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Our goal is to train STEM teachers to bring climate research to their classrooms.

- NSF RDCEP Center

New strategies for broader impacts support a new generation of young climate scientists.

RDCEP, Center for College Access and Success, Project Syncere, CLX


Program strategy, project-based learning curriculum, educational videos, and teacher professional development workshops

The Experience

Today’s students are curious about climate change. Research shows, however, that most teachers lack the time and training for this important topic. The University of Chicago’s Center for Robust Decision Making on Climate and Energy Policy (RDCEP) is a global leader at climate modeling. Their research impacts legislation, but they also seek ways to make an impact on public school students.


We collaborated with RDCEP to create new strategies for broader impacts, supporting a new generation of young climate scientists. The “Energy Engineers” program supported classrooms to explore climate change, energy conservation, computer programming and hands-on tinkering.

We supported RDCEP to examine their research agenda, outreach content, and classroom engagement protocols. We supported new tactics for leveraging partnerships to broaden impact.


We collaborated to convert high engagement materials into replicable teacher-training modules. We supported integrating content into multiple school subjects, aligned with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.


We co-designed and field-tested a novel curriculum, “Energy Engineers.” The  program uses computer programming, data analysis, and school energy auditing to understand the relationship between energy demand and energy savings. 

“I love the fact that as a direct result of this course, I have students considering computer science as a possible career path...All schools should have this program!”
- Tashena Chumrley, Teacher at Earle Elementary

To support the University of Chicago’s community outreach and science communication efforts, we worked with teen interns to create a series of educational video. Each video introduces a core topic about energy, or a hands-on project designed for classroom exploration.


We worked with RDCEP to develop a range of visual approaches to science communication. Keywords and concepts come alive with video infographics. Visual communication supports multiple grade levels and English language learners with STEM exploration.

The Impact

The Energy Engineers program created new pathways of support, helping students and teachers to collaboratively explore climate science.


Our collaborative strategy for teacher engagement quadrupled the capacity of RDCEP’s programs. Energy Engineers reached 215 teachers with introductory trainings, and formed close implementation partnerships with eight schools. These eight schools implemented energy audits and reduced their carbon footprint.

Three schools hosted information nights for families that included at-home energy saving strategies and power strip distribution.


In evaluations, teachers highlighted the excitement of students engaging in peer-to-peer project-based learning. The program improved teachers' sense of self-efficacy, providing new experiences with computer science, teamwork and tinkering in the classroom. Through engaging classrooms with dynamic projects, teachers were motivated to implement the program year after year. 

“I love the fact that as a direct result of this course, I have students considering computer science as a possible career path...All schools should have this program!”

- Tashena Chumrley, Teacher at Earle Elementary

“Students loved this unit and were disappointed when it ended...I cannot wait to reach out and utilize this program again next school year!”

- Melanie Sertuche, Teacher at L. Ward Elementary

“All students were highly engaged and appreciated the experience. I enjoyed seeing the students working together, [and] I would like to add this program to my curriculum next year.” 

- James Harris, Teacher at Melody Elementary

“Student engagement was the most positive outcome of this experience. I observed students answering and asking questions, involved in explorations, and discussing the experience with their peers.” 

- Courtney Banks, Teacher at Leland Elementary

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