraduates, and graduate students. Researchers on these teams will work with educators in developing new curriculum materials for middle schools, community colleges, and universities. Assessment will be coordinated with schools to ensure that all state standards are met and learning is enhanced through integration of climate change science.
An undergraduate research program focused on climate change within the NSHE system will be developed and an NSF EPSCoR funded Climate Change Scholarship program offered annually to a total of thirty community college and university students focused on climate change and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) research. Two annual poster sessions will be held and an annual two-day undergraduate research symposium. New courses on climate change will be offered through UNR and UNLV and taught using distance education to allow students at multiple NSHE campuses to enroll. At the graduate level, a fellowship program will be created in which 12-19 students annually will be accepted to work with NSHE faculty to obtain a certificate in climate change as part of their graduate degree.
To culminate these efforts, a symposium on climate change education will be held during the summer at the beginning of the second year of the program and will include educators at all levels within Nevada and professionals from outside the state. The symposium will focus on a comprehensive evaluation of current climate change educational activities at NSHE institutions and provide a guideline for developing and selecting new courses and integrating curriculum.
Annual Report Highlights
Virtual Game Technology Improves Understanding of Climate Change Impacts on Lake Mead, NV
Outcome: An educational computer game was created and pilot tested for teaching middle and high school students, as well as the general public about the reasons Lake Mead water levels are dwindling. The game explores the serious implications for the region’s water supply, the contributions of climate change, and possible solutions.
Impact: The game has been installed in the Las Vegas Natural History Museum and will be installed at the Alan Bible Visitor Center at Lake Mead. These sites are visited annually by thousands of patrons. The game has been field tested at three middle schools and is now available on the web for other schools to use.
Explanation: Climate change has a direct impact on the low levels of water in Lake Mead. To measure and assess how much change is occurring and the impact these changes will have on Lake Mead as a water resource, this virtual game takes scenarios of current water levels and provides data to assess what can happen in the future from various conservation options. It is a tool for science education in an easy-to-use interactive platform that the public will understand.
Selected screenshots of the Losing the Lake game (artwork by J. Vesco & F. Harris, ©E. M. Nussbaum)
Authors: E. M. Nussbaum, G. M. Sinatra, S. Ahmad, and M.C. Owens, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; F. Harris, S. Dascalu, and J. Vesco; University of Nevada, Reno
This work was supported by NSF Cooperative Agreement EPS-‐0814372 to the Nevada System of Higher Education.