As you probably know, NCSE released the first national survey on the teaching of climate change in public schools last week in Science. Why did we do this survey? Our executive director, Ann Reid, wrote yesterday in our blog:

“We had anecdotal evidence, and some good, but not national, survey data, suggesting that efforts to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change were seeping into science classrooms.”

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I’m often approached by teachers looking for new ways to connect their students to climate change. Sure there are lessons and videos galore through groups like the CLEAN network, but what about books that are engaging and, most importantly, age-appropriate? That becomes a trickier task, particularly as middle school and elementary teachers try to find new ways to engage their students.

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On the first day of every school year, I ask my students to draw a scientist. After questioning looks and a round of giggles, the majority of them draw the well-known ‘Einstein’ figure, an older white male with crazy hair and eyeglasses.This figure will inevitably be drawn next to a table of smoking chemicals, and even if it’s just a stick figure, it becomes obvious that his scientific intentions are not necessarily for the good of humankind.

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In November, I attended WGBH’s forum on digital media in STEM learning. The topic: climate education. NCSE’s friends from the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) were there in force, as were representatives from NOAA Education, NASA, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, and Young Voices for the Planet.

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When I was in my first year of high school, I started a club to promote recycling and beautification within my community. Just three years later, at the age of 17, I sued my state of Pennsylvania for not taking adequate actions to address climate change. All the while, I lived below the poverty line in a small Appalachian community where environmental endeavors were not always thought about or smiled upon.

Who inspired me to dive so deeply into environmentalism, supported my efforts and ideas? A science teacher.

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