Enhancing Students' Scientific and Quantitative Literacies through an Inquiry-Based Learning Project on Climate Change

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Aaron M McCright

Abstract

Promoting sustainability and dealing with complex environmental problems like climate change demand a citizenry with considerable scientific and quantitative literacy. In particular, students in the STEM disciplines of (biophysical) science, technology, engineering, and mathematics need to develop interdisciplinary skills that help them understand the social dynamics of environmental problems and solutions. To this end, this study examines how participation in a semester-long inquiry-based learning project that involves sociological research on climate change beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors enhances the scientific and quantitative literacies of STEM students. The results suggest that participation in a sociological inquiry-based learning project helps STEM students to (a) improve their knowledge of scientific and statistical principles and processes, (b) hone their scientific research skills, and (c) gain respect for sociology specifically and social science more generally. While the inquiry-based learning project described here deals with climate change, educators can adapt it to deal with other environmental social science research topics (e.g., water use, energy conservation, food security, sustainability).

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How to Cite
McCright, A. (2012). Enhancing Students’ Scientific and Quantitative Literacies through an Inquiry-Based Learning Project on Climate Change. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 12(4), 86-101. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/josotl/article/view/2050
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Articles
Author Biography

Aaron M McCright, Lyman Briggs College and Department of Sociology, Michigan State University

Aaron M. McCright is Associate Professor of Sociology in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Sociology at Michigan State University.