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  1. The research investigates the design and development of a serious game to teach green building design and energy literacy in rural middle schools in the United States. The paper presents a pilot study, education mini-game development integrated with parametric BIM and energy simulations. The game scenario was built on the developed science curriculum modules in our funded research, teaching building energy technologies such as daylighting, artificial lighting, window configurations, building materials, solar panels, etc. The mini-game, Illumi’s World, presents a baseline science lab and a media library of typical public schools in the United States. The players have the opportunity to improve energy literacy in several ways: manipulating the building configurations and the energy options, reviewing energy costs and emission level changes, and monitoring the performance from the game dashboards. This paper presents background theory, curriculum design, the mini-game development framework, methods and tools for energy simulation and BIM visualization, and the findings and challenges.

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  2. Abstract

    COVID-19 creates an opportunity for science classrooms to relate content about viruses to students’ personal experiences with the pandemic. Previous researchers have shown that students are interested in crisis situations like disease outbreaks; however, they primarily acquire information about these events through internet sources which are often biased. We argue that it is important to understand student interest, concerns, and information-seeking behaviors related to COVID-19 to support science classroom learning and engagement about the virus and other potential outbreaks. We surveyed 224 high school students and analyzed their responses to six open-ended questions. We found that students expressed the most interest in topics related to the origin of COVID-19 and vaccines. Their greatest concerns included contracting the virus or someone they know contracting the virus and vaccine distribution. Of our sample, only 6.7% reported using their teachers as their source of COVID-19 information. Science classrooms have the potential to pique students’ situational interest by discussing COVID-19 topics that are important to students, which can increase their academic performance, content knowledge, attention, and engagement in learning about viruses. Moreover, classroom instruction about COVID-19 by teachers has shown to alleviate students’ stress and anxiety. We provide key areas of student interest about COVID-19 to help educators address students’ questions and improve curricular resources on viral pandemics.

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  3. Abstract

    Developing scientific literacy about water systems is critical for K‐12 students. However, even with opportunities to build knowledge about the hydrosphere in elementary classrooms, early learners may struggle to understand the water cycle (Forbes et al.,; Gunckel et al.,; Zangori et al.,; Zangori et al.,). Scientific modeling affords opportunities for students to develop representations, make their ideas visible, and generate model‐based explanations for complex natural systems like the water cycle. This study describes a comprehensive evaluation of a 5‐year, design‐based research project focused on the development, implementation, revision, and testing of an enhanced, model‐centered version of the Full Option Science System (FOSS)Water(2005) unit in third grade classrooms. Here, we build upon our previous work (Forbes et al.,a; b; Vo et al.,; Zangori et al.,; Zangori et al.,) by conducting a comparative analysis of student outcomes in two sets of classrooms: (1) one implementing the modeling‐enhanced version of the FOSS Water unit developed by the research team (n = 6), and 2) another using the standard, unmodified version of the same curricular unit (n = 5). Results demonstrate that teachers in both conditions implemented the two versions of the curriculum with relative fidelity. On average, students exposed to the modeling‐enhanced version of the curriculum showed greater gains in their model‐based explanations for the hydrosphere. Engagement in scientific modeling allowed students to articulate hydrologic phenomena by (1) identifying various elements that constitute the hydrosphere, (2) describing how these elements influenced the movement of water in the hydrosphere, and (3) demonstrating underlying processes that govern the movement of water in the hydrosphere.

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