Download the module’s lesson plan (pdf, editable format)
The module concerns a theme, Climate Change, with the following features:
- The theme concerns a new STEM research field
- Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Computer Science are core disciplines, although many other disciplines are involved (STE-A-M)
- The theme is educational, social, political and personally relevant and appropriate to be used within university courses for pre-service teacher education (in Physics, Mathematics and CS master courses)
For what concerns the IDENTITIES approach to interdisciplinarity, the module implements it in the following respects:
- The authenticity of interdisciplinarity: The module will show that there are concepts or topics related to the STEM theme, that are intrinsically interdisciplinary and cannot be reduced to the sum of S+T+E+M. Which ones? How is the interdisciplinary – boundary zone established? When and how do you feel “inhabiting an exchange-boundary-space” and “facing the ambiguity and going out of the comfort zone”?
- The S-T-E-M disciplinary identities: The disciplines have an important role in the module, as sources of structured knowledge that can nurture the development of knowledge on the STEM theme. What roles can be attached to the disciplines and the process of disciplinarization? Are there moments where you felt particularly at home?
- Epistemological and linguistic activators: The module includes examples of “epistemological and linguistic activators”, as they will be discussed in the summer school. What epistemological and linguistic activators do you find in the module? What makes them “epistemological and linguistic activators”?
Introduction to the IDENTITIES approach to interdisciplinarity
Some videos to learn the basics of the frameworks, terminology, and tools on which the different activities of the module are built!
Aims: The goal of the submodule is to allow students to explore the concept of circular causality within climate phenomena, and to allow them to delve into the construction of causal maps. Within the submodule, the concept of feedback and causal circularity are explored, aiming to show the complex nature of climate and climate change in particular. The main objectives of the activities are: i) to provide basic knowledge on causality, circularity and feedback; ii) to deliver the essential tools needed to explore the complexity of climate change; iii) to show the topic of biofuels as an example of a reality related to multiple aspects of the problem.
Activities: The aforementioned concepts and goals are explored by pre-service teachers through 2 different activities. Activity 1) Exploring feedback in climate systems. Pre-service teachers focus on the concept of feedback, looking at examples and videos aimed at explaining its importance, implications and possible effects on daily life. starting from the definition of climate as a complex system, the concept of causal circularity (or feedback loop) is introduced, explaining that this occurs when the change in a certain parameter influences another which in turn returns to influence the first. Activity 2) Reading a text on the use and production of biofuels. Activity 3) Construction of a causal map on bio-fuels. The activity aims to make the pre-service teachers construct a causal map on biofuels, with particular concern for biodiesel. Pre-service teachers are divided into groups of 3/4 people. At the end of the activities, three claims are analysed, and then each is followed by a question to start a discussion between all participants.
Exploring feedback in climate systems (pdf, editable format)
Reading a text on the use and production of biofuels (pdf, editable format)
Construction of a causal map on biofuels (pdf, editable format)
Aims: The main goal of this submodule is to familiarise students with certain fundamental concepts of complexity in order to be able to recognise the interdisciplinary nature of complex systems such as climate change. The fundamental concepts of complexity that we explore in the student’s submodule are: i) Limited Predictability in Deterministic Systems; ii) Sensitivity in the initial conditions; iii) Critical States / Feedback. The objectives of exploring the aforementioned concepts are for pre-service teachers to observe: i) the inherent limitations in predicting the evolution of a deterministic chaotic system; ii) that some chaotic systems even though they appear random yield a form of order; iii) that as a system evolves it passes through critical states that dictates its final “form” (self-reinforcement).
Activities: The aforementioned concepts and goals are explored by pre-service teachers through 4 different activities. Activity 1) Pre-service teachers explore the possibility of long-term predictability through the comparison of weather forecasts (7, 5, 3 and 1 day before a given date) and the actual weather conditions for the given date. Pre-service teachers are encouraged to discuss time sensitivity and the limited predictability of the weather as a complex system. Activity 2) It concerns the limited predictability of deterministic chaotic systems and the forms of order that non-linear systems present. In specific, pre-service teachers commented on the representations developed by a chaotic pendulum both in the case of harmonic oscillation and deterministic chaos. Activity 3) Critical states and their importance in the overall “form” of the system are further explored with the activity about depicting the rotation of Benard Cells. Activity 4) Students reflect on the ideas of limited predictability and critical states in the context of biodiesel (see explorers’ section). The activity is based on a concept map about choices in the procedure of biodiesel production and the effects of such choices. In this activity, pre-service teachers recognize parts of the concept map where different choices in the production of biodiesel determine the cause of certain effects in the system.
Introduction to complexity (pdf, editable format)
Exploring the possibility of long-term predictability through the comparison of weather forecasts (pdf, editable format)
Exploring the limited predictability of deterministic chaotic systems and the forms of order that non-linear systems present through the chaotic oscillator & the magnetic pendulum experiments (pdf, editable format)
Exploring the concept of critical states through the Bernard cells experiment (pdf, editable format)
Reflection on the ideas of limited predictability and critical states in the context of biodiesel (pdf, editable format)
Aims: The main objective of the submodule is to have students analyze the topic of uncertainty in a disciplinary and interdisciplinary context, starting with the topic of climate change and then going on to generalize. The submodule focuses on the concepts of complexity and uncertainty, highlighting complexity as an epistemological activator and boundary object, and the different types of uncertainty present within climate modelling. Specific objectives of the submodule are: i) to grasp the epistemological consequences of complexity; ii) to differentiate among the three types of uncertainty present in climate modelling; iii) to highlight the three types of uncertainties within their own disciplines of belonging; iv) to be able to generalize the three types of uncertainty and confront them in an interdisciplinary perspective.
Activities: Two activities are presented in this submodule. Activity 1) Complexity as an epistemological activator and boundary object. Three questions are presented to get students to think about the topic of complexity as it was seen in the previous sub-modules (explorer and student). Activity 2) Reading and discussion on the types of uncertainty in climate modelling. Uncertainty in climate projections arises from three sources: uncertainty in the social and political conditions that determine future climate forcing; uncertainty in our knowledge of how the climate system responds to that forcing (i.e. the change in climate); uncertainty in the actual realization of climate for a particular time window, which is subject to internal variability and to aleatory factors. Pre-service teachers are divided into three groups, one for each type of uncertainty. They are then asked to answer three questions, related to their discipline of expertise. After the 3 presentations, the instructors mediate the comparison among the groups. The pre-service teachers have to fill a scheme to meta-reflect on the perspectives opened by these issues.
Complexity as an epistemological activator and boundary object (pdf, editable format)
Reading and discussion on the types of uncertainty in climate modelling (pdf, editable format)
Download the module’s lesson plan (pdf, editable format)