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Cross-curriculum integration

As part of the schools initiative, we’re posting this preliminary list of thoughts on implementing climate-related activities in various subject areas:

Below are some ideas that can serve as a starting point — they’re not intended as actual classroom activities but to raise some possible ways that teachers can use to engage students and develop lesson plans or activities:

High School – cross-curriculum collaboration actually could be quite straightforward, since topics such as climate & weather are relevant in many subjects. Here are a few ideas to serve as a starting point:

  • Art – ask students to make art that raises questions or illustrates global warming impacts or processes; create posters to raise awareness or instigate action; …
  • Biology –  explore impacts on biodiversity; how organic growing sequesters carbon into the soil; climate impacts on native plants; … (some good opportunities for field work & citizen science)
  • English
    • develop climate-related prompts to have students write about climate science, public policy, what global warming will mean for various populations; develop presentation for MS & ES classes
    • publish a ‘newspaper’ with information and opinion related to global warming science & policies, greenhouse gas emissions, ‘carbon footprint’, and related subjects
  • Health – raise awareness of public health impacts of global warming, including extreme weather, heat, insect-borne diseases due to changes in range, health & climate impacts of food choices, …
  • Home Economics – The need to deal with a changing climate affects several home-ec topics including food & how the choice of food affects climate (also need to deal with health impacts of pesticides & pollution from the food system), how purchasing decisions impact climate & health…
  • Math – explore how greenhouse gas emissions [GHG] are calculated from fuel & electricity usage and what is known about fuels & combustion; help develop a GHG inventory for the school; help MS & ES students develop GHG inventories for their schools; …
  • Physics – look at mechanisms of the greenhouse effect and how it is changed by atmospheric CO2 & changes in surface albedo; help develop a GHG inventory for the school; explore the Gulf Stream and its impacts on climate in North America & Europe — and what effect melting ice in the polar regions could have; …
  • Social studies – explore national & international policy considerations or reasons for inaction, what global warming will mean for various populations, impact of Exxon concealing that they knew fossil fuels cause global warming; present to other classes & schools; …
  • STEM – ask students to design and create projects that could reduce the degree or impact of global warming

Middle school – the strategies might be much the same as for HS, although some of the science might be less specific;

Elementary school

  • Younger students could be encouraged to observe & describe the world around them, apply critical thinking to what they see and try to understand why things are the way they are, consider possible alternatives, and present their thoughts to peers — all of which will increase their understanding of how science works, develop critical thinking skills, and develop their confidence…; use both art & writing to express ideas;
  • Older students could develop writing, presentation, & math skills using climate-related data or scenarios.

Some classes may be able to get into the broader questions about stewardship and the relationship between being members of a community and individual ‘rights’. Perhaps even more important are questions about how to proceed when there is plenty of information but little in the way of definitive answers, and about what can be done to raise awareness and effect change.

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This entry was posted in Advocacy & Activism, Arts & Culture, Climate, Climate, Education for Sustainability, Fuels, Industrial Food Production, Renewable Energy, Resource Extraction, Schools & Learning, Social Justice, Sustainabilty & Health, Sustainable Living, Unsustainable Energy, Youth Development.

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