Fostering Environmental Scientific Literacy by leveraging AMS Undergraduate Curriculum: Focus on Physical Oceanography

Authors: Wendy Abshire*, American Meteorological Society, Elizabeth W. Mills, American Meteorological Society, Kira A. Nugnes, American Meteorological Society, Katie L. O'Neill, American Meteorological Society
Topics: Geography Education, Earth Science
Keywords: ocean, course, scientific literacy, physical oceanography, climate change, weather
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Program works to foster scientific literacy in environmental science for all and this includes efforts to support undergraduate understanding of the ocean and our impact on it.

AMS Ocean Studies is an undergraduate-level curriculum package that provides students with a comprehensive study of physical oceanography while simultaneously providing pedagogically appropriate investigations focused on web-delivered real-world data. AMS Ocean Studies consists of a textbook, investigations manual, and access to the RealTime Ocean Portal.

Fundamental concepts are introduced in the textbook and then explored in the investigations manual. For example, the textbook describes various types of estuaries and then NOAA data is used to study the Chesapeake Bay’s circulation pattern in the investigations manual.

Recently, the textbook underwent a thorough revision with significant contributions from co-authors/oceanographers Doug Segar and Stacy Kish. The content was greatly updated to incorporate recent scientific findings, especially those related to climate change. Topic in Depth features were added and allow users to explore concepts that expand the chapter narrative, such as the problem of ocean acidification.

Additionally, the AMS works to foster scientific literacy with AMS Weather and Climate Studies. Both curriculum sets are structured similarly to AMS Ocean Studies. AMS Weather Studies explores the atmosphere and key meteorological concepts while AMS Climate Studies examines the scientific principles governing Earth’s climate system and the way humans interact with it. Adoption of these courses is an investment into AMS environmental science professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers nationwide.

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