Using the Socioscientific Context of Climate Change To Teach Chemical Content and the Nature of Science

2014-10-14T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Charity Flener-Lovitt
A thematic course called “Climate Change: Chemistry and Controversy” was developed for upper-level non-STEM students. This course used the socioscientific context of climate change to teach chemical principles and the nature of science. Students used principles of agnotology (direct study of misinformation) to debunk climate change misconceptions commonly encountered in the media and politics. The culmination of the course was a service-learning project to create training documents for staff at a local science center that explained common climate misconceptions. In the process of completing this project, students gained a greater appreciation for the nature of science and learned chemical principles of electromagnetic radiation, atomic structure (isotopes), molecular structure (Lewis structures, VESPR, and polarity) spectroscopy, and stoichiometry. This paper summarizes the outcomes of the course, teaching strategies used to reach the outcomes, and strategies for incorporating agnotology and socioscientific study in science courses.