6 Degrees of Influence: Understanding the Interconnectedness of Earth Systems

February 1st, 2017 - January 31st, 2019 | PROJECT

Nurture Nature Center recently completed a 2 year project to develop a 6 Degrees of Connection educational program, supported by a grant from NASA’s CP4SMP.  The program focuses on earth science concepts and the cross-cutting theme of interconnectedness, using personal relevance as a hook to capture students’ interest and motivate them to pursue STEM experiences and careers.

Over the course of two years, students, interns, and teachers were engaged to help develop a SOS program with an associated arts-based creative activity.  An iterative program design process based on student and teacher evaluations resulted in the 6 Degrees of Connectionprogram which discusses earth systems connections involving the sun, space weather, and ozone; transportation, atmosphere and acid rain; climate change; and marine debris. The program is purposefully interactive and multi-disciplinary - students are encouraged to consider the cascading effects related to the production and transportation of their clothing during an interactive activity using the SOS, an arts-based activity after the SOS program helps participants visualize and physically diagram their connections to global issues, and students learn about STEM careers from clips of STEM professionals discussing the ways their work is tied to various human and earth systems.

We are pleased to share more about the project, the evaluation, and program materials on our website here http://nurturenaturecenter.org/6-degrees-of-connection-understanding-the-interconnectedness-of-earth-systems/.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Project Website
Making it Real: Engaging Middle School Students with Earth Systems Connections - Summative Evaluation of '6 Degrees of Connection'

Team Members

Kathryn Semmens, Principal Investigator, Nurture Nature Center
Rachel Carr, Co-Principal Investigator, Nurture Nature Center
Jim O'Leary, Co-Principal Investigator, Maryland Science Center
Joan Ramage, Co-Principal Investigator, Lehigh University


Funding Source: NASA
Funding Program: CP4SMPVC+
Award Number: NNX16AM18G
Funding Amount: $420,226


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Undergraduate | Graduate Students
Discipline: Geoscience and geography
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Media and Technology | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere