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Molly Nation, Ph.D. - Florida Gulf Coast University. Fort Myers, FL, US

Molly Nation, Ph.D.

Expert in environmental education | Florida Gulf Coast University


Molly Nation explores environmental issues within formal education settings.





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Molly Nation is an assistant professor of environmental education in The Water School at Florida Gulf Coast University. She is a former middle and high school science teacher, who is now using that experience to engage K-12 educators in environmentally focused curriculum and professional development. She also supervises college students who are interning in marine science, earth science and environmental studies.

Areas of Expertise (7)

Women in S.T.E.M. fields

Curriculum Development

Water Resilience Education

Science Education

K-12 Education

Climate Change Education

Environmental Education

Education (3)

The University of South Florida: Ph.D., Science Education

Georgia Southern University: M.A., Teaching

Georgia Southern University: B.S., Biology

Affiliations (2)

  • North American Association of Environmental Educators : Member
  • Environmental Education Alliance of Southwest Florida : Member

Selected Media Appearances (7)

Group working to educate public, find solutions to mounting ecological challenges in SW Florida

News-Press  print


Molly Nation talks about how climate change is impacting lives, green spaces and property values in Southwest Florida.

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H&M launching compostable baby wear line

ABC7  tv


Molly Nation discusses sustainable clothing options.

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Here’s an Earth-friendly guide to back-to-school shopping.

National Geographic  online


Molly Nation talks about sustainable shopping.

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FOX 4 News Literacy Project: Lee County students learn importance of media literacy

Fox 4  tv


Dr. Nation partners with Fox 4 to help Lee County high school students create a news story.

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FGCU camp encourages girls to pursue STEM careers

Fox 4  tv


Dr. Nation talks about a STEM camp created to serve underrepresented girls in Southwest Florida.

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FGCU, Lehigh schools team up to teach kids about water quality

ABC7  online


Professors from Florida Gulf Coast University at teaching high school and middle school students about water quality and other issues in environmental education.

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What will SWFL's climate be in 60 years with climate change?

NBC2  online


Scientists are predicting the future landscape of Southwest Florida as it might become if effects of climate change continue.

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Selected Event Appearances (3)

The Effects of Extended Action Research-Based Professional Development on the Teaching of Climate Science

Association for Science Teacher Education International Conference  Savannah, Georgia


Enhancing Local Water Quality Education Through Environmental Stewardship

North American Association of Environmental Educators Conference  Spokane, Washington


How Teachers’ Beliefs About Climate Change Influence Their Instruction and Resulting Student Outcomes

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting  New Orleans, Louisiana


Selected Research Grants (1)

Sponsored Program Award Project FLOW (Future Leaders of Water Quality),

Florida Department of Environmental Protection $122,318

2019 In collaboration with Lee County Schools, this project is designed to improve water quality education at the K-12 level.

Selected Articles (6)

Environmental Education in the Secondary Science Classroom: How Teachers’ Beliefs Influence Their Instruction of Climate Change

Journal of Science Teacher Education

Molly Trendell Nation & Allan Feldman

2021 Climate change is complex and controversial in nature, yet seen by educators and policymakers as an important topic to be taught within secondary science education. Teachers’ beliefs about the instruction of climate change are unclear. The presence of controversy can influence teachers’ instructional decisions causing confusion about the science of climate change. Therefore, the role of teachers’ beliefs must be considered when examining their instruction. This study examined the complex nature of science teacher beliefs about climate change instruction, their practice, and the impact on student outcomes within four marine science classrooms over the course of one semester. Findings suggest teachers have strong beliefs about the anthropogenic causes and implications of climate change, high levels of concern for future generations, and value climate change education. Yet, the controversial nature of the topic, current political climate, and resistance from stakeholders inhibited teachers from espousing these beliefs within their instruction.

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The effects of extended action research-based professional development on the teaching of climate science

Educational Action Research

Allan Feldman, Molly Nation & Katie Laux

2021 This study explored the use of collaborative action research (CAR) in a year-long professional development (PD) for global climate change (GCC) education. The purpose was to understand how high school science teachers’ engagement in CAR affected their classroom practice. The teachers exchanged stories of practice, shared and tried out new ideas in their classrooms, and engaged in systematic inquiry. The study was guided by these questions: What are the effects of extended professional development on the teachers’ classroom practice? What role did action research play in reaching our goals for professional development? What affordances and obstacles affect their change in pedagogy? Data included recordings of CAR meetings, classroom observations, and post-interviews with teachers. Data were analyzed through coding processes and the development of learning progressions to understand how the teachers’ knowledge developed throughout the PD. Results indicated teachers changes their practice and demonstrated increased confidence in teaching GCC science. They incorporated discussion and argumentation into their teaching practice, utilized a more place-based approach to GCC education, and presented GCC as real and anthropogenic. It was also found that the complexities of teachers’ lives inhibited the full participation of all the teachers who volunteered to engage in CAR.

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Red tide

The Science Teacher

Dobson, A.; Feldman, A.; Nation, M.;, and Laux, K.

2019 In 2018 the Gulf coast of Florida suffered extensive damage from harmful algal blooms (HABs), from as far north as Clearwater Beach south to Naples. The bloom lasted nearly a year, picking up in intensity during the late summer months. HABs occur when conditions such as reduced salinity, higher water temperatures, light saturation, and currents cause rapid growth of algae in coastal areas or lakes. Here, Dobson et al detail a place-based, inquiry-oriented lesson model that examine the effects of global climate change on the growth of algae.

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Teaching Climate Change Science to High School Students Using Computer Games in an Intermedia Narrative

Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Glenn Gordon Smith, Metin Besalti, Molly Nation, Allan Feldman, Katie Laux

2019 We explored how computer games developed as part of an innovative set of climate change education materials helped students learn and gain interest in global climate change (GCC) science by making it personally relevant and understandable. This research was conducted in a public school district in the southeastern United States. The curriculum, Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE), used a local, place-based approach using scientific data gathered from the Gulf of Mexico coast and incorporated (a) computer games, (b) a scientifically web-based science fiction novel about future Gulf coast residents, and (c) hands-on laboratory activities. This paper focuses on how the computer games affected students’ learning, validity of their beliefs about GCC, and understanding of the effects of GCC on the region’s sea level and storms. The data collected included students’ exam scores, and surveys about student perceptions of climate change science and perceptions of the materials. On exam questions related to GCC science, students who participated in the CHANGE curriculum scored significantly higher than their peers who did not. Also, their beliefs about GCC increased in validity. The nature and design of the computer games had a strong impact on students’ understanding of sea level rise and storms.

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The Use of Complementary Virtual and Real Scientific Models to Engage Students in Inquiry: Teaching and Learning Climate Change Science

Optimizing STEM Education With Advanced ICTs and Simulations

Allan Feldman, Molly Nation, Glenn Gordon Smith, Metin Besalti

2017 This chapter reports on a four-year study to change how climate change science is taught and learned in schools. The goal of the Climate Change Narrative Game Education (CHANGE) project is to take what is known about reform-based practices, incorporating students' lived experiences into the curriculum, and the integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) into the classroom. CHANGE uses the following: scientifically realistic text narratives (text stories with local characters, 50-100 years in the future, a local, place-based approach, a focus on the built environment, the use of simulations and games based on scientific data, and a web-based “intermedia” eBook narrative where sections of narrative text alternate with simulations and computer games. The chapter reports on the ways that we have used the above principles to connect classrooms and communities and school science with academic science to facilitate student inquiry into climate science by combining virtual serious educational games with in class, hands-on inquiry using scientific models.

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Theorizing Sustainability: An Introduction to Science Teacher Education for Sustainability

Educating Science Teachers for Sustainability

Allan Feldman, Molly Nation

2015 The purpose of this chapter is to provide readers of this book with an overview and framework for educating science teachers for sustainability. The chapter begins by locating education for sustainability within a social and cultural milieu that includes the natural, built, economic, and political worlds. It then clarifies our use of language to distinguish between sustainability and sustainable development, and between education for sustainability (EfS) and education for sustainable development (ESD). The chapter then delves into the relationship between environmental education and EfS, especially the importance of the need to bring to the forefront the complexities that are human, social constructs that arise from the possible conflicting concerns of a wide range of stakeholders that require negotiation and reconciliation. This is followed by a review of the criteria for EfS suggested by UNESCO, including that it be culturally relevant; that it needs to occur in all educational venues, formal and informal, and for adults as well as children; and that sustainability is a moving target that is best addressed from a transdisciplinary approach. The chapter ends by raising the question of what science teachers ought to teach resustainability, and the relationship between sustainability and the rest of the science curriculum.

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