Addressing the challenge of climate change requires an informed citizenry that can reason with data, examine new climate science information, and recognize the ways in which global climate change contributes to local climate change. Connected learning ecosystems (CLEs) can help address this challenge—especially in rural, tribal, and immigrant communities—by building partnerships that include science teachers and educators from informal science settings. Yet it’s important to understand if and how CLEs reach their goals.

EDC is conducting an evaluation of the NASA-funded Real World Real Science (RWRS) 2.0 project. The RWRS 2.0 project builds on EDC’s work to develop curriculum modules that blend climate science and data science to support students in learning about the environment. Led by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), RWRS 2.0 brings together science and technology centers (STCs), librarians, teachers, afterschool providers, and tribal and community organizations to build CLEs and learning experiences for youth that include authentic climate science data sets and cultural and historical knowledge.

Key Activities

EDC is carrying out the following activities:

  • Create an STC community of practice (CoP) to expand programming focused on data science and climate science in STCs and enable the development of CLEs across the Northeast United States
  • Develop regional CLEs across Maine and the Northeast to expand programming focused on data science and climate science for youth
  • Evaluate the development of CLEs and the STC CoP
  • Develop case studies to explore the development of CLEs and how educators support youth learning about data and local climate change
  • Document and describe the outcomes related to supporting educators and building and connecting youth experiences across Maine and the Northeast United States


  • Provide insight into the development of CLEs, including variations in partners and their roles and the ways in which local knowledge shapes CLE activities
  • Advance knowledge of the influence of CLEs on educators’ confidence in engaging youth with climate trend and climate change data and the opportunities that emerge for youth to engage with data-rich climate stories  

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Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Bodies of Work