Gilly Puttick, Eli Tucker-Raymond, Michael Cassidy, & J. Barnes
This paper examines the ways in which eight 8th grade science teachers took up computational practices as a learning goal for their students as part of a game design unit focusing on systems of climate change. Data were taken from the first two years of a two year design research study.
The need for more U.S. students to be motivated to pursue STEM careers has been well documented (Guzey et al., 2014; National Research Council, 2009). Students’ attitudes and efficacy towards STEM topics are important factors that influence students to learn about STEM subjects (Maltese & Tai, 2011). This paper examines students’ self-efficacy, beliefs about persistence, and attitudes towards game design, science, computing, and climate change. The data for this study are taken from Year 2 of a design-based research project that seeks to integrate scientific concepts, science practices, and meaningful computing experiences by integrating game design in 8th grade science.
In this paper, we examine and discuss how computational practices are instantiated in the artifacts produced by two teams of 8th grade students as they designed games during a science unit focusing on systems and climate change.
Computing is a foundational tool in building scientific understanding of current and future impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2013). Computational thinking skills will be necessary for society to design mitigation, adaptation, and resilience strategies. To develop people who can use those skills, we believe there is a need for innovative integration of computing into contextually rich classroom activities about climate science. Therefore, we developed, implemented, and are studying an innovative curriculum that integrates computing into adolescent learning about climate science by combining game design and science learning on climate change. This paper examines the project’s summative assessment of 8th grade students’ content knowledge about anthropogenic climate change, climate systems, mitigation and adaptation strategies, and STEM and computational thinking practices. The data for this study are pre-post tests taken from Year 2 participants in the design-based research project.