Practice Brief 12 -- Topics: InformalEd Instruction Background Teaching Climate

Scientific literacy involves understanding global climate change & what people can do about it

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Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should engage students in the analysis of multiple strands of authentic climate change data, including historic, current, and predictive datasets and models.
  • District staff & PD providers should provide sustained PD opportunities that engage teachers in learning to teach about climate change from an interdisciplinary science perspective.
  • School leaders and state-level policymakers should provide resources that help teachers focus instruction on contemporary climate change.

What is the Issue?

The complexities of climate change and its interdisciplinary nature can make it feel like a daunting teaching task. However, this complexity reflects the systemic nature of many of today’s environmental challenges—making it an ideal platform for implementing practice-based instruction focused on contemporary science in the classroom. The science and engineering practices of modeling, analyzing data, argumentation, and designing solutions should be a central focus of any climate change curriculum.



Reflection Questions

  • What particular aspects of climate change could be relevant to practice-based instruction in your classroom?
  • Consider the claim from the NRC Framework: “It is clear not only that human activities play a major role in climate change but also that impacts of climate change...have begun to influence human activities.” How can this site help you engage students and community members with understanding this idea?

Things to Consider

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take


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This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Award #1920249 (previously through Awards #1238253 and #1854059). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.

Work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License. Others may adapt with attribution. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.