Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

David Gosselin

Date of this Version

Summer 8-2022


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor David Gosselin. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Kimberly N. Carroll Steward


Global climate change (GCC) presents unprecedented global concerns, notably food supply limitations, unsustainable use of natural resources, and widespread environmental degradation. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports a 0.85 °C increase in global average temperatures between 1880 and 2018 and a 50% increase in global carbon dioxide emissions since 1990 (Stocker et al., 2018). As a result of the urgency of the situation, there is a strong emphasis on empowering citizens through outreach and education. There is a need to adequately prepare the next generation of scientists, politicians, business leaders, and other people; it is crucial to foster “climate literacy” among students (Climate Literacy Network [CLEAN], 2007). An individual possessing climate literacy can comprehend, communicate, and make informed judgments regarding the weather, climate, and its effects on their surroundings (United States Global Change Research Program [USGCRP], 2009). Here I describe findings from three related manuscripts exploring model-based teaching and learning of Earth’s climate in secondary science classrooms in the mid-western United States. Chapter 1 provides a brief overview and outline of this dissertation; Chapter 2 presents findings from a concurrent mixed method, multiple-case study of four secondary science teachers’ implementation of a model-centric climate curriculum module grounded in the use of a data-driven, computer-based climate modeling tool, Chapter 3, is a longitudinal examination seeking to establish how two secondary science teachers learn and adapt a model-based climate curriculum to support students’ learning about Earth’s climate and global climate change, in Chapter 4 the integration of a cloud-based global climate model into the teaching of Earth climate observed as it related to student learning outcomes within a secondary science classroom. Finally, in Chapter 5, I provide a brief conclusion of the findings and areas for future research.

Advisor: David Gosselin