Earlier this month, the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society published research citing that emissions of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels was partly responsible for about half a dozen extreme weather events in 2012.
It’s clear we all need to do our part to deal with this issue. Here at NYSCI, we’ve been focusing on education. In partnership with Deutsche Bank, we developed climate change curriculums for use in middle schools and high schools. The curriculums can be downloaded for free on the My Carbon Footprint blog.
And now, we’re offering a free workshop about climate change communications on Thursday, October 10 from 10 am – 3:30 pm. Part of our work with the Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP), the workshop is designed for organizations and institutions that want to introduce climate change messaging into their existing programs. The workshop is open not only to groups with a primary focus of climate change education, but also to organizations interested in city systems, such as transportation or public health, that will be affected by climate change. Registration for this workshop is open through September 30. Do your part and register!
Last week, new guidelines for K–12 science education were released. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by 26 states, along with the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve. The standards emphasize critical thinking over content memorization and identify science and engineering practices that students should master to be fully prepared for college and careers.
NGSS also recommends that students learn about climate change. For the last two years, we have partnered with Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management on a program called My Carbon Footprint, an educational initiative designed to build awareness about climate change science. As a result of this project, we have developed two climate change curriculums – one for middle schools and one for high schools – that include hands-on activities that give students the foundation they need to understand climate change. Both curriculums align to the seven crosscutting scientific and engineering concepts identified in the NGSS framework: patterns; cause and effect; scale, proportion, and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter: flows, cycles and conservation; structure and function; stability and change. The curriculums can be downloaded for free and can help guide teachers who implement climate change science lessons into their classrooms.
The NGSS guidelines are voluntary, but many educators are applauding the move away from rote memorization. Our president and CEO, Margaret Honey, said in a recent USA Today article that children should be taught
“how to learn and how to be discerning…When I was a kid, education was memorizing and learning lots of facts — that methodology of teaching absolutely no longer makes sense. That’s not the world we live in anymore.”
Tornadoes in Queens, snowstorms in October, stranded polar bears. It’s clear we need to do some serious thinking – and acting – about climate change.
More than 100 teachers throughout the New York region have taken up the challenge and are implementing a new climate change curriculum into their middle school classrooms. Part of a two-year partnership between NYSCI and Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, the My Carbon Footprint curriculum will give students the scientific foundation they need to understand climate change and its related issues. With hands-on activities such as analyzing layers of soil, deconstructing electronic products to determine their effects on the environment, and simulating the effects of sea level rise on a tabletop beach house, students will learn about scientific concepts related to climate change such as mitigation, adaptation, climate variability and more.
Last November, the teachers began the process by attending a professional development workshop at NYSCI, where they learned about the curriculum and tried out some of the hands-on activities. Within the next few months, teachers will introduce the climate change lessons into their classrooms, reaching approximately 12,000 students.
That’s good news for Queens residents, polar bears, and all who share the planet with them.