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Digging Into Climate Change, U.S. Students Find More Than Science


Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, education, endangered, environment, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, politics, pollution, research, science )

Kit
- 820 days ago - scientificamerican.com
The unit represents the vanguard of a nationwide effort, pushed by education and science groups, to broaden climate change education into a variety of physical and social science classes in public school curricula.



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Kit B. (276)
Friday September 28, 2012, 12:07 pm
(Image: flickr/Jon Sullivan)


BERLIN, Md.—Fifth grader Aman Shahzad looked closely at the level attached to the plumb line. "Lower, lower," she called out. "OK! The bubble is in the middle." Her classmate, holding the wooden surveyor's pole, read the measurement: 14 centimeters.

The two students were from Pemberton Elementary School in nearby Salisbury, Md., the first to participate in a new, three-month interdisciplinary unit called "Investigating Climate Science" that spans science, math, economics and government. On this spring day on Maryland's eastern shore, they were on a field trip to Assateague Island, measuring the slope of the beach as the first step in a lesson on sea-level rise.

The unit represents the vanguard of a nationwide effort, pushed by education and science groups, to broaden climate change education into a variety of physical and social science classes in public school curricula.

Yet even here, in one the most sophisticated climate change education units in the nation, teachers still feel the need to balance what the world's scientific bodies know about climate change with what is represented in the public dialogue: avoiding terms like "global warming" and including a lesson questioning humanity's impact on the problem.

The three-month unit is designed for middle school and high-achieving elementary students. It was developed by four teachers in the Wicomico County Public Schools' gifted and talented program with help from environmental educator Carrie Samis of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. Lessons focus on climate science and hone critical thinking skills.

• In one lesson, students examined and analyzed editorial cartoons related to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of building a pipeline to ferry crude oil from Alberta's tarsands to the United States.

• Another lesson examined the possible causes of changing climates, differentiating between anthropogenic and natural ones. Students studied greenhouse gases, climate indicators, and carbon footprints, then predicted positive and negative effects climate change may have on agriculture, the economy, infrastructure and wildlife.

• The full-day field trip to Assateague Island showed students how vulnerable the barrier island is to sea-level rise. They conducted a mock debate, acting as local stakeholders, on the impacts of salt marsh migration.

• One lesson, called "the controversy," probes "both sides of the story." It examines uncertainties in historic data, fossil records, ice core samples and tree rings, posing the questions, "How do we know?" and "Where is the proof?"

• Several lessons are devoted to developing climate action plans and deciding what – if anything – students should do about climate change.

The diversified approach reaches and engages students via a number of different avenues. Gabe Dunn, a fifth grader at Westside Intermediate School, in Hebron, Md., liked the unit's hands-on science and civics activities, especially debating the viability of land development amid marsh migration and sea-level rise. Cade Stone, a fifth grader at Pemberton Elementary, found the editorial cartoons appealing.

The unit has generated controversy.

Months before the lessons began, parents voiced concern over the contents and stressed a need for "balance." Virtually every scientist studying atmospheric and earth sciences says climate change is real and that humans are the cause. But some parents sought inclusion of opposing theories, such as other causes and doubts that climate change is occurring.

In response, Nancy Rowe, one of four teachers developing the unit, devised lessons to show that climate change is not all caused by humans. "We want to be balanced," Rowe said.
***Please continue to read page 2 at Visit Site *****


By Lisa Palmer and The Daily Climate for Scientific American
 

Brian M. (202)
Friday September 28, 2012, 1:27 pm
Climate change is all the proof we need that capitalism is toxic to people and to the environment.
 

JL A. (276)
Friday September 28, 2012, 1:58 pm
So sad when personal beliefs founded on who knows what is added to balance science in what our children learn........
 

marie c. (168)
Friday September 28, 2012, 4:22 pm
Noted people never cease to amaze me
Thanks Kit
 

pam w. (191)
Friday September 28, 2012, 9:38 pm
"We want to be balanced...?"

Balanced with WHAT? Ignorance? Magical thinking?
 

Craig Pittman (47)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:29 am
Noted thanks Kit. It's tragic this wasn't part of the curriculum when I was in school .
 

Muriel Servaege (48)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 7:44 am
Thank you for posting, Kit. I'm sad to see that peopla are still refusing and rejecting the words 'gliobal warming'. It's high time everybody became aware of what they have caused. To deny the phenomenon won't change anything, on the contrary.
 

g d c. (0)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 11:06 am
ty
 

Allan Yorkowitz (448)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 11:18 am
Although the findings of these students were disappointing, it was a tremendous environmental science lesson. This is how to hook children into caring for the planet- it only takes a couple. I wish more school systems would go out of their way and teach the same lesson.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 11:35 am

You and I both Allan. Schools do not have to spend money on field trips to teach this, it can be by observation and teaching students how to make those observations. I built a simple gadget for teaching students how a tornado works, it didn't cost me much and student did learn the how's and why's of tornadoes. Give a teacher some room to teach and they will bring the world into a classroom.
 

Dave C. (227)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 1:03 pm
this sounds like a curriculum that should be taught to all students world-wide (at least in the wealthy countries that could be doing more to fight all kinds of environmental damages)
 

reece C. (29)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 3:29 pm
We can solve climate change very easily this November. Just vote for a tea bag republican, they say it doesn't exist and will make it all go away!
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 4:19 pm

Thanks Reece, I guess I just needed to have it all explained so simply.
 

Terry V. (30)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:43 pm
noted

EARTH CRY video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jppmMcjgWS0
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 5:49 pm

Thanks Terry for sharing that video, I hope others watch.
 

Aletta Kraan (146)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 7:40 pm
Sounds very interesting , thanks !
 

Sherri O. (257)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 8:14 pm
People doubt because they cannot and will not accept truth.
 

Kit B. (276)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 8:16 pm

It's easier to say that is not true then to face the facts and make the needed changes and there is a lot we need to change.
 

Linda h. (86)
Saturday September 29, 2012, 9:13 pm
Thank you for this Kit.
 

Sonny Honrado (6)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 8:59 am
Noted.
 

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 30, 2012, 8:26 pm
Too many of these climate change articles omit the most toxic destroyer of elements, forests, and life of all: Raising of our animal relatives as food for people! If 1 person exchanges eating meat / animal products for a vegan diet, they'll reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 tons per year.
If every American dropped one serving of chicken per week from their diet, it would save the same amount of CO2 emissions as taking 500,000 cars off the road.
Chickens, turkeys, pigs and cows are collectively the largest producer of methane in the U.S.
Methane is 20x more powerful at trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
The meat, egg, and dairy industries produce 65% of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions.
Nitrous Oxide is 300x more powerful at trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
1 calorie from animal protein requires 11x as much fossil fuel as 1 calorie of plant protein.
The diets of meat eaters create 7x the greenhouse emissions as the diet of vegans.
Nearly half of all water used in the U.S. goes to raising animals for human food.
It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat.
1 pound of wheat takes 25 gallons.
You'd save more water by not eating one lb of meat than you would by not taking a shower for 6 months.
A vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day vs. meat-eating diet which requires 4,000 gallons per day.
Animals raised for food create 89,000 lbs of excrement per second, none of which benefits from the waste-treatment facilities human excrement does.
Chicken, Hog, and Cattle excrement has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states.
Raising animals for human food uses 30% of the Earth's land mass. That's about the same size as Asia! The moon has less area than that, at 14.6 million sq miles.
More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals. Corn destroys to intestines and stomachs of steers and cows. GMOs and pesticides, whether sprayed or systemic, are destroy bees/pollinators, soil, air, human and animal health, and corrupt organic crops.
The equivalent of 7 football fields of land are bulldozed every minute to create room for farmed animals.
Livestock grazing is the number one cause of plant species becoming threatened or going extinct in the U.S.
70% of grain and cereals grown in the U.S. are fed to farmed animals. 90% of corn is.
Animals eat large quantities of grain, soybeans, oats, and corn; however, they only produce a comparatively small amount of meat, dairy products, or eggs in return.
It requires 16 lbs of grain to produce 1 lb of meat.
5 lbs of wild-caught fish to produce 1 pound of farmed fish.
Acidification of the oceans, coral reef death, dead zones are due to animal waste and "cides" from the GMO crops.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Tuesday October 2, 2012, 12:46 pm
Noted and thanks Kit. As a now retired environment science educator, I found this to be wonderful news for the young being taught and hope for all of we 'earthlings'.
 

Michela m. (3955)
Monday October 15, 2012, 5:03 pm


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