Climate Lessons (108)
Climate Lessons provides tools, resources and reflections on climate change education for educators and communicators of climate change. This blog is posted to weekly with an educator audience in mind.
Happy Spring! As many of you plan action projects this spring, share your plans with us! As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.
New City School submitted this creative PSA for the Parks Climate Challenge:
Last week, the first White House Summit on Environmental Education was held. Read Richard Louv's reflections on this event and the importance of environmental literacy.
Exciting news! The Minnesota's Changing Climate Project- which includes all of the great work you have been doing, has beennominated for a Minnesota Environmental Initiative Award. Winners will announced at an event on May 24. More info.
We have confirmed that Eugenie Scott,the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education(NCSE), will be speaking on Climate Science in Schools: the Next Evolution, at our free public forum held the evening of August 6th at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Cowles Auditorium, with Will Steger. Moderated by Steve Kelley.
For the past 30 years NCSE has primarily focused on defending the teaching of evolution in the classroom. In 2012, in response to complaints from teachers that they were coming under fire for teaching global warming and other climate change concepts, NCSE decided to support the teaching of climate change in addition to evolution. The work of NCSE is clearly important, especially after yesterday's passage of a bill in Tennessee that allows teachers to teach that the science and issue of climate change has "two sides." More info.
It is hard not to notice the unusually warm weather that hit Minnesota in the last few weeks, following what we like to call, "the winter that never was." There has been some pretty
interesting coverage that highlight these anomalies.
Spring is finally upon us! It's a perfect time to get your class outside with their journals and make some observations as Minnesota "wakes up." It is maple syrup time and we wanted to share this video about how the industry is changing that we came upon a few weeks back.
The big news in the Climate Change Education world the last few weeks has been the controversy surrounding leaked Heartland Institute documents. The documents show, among other things, their plan to develop a curriculum for teaching about climate change in K-12 schools. Dr. David Wojick, who is not a climate scientist and received his PhD in epistemology, will develop a set of modules on topics he deems to be “controversial” when in fact there is no controversy. Curriculum modules include the role of humans causing climate change (science concludes humans are a major driver of climate change so yes, it is us!); how climate models work (science proves their models are reliable) and if CO2 is an air pollutant (which it is). Two days ago Dr. Peter Gleick admitted to leaking the Heartland documents. His admission has instigated a variety of responses on whether Dr. Gleick should be considered a hero or condemned for his actions.
Last week, Will Steger visited Hawley Elementary and Hawley High School to speak with students about his adventures and what the Hawley students have been learning about climate change. First, he met with a third grade class that has been participating in our Minnesota's Changing Climate project. The students were all very excited to meet Will and asked many questions about his expeditions, the effects of climate change on their region and climate change solutions. WDAY news in Fargo featured a great piece on this classroom visit. Will then gave a presentation to Hawley High School as well as members of the public. Students saw the impacts of climate change that Will has experienced firsthand and heard interesting tales from his expeditions. These students also asked a range of questions including how Will stayed motivated when facing such odds. Will responded that it was always his determination and drive that kept him going during difficult circumstances. This visit was a wonderful opportunity to visit a different region of the state and share Will's stories and knowledge with another group of students. Thanks to our wonderful hosts!
It is quite alarming to learn that The Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank, is planning to create educational materials that contradict the established science on climate change.
Some of you may have seen Will's editorial last week in the Star Tribune raising awareness about the importance of climate literacy. He wrote:
"Teaching and understanding climate change is a process involving scientific inquiry and educational pedagogy; it is not about politics or partisanship. There is virtually unanimous scientific agreement about climate change."
Reading through the comments that follow the editorial, it is clear that there is a lot of education that is still needed. This presents a great opportunity for all of you and your students to practice rebutting the misconceptions and denial that still permeates the public. How empowering for your students to know that they are "smarter" than the average commenter to the Star Tribune! You can read the comments here or download a document we compiled with all of the comments here. Ask your students to choose one and write their response and if you are comfortable with it, send your responses to the Star Tribune or share them with us. As always, we are excited to hear about how things are going in your classroom.
REMINDER! Please take a few minutes to take our survey about how you have used Minnesota's Changing Climate Curriculum OR why you were unable to do so. We are in the process of editing the curriculum and creating a new edition for next year. THANK YOU! Take the survey here.
Resources and Opportunities
Registration Opens for 7th Annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education!: PLEASE Share with your colleagues and consider coming back for new sessions and also to share how you used Minnesota's Changing Climate this year. Information here.
New Website Shares Tools and Resources to Make Minnesota Schools Healthier and More Sustainable: The Will Steger Foundation is an active participant in the Minnesota Green Schools Coalition – a group of the state’s strongest advocates for our children who are working to create a Minnesota infrastructure of green schools – healthy, high performance schools that are conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money. Use this website as a resource and to share with others you know.
Apply for national recognition as a Green Ribbon School! Applications due February 22, 2012 : The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize green schools with the newly launched Green Ribbon Schools program. To be considered for the program, a school will have achieved or made considerable progress toward the three pillars established in the program: 1) energy efficient buildings; 2) healthy students and school environment; and 3) environmental literacy of all graduates. The combined achievement in these three areas will be the basis for the Green Ribbon Schools award. More information & a link to the application are found on the MDE website.
We want to thank you for being a part of our community of climate literacy ambassadors!
Winter greetings! The cold has finally arrived and hopefully with snow right on its heels. For those of you interested in keeping up on student observations of the Metro area, Great River School has been doing a phenomenal job of getting outside and letting us know what they see! Also many thanks to Proctor for hosting Will, Nicole and myself a few weeks ago. It was so much fun to hear what you have learned and get outside to see your journalling plots and observations. Keep up the good work!
Keep your eyes open for next summer's first institute blast. We are hoping to have some return teachers that are part of a teacher panel or just want to participate again. If you enjoyed last summer, PLEASE share with your colleagues and encourage them to attend. We are able to offer mileage and accommodations for those traveling outside the metro again and will have some great sessions. The dates this year are August 7 and 8 and the location, the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley.
There has been an exciting development in climate change education this week, as the National Center for Science Education has taken up the fight against climate change denial and support of teachers teaching climate change. Some of you are probably aware of NCSE's many years of work on making sure evolution was included in science education. More on this on the Climate Lessons blog.
Cool Website of the Week- Check out this great interactive on how science works.
Viral Climate Video of the Week
Apply for national recognition as a Green Ribbon School! Applications due February 22, 2012
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Education to recognize green schools with the newly launched Green Ribbon Schools program. To be considered for the program, a school will have achieved or made considerable progress toward the three pillars established in the program: 1) energy efficient buildings; 2) healthy students and school environment; and 3) environmental literacy of all graduates. The combined achievement in these three areas will be the basis for the Green Ribbon Schools award. More information & a link to the application are found on the MDE website.
Stop by the Department of Education to hear from high school students talk about why Learning Outdoors is “Way Cool” Monday, January 23, 12 – 1 p.m.
Last semester several Minnesota high school students from Mahtomedi and Roseville were busy learning the usual subject matter – history, literature, science, phy. ed., math. Hear why their academic experience was so exceptional. These fortunate students will be at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to share their experiences at Conserve School (www.conserveschool.org) in Northeastern Wisconsin. Learn why for many of them it was their greatest experience with academics and was also life-changing.
YEA!MN is teaming up with MPIRG to plan a youth-centered lobby day at the Capitol Building in St. Paul for middle school and high students!
Lobbying will focus on promoting the Recycling Refund Act which incentivizes and encourages Minnesotans to recycle and reduce litter, and on a bill that would commit Minnesota to a new solar standard of 10% solar energy by the year 2030.
All are invited to join us as we participate in and learn about an important aspect of our political process. Participants will have the opportunity to be trained on lobbying and on the particular issues they are interested in lobbying for, meet other youth activists who are working toward a more environmentally sustainable Minnesota, and lobby in the capitol building in front of a legislator.
Here is the information regarding the event:
What: MPIRG/YEA!MN Lobby Day
When: Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 9:00am-2:00pm
Where: The Minnesota Capitol Building, 5 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN 55155 (the specific room in which we will first meet is TBD)
*Free lunch will be provided*
Please ask your students to register if they'd like to attend.
The big news in the world of climate change education this week has been the National Center for Science Education's new climate change education initiative.
"Long respected for its work in defending and supporting the teaching of evolution in the public schools...NCSE launched this new initiative to defend and support the teaching of climate change."
When asked why NCSE decided to take on climate change, Executive Director Eugenie Scott responded;
"We have been receiving more and more reports of teachers being pressured against teaching climate change, much as they are pressured against teaching evolution. Right now the evidence is anecdotal but we have heard enough to suggest that it is a problem."
Read more coverage on the initiative below and make sure you check out their new webpage for tips, tools and other information!
Evolution advocate turns to climate
Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms
Climate in Classrooms
Climate Change Causes Heated Battles For Science Teachers
National Center For Science Education Launches Fight Against Climate Change Denial In Schools
New Initiative to Promote Climate Change in the Classroom
A Second Science Front: Evolution Champions Rise to Climate Science Defense
Point of Inquiry: Eugenie Scott - Defending Climate Education
Visit our online
Minnesota's Changing Climate Classroom
Featured Education Videos
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