Students express understanding and viewpoints about climate change
Jolene Smock, a science teacher at Charter School of Excellence in Erie, PA recently engaged her 11th grade science class to think about science and climate change a little differently. Their challenge: to choose a focus of interest from a list of 29 climate change related topics, research it, and write an essay. Their essays were to describe the issue at hand, offer ideas to solve the problem, consider the types of careers that could help solve the problem, and to express themselves and their opinions.
Smock, who is a second-year participant in Sea Grant’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) teacher training program, says she was trying to find a new way to translate climate change studies to her students. After talking with PA Sea Grant’s senior education specialist, Marti Martz, she decided to engage her students in doing their own research about a topic they found interesting, and to write about it. ‘My students didn’t realize how much impact climate change has on things like our food, health, and energy. I’m glad I made the choice to do something a little different, because they really excelled at this assignment.’
Marti Martz thought it would be an interesting opportunity to showcase the students as spokespeople on the topic of climate change, and to share what they had learned this year. ‘I think these essays do a great job of demonstrating how Jolene’s efforts have brought the issue of climate change home to her students,’ Martz said. ‘It’s a great opportunity to hear the voices and opinions of young students instead of hearing our adult voices all the time.’Details