Learning Across Natural and Social Sciences: Using a Social and Ecological Framework
Sunday, August 9, 2015: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Peale C, Hilton
Rebecca Jordan, Rutgers University
Rachael Shwom, Rutgers University
In this workshop we will describe a Socio-Ecological Teaching Climate Change framework. This framework draws on typical elements of the natural sciences (e.g. model-building, accounting for uncertainty, temporal and spatial variation, controlling variables) and on social science traditions and norms important to the development of environmental social science knowledge (e.g. building conceptual frameworks, schools of thought, interpretation, abstraction, cultural relativism, qualitative methods). Because we merge both traditions, those who seek to teach climate across disciplinary boundaries will have this opportunity to explore interdisciplinary elements of climate mitigation and adaptation. We will follow this description with practice using a rubric that features the practices/habits of mind that researchers engage to understand and model the coupled human- climate system. By highlighting thinking strategies instead of curricula, educators can better address assessment targets that will help guide curricula toward an interdisciplinary view of research and support of claims. We suggest that encouraging students to move beyond mimicking research practice in a limited context and instead applying a framework of thinking in which they work to define problems will broaden their understanding of research. Further, engaging students with this framework is expected to contextualize environmental problems, thus removing them from abstraction and placing them within real-world and timely issues.