Dormody, T., Skelton, P., Rodriguez, G., Dubois, D., & Vanleeuwen, D. (2021). Assessing the impact of a weather and climate curriculum on youth science comprehension. Journal of Agricultural Education, 62(3), 153-166. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2021.03153
The researchers developed a youth weather and climate curriculum using a science comprehension model that integrates experiential and inquiry-based learning approaches with developing science knowledge, science skills, and reasoning abilities. The purpose of this study was to pilot the curriculum to determine if it would improve youth science comprehension. Participants were 8th grade, predominately Hispanic and economically disadvantaged youths, at a middle school in Las Vegas, New Mexico served by an innovative Extension youth agricultural science center. Youths were taught five weather and climate science lessons that included setting up experiments and developing and testing hypotheses for local climate trends from online weather station data. After being taught the curriculum, youths improved in overall science comprehension and its subdimensions of science knowledge, science skills, and reasoning abilities. Their science comprehension also improved for four of five lessons. The number of youths preferring learning by doing over other learning modalities also increased from pretest to posttest. Youths most frequently mentioned the experiments, that the earth is getting warmer, and the greenhouse effect and gasses when asked what interested them about the lessons. Pilot test results were used to strengthen the curriculum before making it available to educators online. Further research is recommended to establish the curriculum’s impact on science comprehension retention and on science comprehension development when the curriculum is used as part of an elementary to secondary learning progression.