According to a recent poll done by NPR, teachers do not teach climate change. Their main reason? It’s not in my curriculum. And for those who do have it in their curriculum, it’s not until middle or high school Earth Science, which only 2 out of 50 states require to get a high school diploma. So, how do teachers teach Climate Change? NPR asked a bunch of different educators at various levels to give some suggestions on how teachers can incorporate Climate Change within their classroom.
For science teachers, doing a lab activity can be a great way to show how global warming and climate change. There are labs available for all different grades. There are various resources to find labs including NASA and Earth Science Week. Many of these labs can be done using everyday household items.
For those teachers who just need a break, showing a movie or documentary about climate change can also be a good way to go. There is a list of good movies for all ages by Common Sense Media so you can find something appropriate for no matter what grade you teach. Some films such as Before The Flood, An Inconvenient Truth, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power have educational activities that be used in conjunction with the film. You can see them here and here respectively.
For English teachers who like to encourage their kids to read outside of the classroom or do a book report within the classroom. A new genre of books are emerging called “cli-fi” which is short for climate fiction or sometimes referred to as eco-fiction. You can find lists of these types of novels at websites like Dragonfly.eco Although the books are fiction, there can be many parallels between the world of fiction and the current world we live in. A favorite of many is Not A Drop To Drive by Mindy McGinnis.
For other ways to teach kids about climate change, stay tuned for Part 2.