It’s that time of year again. The time when the Earth starts to wake up. Flowers are popping, bees are buzzing, and everyone (humans and animals alike) is emerging from their homes, rubbing their eyes and thinking…yikes, where have I been all year?!

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Climate science is depressing. Not gonna lie, sometimes after a day spent teaching hundreds of people how screwed we are, I feel pretty bummed out. You have to admit, the best case scenarios- the ones where we make a huge effort all together towards a sustainable future, the ones that require major policy changes and sacrifice and cooperation- are still… kind of grim. We could lose 30% of species on Earth instead of 70%! Woohoo!

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My ecology unit started in an unusually urgent manner—with a call to the doctor.

"911, this is an emergency! Let's get some vitals on the patient, stat!" Now we weren't in an emergency room, nor had any student collapsed. Instead, we were in my classroom, my students were the doctors, and the patient was planet Earth. For the next few weeks, my students set out on a journey to take the Earth’s vitals and diagnose our planet’s condition.   

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Cards, showing all four suitsImage by Enoch Lau, via Wikimedia Commons under a CC-BY-SA license. Take a card deck (no jokers). Pull out a card. What’s the probability that you’ll see a spade?

25%, right?

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When we got the results back from our national survey of climate change education, the good news jumped out at us. Climate change is actually showing up in schools.

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florida under waterA recent article in The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert’s “The Siege of Miami,” details disturbing consequences of sea level rise in Florida. The future will bring higher seas, but we normally think of climate change consequences happening nearer to the year 2100, an arbitrary target used by many climate models.

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01.20.2016

Have you ever wondered how to address climate change, or even just fossil fuels and energy, with young students? A complex and potentially heated topic, many people have argued that elementary school is too early to talk about these issues. Some teachers might even try to avoid the potential controversy by skipping over energy altogether, which is a lost opportunity for their students.

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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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