Thesis

Empowering elementary learners through environmental advocacy curriculum

This study was aimed at creating, implementing and studying how an Environmental Advocacy Curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards can influence elementary learners. The purpose was to determine if the curriculum effectively ascended into the next realm of environmental education: from learning about the environment into advocating for the environment. It analyzed how teaching advocacy skills within environmental education impacted second graders pre to post implementation in four different classes, for males and for females, and as a whole grade level. The study investigated the breadth to which teaching advocacy strategies for the environment changed students’ levels of empathy, civic duty, intentions, and feelings of responsibility toward the environment and their likeliness to advocate for themselves, others, and those that cannot advocate for themselves (e.g. the environment and endangered animals). 
 The study used a triangulation of the data from student surveys, teacher surveys, and student journals in order to illustrate a more comprehensive and holistic overview of whether the curriculum succeeded in helping students gain scientific content knowledge aligned to NGSS while also fostering in them a sense of care about and advocacy for the environment. In addition, the Environmental Advocacy Curriculum effectively put into action a relevant and necessary curriculum. 
 Findings suggest that when the Environmental Advocacy Curriculum was taught with fidelity, it heightened student empathy towards animals and the environment, increased student intentions to help and advocate for animals and the environment, and changed their outlook about their ability to make a positive difference in the world. Additionally, results showed that learners connected human impact to cause and effect, increased problem-solving skills, and empowered learners to foster a stance towards the environment and work towards justice for animals.

Thesis (M.A., Education (Curriculum and Instruction))--California State University, Sacramento, 2017.

This study was aimed at creating, implementing and studying how an Environmental Advocacy Curriculum aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards can influence elementary learners. The purpose was to determine if the curriculum effectively ascended into the next realm of environmental education: from learning about the environment into advocating for the environment. It analyzed how teaching advocacy skills within environmental education impacted second graders pre to post implementation in four different classes, for males and for females, and as a whole grade level. The study investigated the breadth to which teaching advocacy strategies for the environment changed students’ levels of empathy, civic duty, intentions, and feelings of responsibility toward the environment and their likeliness to advocate for themselves, others, and those that cannot advocate for themselves (e.g. the environment and endangered animals). The study used a triangulation of the data from student surveys, teacher surveys, and student journals in order to illustrate a more comprehensive and holistic overview of whether the curriculum succeeded in helping students gain scientific content knowledge aligned to NGSS while also fostering in them a sense of care about and advocacy for the environment. In addition, the Environmental Advocacy Curriculum effectively put into action a relevant and necessary curriculum. Findings suggest that when the Environmental Advocacy Curriculum was taught with fidelity, it heightened student empathy towards animals and the environment, increased student intentions to help and advocate for animals and the environment, and changed their outlook about their ability to make a positive difference in the world. Additionally, results showed that learners connected human impact to cause and effect, increased problem-solving skills, and empowered learners to foster a stance towards the environment and work towards justice for animals.

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