Steven Barone

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Petcovic

Second Advisor

Dr. Carla Korestsky

Third Advisor

Dr. Duane Hampton


Inquiry, climate, change, unit, lessons

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of this action research study is to develop and evaluate a sequence of four lessons for an introductory earth science course taken by future elementary teachers. Action research is a reflective process of data collection and analysis used by teachers to improve their classroom practice. This study’s goal is to produce a series of lessons that align with the course philosophy of student-driven learning through guided-inquiry and are effective at improving students’ understanding of climate change.

Three data sets were used to evaluate the lessons: 1) student knowledge gains on an objective pre- and post-test, 2) students’ self-reported confidence with the lesson content, and 3) classroom observations to monitor lesson implementation and student engagement. Data analysis in the Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 semesters reveal that students were able to identify natural mechanisms that cause climate to change, distinguish between weather and climate, and identify greenhouse gases as contributing to global warming. However, they struggle with interpreting graphs and identifying how natural processes affect the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These results guide changes for future lesson implementation to complete the action research study.

201304_Barone_S_HSIRB.pdf (111 kB)
HSIRB Approval