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Using Project-Based Learning to Teach Sustainability Issues to Elementary Students

Using Project-Based Learning to Teach Sustainability Issues to Elementary Students
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Author(s): Ingrid Weiland (University of Louisville, USA), Elisa Pokral (Monroe County Indiana Waste Management District, USA) and Kristin Cook (Bellarmine University, USA)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 20
Source title: STEM Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Information Resources Management Association (USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch042

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Abstract

This chapter describes a project-based learning unit on sustainability that was implemented in a fourth grade classroom by an informal educator (the second author) employed by a local waste management district. Previous instruction by the informal educator consisted of one-hour lessons that were separate units lacking the project-based learning format and transition links. This chapter describes a mixed-method case study in which pre and posttest tests as well as focus group interviews assessed students' learning as a result of participating in a cohesive project-based learning unit designed by the authors. There was a statistically significant change (p<0.05) in students' pre to posttest scores, and focus group interviews indicated that students could elaborate much more deeply on their ideas about sustainability after the program. The authors conclude that project-based learning can support students' understandings of sustainability while providing an engaging and enriching format to informal educator programs.

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