Kathleen Davis, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, is a recipient of a Public Service Endowment Award from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Public Service Endowment Grant, intended to enhance the public service mission of UMass Amherst, funds the delivery of public services through special projects with an emphasis on converting knowledge into readily usable forms for immediate applications. This year, the awards were given to projects that related to outreach and engagement in Greater Springfield.
Dr. Davis’ project, titled “Energy Thinking - Energy Action: Teaching about climate change and renewable energy,” operates in conjunction with the award-winning Hitchcock Center for the Environment, and targets elementary and middle-school teachers and 700 students at three high-priority schools of the Springfield Urban Schools Consortium. It is designed to foster a perspective essential to sustainable living: that human needs and achievements are both supported and limited by the natural world. Throughout the duration of the project, students will be introduced to basic ecological principles and systems thinking, helping them achieve an understanding of the natural world’s processes and the ability to think in terms of patterns, relationships and contexts.
The project will partner a Hitchcock Center science educator with Springfield teachers and College of Education teacher interns in the target schools. Classroom instruction will emphasize experiential learning, inquiry, problem-solving, cooperative learning, and other teaching methods proven to advance science proficiency.