In this media project, students create a video that documents unrehearsed interviews with multiple persons-on-the-street (POS) about a specific question or issue in climate science. To produce a compelling product, students will need to both understand the underlying science themselves, and be able to conduct and document a series of interviews to elicit interviewees’ understanding of the science as well.

POS Example Project

Youth Educating the Public is a Science and Media Making initiative through a NASA funded education project: Climate Change Education: Science, Solutions, and Education in an Age of Media. For middle and high school students, climate change is an issue that has always been present in their lives. During the Summer 2011 students participated in a 5 week project which outlined climate concepts that are commonly discussed but not necessarily widely understood.
Fifteen Cambridge students and three UMass Lowell Interns created media to transmit and clarify what they learned about the current findings in climate change science for Cambridge residents. 
  • Content/Concepts Goals For This Activity

    The POS project is well suited to uncovering gaps in knowledge and misconceptions commonly held by the general public about foundational concepts in climate change science. As such, the project can lead to "teachable moments" for students in clarifying and correcting their own misconceptions. Here are some examples: What do you think is responsible for the overall warming of the planet? Why is burning fossil fuels like coal and oil more of a concern to scientists than burning wood and biofuels? How does carbon dioxide heat the Earth? How can carbon dioxide be removed from the atmosphere?

    Higher Order Thinking Skills Goals For This Activity

    Preparing for POS interviews requires students to think carefully about what it is they want to learn about what the general public understands about climate science, and then – through research and discussion – prepare themselves to become knowledgeable about the subject themselves.

    Other Skills Goals For This Activity

    Other skills include: creating a non-threatening interview environment, and quickly engaging interviewees in responding to one or more questions developing well-formulated initial and follow-up questions that may need on-the-spot tinkering as the interview proceeds creating a storyboard and/or shot list video and sound recording and editing

  • The POS project is suitable for use with both middle and high school students. Examples of content areas into which this project could be incorporated include: Environmental science Weather and climate Media studies about controversial science topics

    Skills And Concepts That Students Must Have Mastered

    The activity will be more meaningful for students if they have had some background in climate science and exposure to how common misconceptions arise and can be ameliorated.

    How The Activity Is Situated In The Course

    Because the activity enable students to identify and "correct" (if even only to their classmates) misconceptions about climate science, it could be a good culminating activity for a unit on climate change.