283120 Oklahoma Teacher Climate Summit: Teaching Climate Science By Understanding Forests

Monday, 11 January 2016
Monica O'Brien Deming, Oklahoma Climatological Survey/University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and B. G. Illston, K. A. Kloesel, G. McManus, A. D. Melvin, D. E. Mattox, J. Irby, and S. Ivey

While climate change has become a very real challenge facing the planet, it has also become a challenging topic to address in the classroom. Understanding how students comprehend climate science and offering new ways to convey climate data, information, and strategies for developing critical thinking skills has become a growing necessity. One approach is to work with educators to formulate classroom strategies, curricula, and climate science resources as well as helping them engage students in the climate change conversation happening with their peers and throughout the country. This approach was taken by the Oklahoma Mesonet, Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma Project Learning Tree, and Oklahoma Forestry Services who hosted a two-day climate summit for teachers at the National Weather Center—an opportunity made possible by the Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation Project (PINEMAP) and National Project Learning Tree grant.

The partnering institutions aimed to provide educators with an in-depth tool kit of climate science activities and resources to take back to their classroom. The workshop consisted of climate specialist guest speakers, climate and forestry modules, and interactive lesson plans which allowed teachers the opportunity to step into the shoes of their students. The 14 PINEMAP modules focus on how climate change impacts forests, examine forests as a system to help student see connections, and give students the opportunity to discuss how they can take actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change within their community. The modules provide data collected by researchers. Students organize the data into graphs and tables, develop conclusions, and reinforce their learning through communicating their findings to classmates. Teachers are discovering when students are engaged in doing science and constructing solutions to problems in their communities, students learn more and their curiosity levels increase. This positive feedback mechanism results in students seeing the importance of math, science, engineering, and technology to their everyday lives. These are the types of experiences that should be occurring in every classroom. >

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner