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Climate Change in Curriculums

Empty streets during COVID-19

Kids are now in the full swing of school and starting to delve into the thick of their curriculum. While many topics might appear on the syllabus, very few of them will be comprehensive; including climate change. As reported by the New York Times, “According to a 2016 study from the National Center for Science Education, 71 percent of middle- and high-school science teachers spent one or more classes on climate change. Of those teachers, the median amount of time they devoted was just 1.5 class hours per school year. The topic is covered most frequently in earth science, which only 7 percent of high schoolers take. Among teachers of all subjects, fewer than half say they’ve ever addressed the issue.”

In 2018, Colorado updated its science education standards to include anthropogenically caused climate change in both middle and high school. Prior to this, the wording was much looser, saying that "Human actions such as burning fossil fuels might impact Earth’s climate," according to the National Center for Science Education. The new standards gained overwhelming support from Colorado science teachers as it updated many other subjects as well. The full 2018 Colorado Academic Standards for Science can be read here.

Take the climate change discussion into your own hands. Ask your kids what they already know and what they are curious about and lead into an age-appropriate discussion from there. Be hopeful but not blindly optimistic. You want to empower them to find solutions to the real climate problems facing our world. According to The Conversation, "Climate change education was most effective when it focused on personally relevant and meaningful information and used active and engaging teaching methods." Scientific podcasts, videos, and scholarly articles are all great supporting media, just make sure you vet the validity of the information yourself first. And never underestimate the power of your own backyard or local parks; invigorate your kids with a love of nature from an early age by playing outside and loving the Earth they live on.

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