Teaching Climate Science: Tools For Teachers

We help offer professional development for K-5th grade science teachers to effectively teach climate science.

55% of teachers surveyed in a national survey conducted by NPR in 2019 said they do not cover climate change in their own classrooms, or even talk to their students about it because it’s outside their subject area, they don’t have the materials, or don’t feel they know enough about the subject to teach it. Yet 80% of parents in the U.S. support teaching climate science.

RE Sources is part of a statewide network of support for climate science learning, called ClimeTime, that exists to provide the tools and resources to help teachers and their students understand climate science issues affecting Washington communities.

The program is implemented by our Sustainable Schools team in partnership with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in collaboration with Northwest ESD 189, who serves 35 districts in Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties. RE Sources and its partners Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, Wild Whatcom, and Common Threads Farm are working to serve the teachers of Whatcom County. Through teacher trainings, we encourage place-based, outdoor learning that teaches resilience, respect, and conservation of nature, while connecting to state teaching standards (Next Generation Science Standards). Our goal is to strengthen teachers’ confidence and resources to teach about the challenging topic of climate science, and to promote environmental stewardship.

We believe in supporting our teachers, providing professional development, and generating science-based, classroom-ready curriculum they can use to talk to their students about climate change — tools they can integrate easily into their existing curriculum and meet state standards.

FAQs

When it comes to one of the most pressing global problems, the message adults are sending is silence. Fewer than half of parents have discussed the issue with their children. Most teachers don’t even talk about climate change in their classrooms. 55% of teachers surveyed by NPR in a nationwide survey in 2019 said they do not cover climate change in their own classrooms, or even talk to their students about it because it’s outside their subject area, or they don’t have the materials or don’t feel they know enough about the subject to teach it.

Nearly 77% of available educational resources on climate science are produced by the oil industry, climate deniers, and other sources with misleading or outdated information, according to a review conducted by The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network.

It is critical that we support our teachers, provide professional development, and generate science-based, classroom-ready curriculum they can use to talk to their students about climate change — tools they can integrate easily into their existing curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards performance expectations.

In addition to providing the tools and curriculum to help teachers become confident in teaching climate science, we’re encouraging teaching in ways that acknowledge and support different ways of knowing and learning disabilities. We know that each student has their own unique way of understanding the world and taking in information. Instead of expecting students to homogenize, we are providing teachers with a broad array of powerful resources that take into account every student’s differences and supports their unique way of knowing.

We are also working to help teachers make climate science transdisciplinary, linking math and language learning goals to science topics. Because science is often prioritized behind other subjects in the lower grades, it is even more valuable to provide a holistic, transdisciplinary approach teachers can readily adopt. 

ClimeTime is facilitated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in collaboration with the UW Institute for Science and Math Education funded by the Washington state legislature, per Governor Jay Inslee’s request. Washington is the only state currently mandating climate education.

You can support this work in three critical ways:

  1. Become a monthly donor, or give a generous one-time gift. Click here to become a ClimeTime climate science funder.
  2. Spread the word about RE Sources’ educational offerings and climate science curriculum to the teachers and administrators you know. Follow us on Facebook and share.
  3. Volunteer to help strengthen the reach of our environmental education, climate science curriculum, and teacher trainings. Sign up below to receive newsletters and volunteer opportunities!

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Donate

You can support this work in three critical ways:

  1. Become a monthly donor, or give a generous one-time gift. Click here to become a ClimeTime climate science funder.
  2. Spread the word about RE Sources’ educational offerings and climate science curriculum to the teachers and administrators you know. Follow us on Facebook and share.
  3. Volunteer to help strengthen the reach of our environmental education, climate science curriculum, and teacher trainings. Sign up below to receive newsletters and volunteer opportunities!

Sign up