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Global Warming Teaching Issues

A page dedicated to teachers interested in discussing issues related to teaching climate change using the Global Warming? module. The comments and questions below were submitted by Tom Wellnitz at the Paideia School in Atlanta, GA.  Please email us with your answers to his questions or other comment and suggestions and we will be happy to post them on this page (webmaster@eventbasedscience.com) . 

1. Syun-Ichi Akasofu is skeptical. Syun-Ichi Akasofu is the 76-year-old former director of both the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) International Arctic Research Center. He thinks that today's global warming might be more due to the planet's natural recovery from its last cold period than from our pumping of greenhouse gases into the air. Read about his theories in an April 1, 2007 article in the Anchorage Daily News  http://www.adn.com/life/story/8756517p-8658008c.html 

2. I am noticing that my 8th grade students are having a hard time putting themselves into representatives of their countries. Their ideas for solutions seem to come from their experiences as students in the United States. I made some progress with this by using countries that are listed in Material World: A Global Family Portrait, Peter Menzel, Sierra Club Books, 1994.

2. I am wondering how others have set up their international meetings. To keep students accountable, I am experimenting with each country needing to make a recommendation; with typical class size around 15, this still should be manageable. Then we will vote on them. 

3. While I think students are grasping the main concepts of climate change, I think they have a hard time coming to grips with how these ideas might effect their country' economy. Some I attribute to their lack of experience with what happens in a country's economic situation. I am wondering if there are ideas to help give background in this area. 

4. I am wondering if others have had success with getting students to look deeply into their suggestions. For example, their recommendation might be to reduce fossil fuel use. I am happy with the few groups that might add by increasing gas mileage of cars. Too often though "reduce fuel use" is all they can see, where their country might not use very much fuel, or their population is growing rapidly. Another example is "do more recycling" without looking at how to make this happen. I am not sure students if students have developed enough mentally at this age to make the links, but I would like to challenge them more.  On a related issue, I wonder if anyone has tried to make their students try to explain whether their proposed action will account for a large, small, or negligible reduction in carbon dioxide. For example, I am trying to get students who propose using more wind energy for electricity
to research how much electricity comes from a large wind plant and how this might compare to the country's electricity needs. (For electricity needs we are using the spreadsheets available from www.eia.doe.gov .) 

5. I am interested in what others have developed to help scaffold student thinking, research, and organization of information. My students have needed a great deal to keep them on track. I will share what I have put together this summer when I refine my first attempts.

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Last updated on Thursday, November 01, 2007