We get students talking about social studies, science, and writing.
GlobalEd 2 is a problem-based learning (PBL) simulation that capitalizes on the multidisciplinary nature of social studies as an expanded curricular space to learn and apply science literacies, while simultaneously also enriching the curricular goals of social studies. It is designed to cultivate a scientifically literate citizenry by grounding science education in meaningful socio-scientific contexts related to the world in which students currently live. It is implemented in 7th and 8th grade social studies classrooms, and facilitated by the social studies teachers. GlobalEd 2 is mediated by technology to enhance communications and learning. Each simulation consists of three phases: Research, Online Interaction and Debriefing, spanning 14 weeks in the Fall semester.
Within each GlobalEd 2 simulation, approximately 12-16 classrooms are recruited and assigned to represent the interests of specific countries focusing on an issue of global importance such as water scarcity, climate change or alternative energies. Each classroom is assigned one country to represent throughout the simulation. From a decision-making perspective, the simulation goal for each country is the development of an agreement with at least one other country (or countries). GlobalEd 2 requires students to understand important concepts related to social studies such as geography, culture, political systems and economics. However, to be successful in the simulation, GlobalEd 2 also requires that students develop an understanding of the underlying science concepts related to the simulation topic and be able to communicate within and across countries in the simulation using an argument-based model – which are all key Common Core objectives.
GlobalEd 2 has been used with over 2,000 middle grade students and their respective social studies teachers. Our studies have shown pre-post gains on learning outcomes in the middle grades through significant positive changes in participating students’:
- interest in science related education and career trajectories and global issues;
- quality of persuasive writing;
- science topic knowledge and
- quantity and depth of science topic discussed
Further, our results demonstrate that these positive changes occur across diverse student groups, including African-Americans, Hispanics and females, addressing existing achievement gaps in these traditionally underserved populations.