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What is the Impact of the Impact Monster? Evaluating Environmental Education Programs

This article is from Issue Olympic Winter Games - Vol. 2 No. 2.

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Wilderness managers often use education to teach people how to behave when they visit a wilderness area. One of the ways students learn about how to behave when they visit a wilderness area is through a special skit. The skit is called the Impact Monster Skit. The scientists in this study wanted to evaluate the Impact Monster Skit.

Welcome to the Olympic Winter Games edition

Note to Educators

Education Standards Correlations


"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
When teachers teach something, they and others want to know whether their lessons are worthwhile. There is a branch of science called evaluation (e val yoo a shen). Evaluation enables scientists to determine the value, worth, or condition of something. When evaluation is applied to education, it helps teachers discover how well they are teaching students. Test-taking is one kind of evaluation. You know that tests help teachers and others determine how much you have learned. But do you know what else test-taking does? It helps the teacher determine how well he or she is teaching! In this study, the scientists took a different approach. They asked the teachers for information. It was like the teachers were taking a test, except that they were not graded, and there were no right or wrong answers. Now that's our kind of test!
"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
In this study, the scientists wanted to evaluate a lesson about wilderness. When we call an area of land a wilderness, it means we have given it a special legal status. Wilderness areas are treated differently than other land areas. They are protected by law from most human activities, except for fun things like camping, hiking, canoeing, and backpacking, and for scientific activities. People are not allowed to live in wilderness areas. They can only be visitors for a short period of time. Plus, people are mostly not allowed to use any motorized equipment in wilderness areas. When people visit a wilderness area, it is as if they are stepping back in time to visit the land as it was before humans made much of an impact (Figure 1). Wilderness areas provide recreational opportunities and the opportunity for people to see nature that has not been disturbed by humans. These areas also help people by preserving biodiversity and unique ecosystems and providing clean water and air, homes for wildlife and endangered species, and an area for scientists to study nature that has not been disturbed by humans.