Minda Berbeco's picture

Introducing the IPCC to Your Students: Where to Start?

If you are a teacher, you are no doubt in a daily battle to capture your students’ interest and attention. If time is short, classroom time is even shorter. The IPCC report is not something that should be missed; even a single class devoted to it could substantially change your students’ lives. So where to start? Where to focus your attention?

Whether you are a biology teacher or an earth sciences teacher, Figure SPM. 1b is the place to start with your students: Observed change in average surface temperature 1901-2012. Notice the colors, notice the areas impacted, notice that it is getting hot!

How can this figure fit into your class? If your focus is Earth Sciences, you can explore with your students why different parts of the world experiencing greater warming than others. You can discuss the differences among surface, atmospheric, and ocean temperature. You can talk about how heat travels around the globe. While if your focus is Biology, you can ask questions about how ecosystems, animals, or even plants will change in response to this warming. Both fit into basic science standards: Climate (which is in most Earth Sciences standards) and the Impact of Climate on Biological Systems (which is in most Biology standards).

Stay tuned for more tips today!