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Understanding Global Climate Change: Present, Past, and Future

Author(s): Michelle Phillips

Hawaii Community College

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Summary:
Understanding global climate change through the lenses of the present, past, and future, combining modern technology and indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing.

Description

This adapted module focuses on understanding global climate change through the lenses of the present, past, and future, combining modern technology and indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing. To be more inclusive, the module was made culturally relevant and place-based for students in Hawaii (although it is applicable anywhere).  Mauna Loa observatory is in Hawaii, so the data was focused on this location, and to be culturally-relevant, activities that focused on recording the observations of elders (kupuna) about climate change on the islands were included and students were asked to think about how different ways of knowing and using technologically scientific data can be complementary.  For the “Present” module, students examine current graphs and data from Mauna Loa Observatory from 1958 leading up to today. They also compare the trends to those collected globally at other climate monitoring stations. For the “Past” module, students learn about and practice kilo (observation) and learn about sustainability from a Hawaiian perspective, and interview and record the observations of kupuna (elders) and community members about environmental change, as well as their own observations. The “Future” module focuses on graphs and tables of RCP scenarios from the 2013 IPCC report and how these affect global temperature.

Notes

The module was heavily adapted from the original for a non-majors biology course. Students were given graphs to interpret along with smaller data sets in the interest of time and modified the module to work in a synchronous online environment (Zoom) over three class periods. Additionally, the module was made comprehensive for students to examine climate change and global temperature at not only future RCP scenarios, but also the past and present. To be more inclusive, I made the module culturally relevant and place-based for students in Hawaii (although it is applicable anywhere).  Mauna Loa observatory is on the island where I teach, so the data was focused on this location, and to be culturally-relevant, I included activities that focused on recording the observations of elders (kupuna) about climate change on the islands and had students think about how different ways of knowing and collecting technologically scientific data can be complementary. 

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