Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research
Erik DaSilva, Master of Science in Teaching candidate
University of Maine
Monday, March 15, 2010 at 3:00 p.m.
Limits that Hinder Ninth Graders from Understanding the Effects of Geography and Wind On Climate
The geographical influences on climate (GIOC) is a practical topic students find interesting and can tangibly relate to but it is challenging to teach due to a lack of research supporting the recently popular subject of earth science. In depth instruction and successful pedagogy are not yet available due to this, leaving Earth Science teachers with few tools when developing effective lessons on this topic. This lack of research led me to an investigation concerning student understanding of the GIOC and I examined the techniques and styles used during instruction in a ninth grade classroom.
The basic building blocks of a student’s “spatial intelligence” involve spatial ability and spatial cognition, which a child needs in order to develop higher level thinking skills. The most critical discovery concerning this research suggested that a student’s ability to correctly process and reiterate the GIOC, namely the effects of wind on climate, may not be developed enough at the ninth grade academic level to allow for this. Results from my research show that the 9th grade mind is challenged to describe the dynamic environment between a three-dimensional system of global winds and their climatic effects.