Pre-service course at City College of New York strengthens GLOBE in NY classrooms
The City College of New York is part of a city-wide university system whose mission is to advance knowledge and critical thinking in those who have a tenacious desire to learn, lead, and contribute to the greater good of society. Towards this goal, we offer a Principles of Environmental Science course that is incorporated into degree programs for Undergraduate pre-service teachers majoring in Childhood Education, as well as a version for Graduate candidates in Middle or Secondary Science Education. This course is structured around GLOBE protocols that teachers in a city environment could easily incorporate into their curriculum. For the Spring 2019 semester, we have a cohort of in-service teachers of grades 3-9 taking this course with tuition paid for by the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) grant program through the New York City Department of Education. As part of this grant, we can also provide the teachers with a kit of lab materials to keep for their classrooms, which will allow them to complete the GLOBE protocols they have learned with their students.
One of the main challenges of implementing GLOBE in the classroom that we hear from teachers is contextualizing protocols within the curriculum they are required to teach. A university course incorporating GLOBE protocols allows for making connections among the GLOBE spheres, environmental and political issues, and the overall science curriculum. Teachers in the course select one issue relating to the environment (such as Combined Sewage Overflows, a local issue in New York City describing how our old sewer system overflows into waterways during heavy rains), and complete assignments to make connections among this issue and the atmosphere, pedosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. At the end of the semester, teachers will present on these issues, their connections to GLOBE, and related age-appropriate protocols they could do in their classrooms.
Our course also stresses ecology by connecting the GLOBE spheres through three environmental cycles: the nitrogen cycle (describing how atmospheric nitrogen is made available to plants by bacteria in the soil, and is then released back in the atmosphere), the water cycle (describing how water moves through clouds, precipitation, is stored in soil and surface water, and is used by living things), and the carbon cycle (describing how carbon is stored in the pedosphere and is released in natural and anthropogenic processes, allowing us to discuss climate change). We also go on a field trip to the Hudson River, where teachers can perform a variety of hydrosphere protocols to help them answer questions about the health of the waterway.
This contextualization aids students in creating an overall curriculum plan for their school year, finding creative ways to bring in GLOBE protocols and activities into their lessons, impacting hundreds of New York City students each year.
- Contributed by Rebekah Schiller, City College of New York
News origin: United States of America