Earth Institute Research Projects

Strengthening Environmental-STEM Impact and Identity in Elementary After-School Programs

Lead PI: Allison Bridges

Unit Affiliation: Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management (SPM)

March 2019 - July 2020
North America
Project Type: Research Outreach Education

DESCRIPTION: Drawing from the ongoing environmental-STEM focus area of the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) as well as ongoing sustainability curriculum development taking place in the Earth Institute of Columbia University, this project contributes to the development of innovative approaches to learning in STEM fields by establishing students as lead explorers in virtual expeditions that collect data on issues of global environmental importance such as polar ecosystems, atmospheric conditions, forest conservation, and land use change. Solutions oriented learning allows for a greater understanding of the contextual importance of STEM practices as well as the interconnection of local and global communities.

OUTCOMES: The project advances the development of programs that increase motivation and develop capacities for careers in STEM fields by engaging 4th and 5th grade students, including traditionally under-served students, in a hands-on after-school curriculum. Specific project objectives are to: (1) strengthen competency in STEM fields and systems-based learning as evidenced by pre and post-tests, and (2) identify activities that increase motivation for STEM learning by engaging students in technology enhanced student-led explorations of global ecosystems.