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How We Know What We Know: Advancing climate change education

Climate change is one of the most complex scientific and social challenges we face today. Learning about climate change offers rich opportunities for students to learn both what we know about the causes and effects of climate change and how we know what we know.  In this article, we describe what we learned from working with middle and high-school science teachers as they taught a unit about climate change in their classrooms.  We provide examples of curricular activities that facilitate students’ understanding of the tools used to collect climate change data, support their construction of arguments, and help them grasp characteristics of scientific theories.  By doing so, climate change education provides an excellent opportunity for students to connect science content, scientific practices, and the nature of scientific knowledge, as advocated for by the Next Generation Science Standards.

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