Why and How We Teach about Climate Change
Climate change is unlike many other topics taught in science. It is politically-laden and may be perceived as controversial in public debates because responses have immediate implications for contemporary human behaviors and practices that extend beyond the realm of science. Thus, educating students about climate change is a complex curricular and pedagogical endeavor, requiring interdisciplinary collaborations involving climate scientists, science educators, social scientists, and curriculum theorists. It also requires carefully designed curricula with a deliberate focus on understanding and conveying scientific practices, emphasizing what we know and how we know it. This approach develops students' ability to separate scientific facts from beliefs and values, making students critical consumers of information. It also develops students' capacity to make informed decisions about what actions to take and what behaviors to change in response to climate change risks, without prescribing specific actions.