Just For Schools

JUST FOR SCHOOLS

JUST FOR SCHOOLS

The science standards of 36 states (plus the District of Columbia), as of 2019, explicitly acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. These include the 20 states (plus DC) to have adopted the Next Generation Science standards (NGSS) which include climate change as a part of a so-called Disciplinary Core Idea on the earth and space sciences. Of the state standards in the remaining 14 states, five mention anthropogenic climate change as a possibility, four fail to mention it altogether and worst of all, five mention it but misrepresent it as a matter of scientific debate.

There are a growing number of bills at both state and federal level to mandate the teaching of climate change. Two have passed. In 2022, New Jersey led the nation requiring climate learning from K-12.  Connecticut followed. Its law, making teaching climate change mandatory from 5-12, goes into effect July, 2023.  Oregon and California are considering similar bills.

State science standards lack the force of law but compliance is expected. Earth sciences and environmental sciences are however, not widely required for graduation from high school.

In 2014-2015 a questionnaire was sent to 1,500 science teachers across the nation and it appeared (this is the good news) that climate change was taught in 90% of all public middle schools and about 98% of all public high school. The bad news is that 4 in 10 science teachers reported that they “emphasize that recent increases in temperature are probably due to natural causes”, 6 in 10 said that they encouraged students “to come to their own conclusions about the causes of global warming”, almost as many said that they encouraged students “to debate the likely cause of global warming”, and almost 3 in 10 said that they gave “equal tine to perspectives that raise doubt that humans are causing climate change.” The bulk of this copy came from Glenn Branch’s paper, Science Teachers in the Hot Seat. I urge you to read the entire paper, produced for the American Federation of Teachers.

There are a growing number of great resources for teachers below.

Climate Change Education Should Empower Students to take Action

CURRENT NEWS

Young people push for a Green New Deal for schools across the U.S.

By YCC Team 02/23/24
So students in the Sunrise Movement have been lobbying their local school boards across the country to pass a Green New Deal for Schools. In the Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, they recently celebrated…
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The plastics industry would like a word with your kids

By Evan Halper 02/14/24
Wearing a lab coat, Eve Vitale asked a chemistry class at Warren Mott High School if anyone had heard anything bad about plastics. Hands shot up. It doesn’t degrade, said one student. It hurts the…
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Welcome to the Solar Car Challenge web site!

02/05/24
The Solar Car Challenge was established in 1993 to help motivate students in science and engineering, and to increase alternative energy awareness. The Challenge teaches high school students around the world how to build roadworthy…
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Climate education should be taught in schools

By Anita Soracco 11/27/23
COP28, the 28th annual United Nations climate summit that starts Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 12, will be focused on how to limit and prepare for future climate change. Meanwhile, the most frequent sentiment…
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K-12 schools can be major players in the clean energy transition

By Lisa Hoyos 10/02/23
Children across the country returned to school this year after enduring the hottest summer in recorded history, one punctuated by extreme heat and wildfire smoke that kept millions shuttered indoors for days, even weeks, on…
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Climate deniers coming for your kids

09/13/23
As if the fear of rampaging gunmen or fights to ban books about people of color, LGBTQ+ families, or basic human functions aren’t enough of a distraction for U.S. children as they return to schools…
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Climate Science Is under Attack in Classrooms

By Scott Waldman 09/12/23
Political battles over climate change are increasingly being fought in the classroom. Conservative activists and politicians in states across the country are trying to limit or distort the teaching of climate science to schoolchildren, marking…
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As School Started in the US, So Did the School Closures for Heat

By Eric Roston 09/09/23
Susan Eckert teaches advanced placement biology at Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey. Her room sits on the second floor, right next to the lower level's heat-absorbing black tar roof. On hot days, Eckert…
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This California high school includes sustainability and green jobs in its curriculum

By Anya Kamenetz 09/07/23
Jesika Gonzalez will tell you that she wasn’t the biggest fan of Porterville, California, while she was growing up. “When I was younger, I was very, like, angsty,” the 18-year-old said as she flicked her…
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Nonprofit trains science teachers to weave storytelling into climate lessons

By YCC Team 09/01/23
Writing poems and interviewing family members might sound like assignments for a language arts class. But a Washington State-based nonprofit called IslandWood is helping middle school science teachers weave these sorts of activities into their…
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Climate Literacy Must Be Taught in Schools

By Bob Leonard 08/28/23
No matter how much progress we make in reducing the GHGs in our atmosphere (so far we’ve made none), ecosystem damage and severe weather events will continue for decades. Children in pre-K today will spend…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE THE TEACHING OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SCHOOLS

A seventh climate change education bill in New York

03/26/21
Senate Bill 4781 would, if enacted, require the state commissioner of education to "make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for social studies, economics, geography, and government classes in New York schools…

Senate Bill S4781

03/26/21
Requires the commissioner of education to make recommendations to the board of regents relating to adjusting curricula for certain classes to include climate change education  

Resolution to support climate change education introduced in Congress

03/26/21
House Resolution 29, introduced in the House of Representatives on January 11, 2021, would, if adopted, express the House's support for "teaching climate change in public and private schools at all grade levels."  

H.Res.29 – Supporting the teaching of climate change in schools.

03/26/21
Ms. Lee of California (for herself, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Espaillat, Ms. Norton, Mr. Tonko, Ms. Castor of Florida, Mrs. Hayes, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Lowenthal, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Ms. Meng, Mr. Morelle, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Blumenauer, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Hastings,…

KEY RESOURCES

Teach About Climate Change With 30 Graphs From The New York Times

01/31/24
How can we help students really see climate change when it is a planet-wide process gradually unfolding over decades? Any given hurricane, prolonged drought or scorching hot day (or summer) might be more likely to…

STEM Lessons for Educators – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

09/11/23
Explore standards-aligned lessons from NASA-JPL in science, technology, engineering and math for students for grades K-12. Engage students in NASA missions exploring Earth and space.

The Journal of Climate Literacy in Education

09/07/23
Climate Literacy in Education (CLE) is a peer-reviewed, open-access scholarly journal that publishes practical, teacher-oriented content on all aspects of climate literacy education at all grade levels and across all subject areas (primarily K-16, but…

NOAA, Smithsonian and fed partners seeking suggestions to update key climate literacy guide

03/23/23
NOAA, as part of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), is requesting suggestions on structure, topics, and content to help update a key national climate literacy guide used by educators, policymakers, and scientists across…

CLEAN – a Collection of Climate and Energy Education Resources

06/16/22
A team of educators and scientists has reviewed and organized the best free teaching resources for K-12 through college. Go Entire Collection Activities Videos Visualizations Featured Resource Earth: An animated...

Columbia Climate School

01/04/22
The Columbia Climate School's mission is to develop and inspire knowledge-based solutions and educate future leaders for just and prosperous societies on a healthy planet.

For Educators

07/08/21
The following organizations provide reviewed listings of the best available student and educators resources related to global climate change, including NASA products.

U.S. Department of Energy Education Resources

06/04/21
The D.O.E. provides a collection of energy fundamentals videos, K-12 education resources, Spanish content, and more.

Climate Change is Our Generation’s Biggest Challenge

03/26/21
3 Million Students Educated on Climate Science, Impacts and Solutions    

High-level event: Education – A key driver to scale-up climate action

03/26/21
This event brought together ministers of environment and education, and international organizations to discuss how education can enhance the implementation of INDCs and climate action. Good practices were showcased. A guidance document for policymakers and ACE focal…

Living Landscapes Climate Science Project

03/26/21
Funded by NASA, the Living Landscapes Climate Science Project is a comprehensive set of culture-based climate science educational resources for native communities. Learn more about NASA's role in developing the curriculum.

NASA’s Climate Kids

03/26/21
NASA’s Climate Kids website brings climate science to life with fun games, interactive features and exciting articles.

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network

03/26/21
The CLEAN project, a part of the National Science Digital Library, provides a reviewed collection of resources to aid students' understanding of the core ideas in climate and energy science, coupled with the tools to…

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network

03/26/21
This web site houses a reviewed collection of K-20 educational resources meant to help students’ understand the core ideas in climate and energy science. These resources have been linked to the essential climate and energy…

Global Climate Change: The Effects of Global Warming

03/26/21
Students conduct an experiment to determine CO2 levels in four different gases, examine evidence of global warming in our environment, and consider their own role in contributing to global warming.  

NASA Wavelength

03/26/21
This reviewed collection of NASA Earth and space science resources is for educators of all levels: K-12, higher education and informal science education. Find climate resources in the collection at the following link, which can…

Global Climate Change: Understanding the Greenhouse Effect

03/26/21
Changes to Earth's global climate have had and will have major consequences for life on Earth. Using evidence preserved in ice for tens of thousands of years, scientists are searching for an understanding of the…

National Climate Assessment Resources for Educators

03/26/21
The National Climate Assessment offers a wealth of actionable science about the causes, effects, risks and possible responses to human-caused climate change. NOAA, the NCAnet Education Affinity Group, and members of the CLEAN Network have developed a series…

NOAA: Teaching Climate

03/26/21
This website contains reviewed resources for teaching about climate and energy.

Climate Change Lessons: JPL Education

03/26/21
This collection of climate change lessons and activities for grades K-12 is aligned with Next Generation Science and Common Core Math Standards and incorporates NASA missions and science along with current events and research.

Climate Change Education

03/26/21
A large body of scientific information indicates that global climate change is unequivocal, almost certainly is caused mostly by human activities, is already causing significant harm, and as it continues, holds great risks for our…

Climate Change Education

03/26/21
Watershed STEM Grantees share stories about how they implement their projects, adapt to challenges, and work collaboratively towards a blue planet in the eeBLUE: Watershed Chronicles blog. This month, Dr. Jennifer Jones and Dr. Heather…

Next Generation Science Standards

03/26/21
Next Generation Science Standards identifies the science all K-12 students should know. These new standards are based on the National Research Council's A Framework for K-12 Science Education. The National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association,…

AFT and First Book unveil to Kill a Mockingbird

03/26/21
AFT and First Book unveil to Kill a Mockingbird

MORE NEWS

How Should Climate Change Be Taught In Schools Across America?

By Andrew Urevig   06/20/19  
Yet the education system, like the climate system, is complex. Across the country, from elementary to high school — and from science class to social studies — other teachers are taking the initiative to tackle…
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8 Ways To Teach Climate Change In Almost Any Classroom

By Anya Kamenetz   04/25/19  
NPR/Ipsos conducted a national poll recently and found that more than 8 in 10 teachers — and a similar majority of parents — support teaching kids about climate change. But in reality, it's not always…
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Should climate change be taught in schools? Parents and teachers think so

By Study International Staff   04/25/19  
Climate change has long been a global issue, but it was recently thrust into the spotlight when young environmental activist Greta Thunberg initiated a worldwide school strike climate movement that fast became viral.
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Most Teachers Don’t Teach Climate Change; 4 In 5 Parents Wish They Did

By Anya Kamenetz   04/22/19  
More than 80% of parents in the U.S. support the teaching of climate change. And that support crosses political divides, according to the results of an exclusive new NPR/Ipsos poll: Whether they have children or…
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Kids to teachers: We need to talk about climate change

By Zoe Sayler   03/21/19  
Portland resolved three years ago to build climate literacy into public school curriculums, but 17-year-old Sriya Chinnam, one of the strike’s organizers, said the district hasn’t delivered: “We are demanding that they take charge and…
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“Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers”

By Eric Plutzer, Mark McCaffrey and others   02/11/16  
The first nationwide survey of climate change education in the United States, conducted by researchers at NCSE and Pennsylvania State University, was described in "Climate Confusion Among U.S. Teachers," published (PDF) in the February 12,…
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“Stupid Book of Wrongness”

By Eric Fishman   01/01/16  
I found Susan huddled in the corner making a new cover for the book. She had drawn cartoon flames leaping around angry faces, and as I peered over her shoulder she wrote enormous bubble letters…
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Climate Change Science Poised to Enter Nation’s Classrooms

By Katherine Bagley   03/04/13  
New national science standards that make the teaching of global warming part of the public school curriculum are slated to be released this month, potentially ending an era in which climate skepticism has been allowed…
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