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Climate and Environment

Teaching Climate Change In The Classroom Is A Challenge — But Experts Want To Help

A young boy draws at a table.
A student practices drawing at Sylvan Park Early Education Center.
(Mariana Dale)
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Lin Andrews taught science for more than 18 years before she left the classroom to join the National Center for Science Education. Now, she helps craft the very curriculum she once taught.

Andrews says the best way to teach climate justice to kids is to show, rather than tell.

“What kids really start to see is, it's happening in areas where there are heat islands,” she said. “They're starting to see that there are inequities, and so by using those science topics of modeling and being able to interpret data, they actually come to the conclusion themselves that it's not an equal story — that different areas are being affected in different ways.”

One challenge that Andrews and other educators face is keeping politics out of the conversation, especially in classrooms with students from a range of backgrounds.

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“With teachers, we can't even poke at their political sentiment,” she said. “That's not something we're supposed to ever address in our classroom. It's really hard to broach some of these subjects, and it takes a lot of practice to have these conversations without it becoming political, because the kids will try to do that.”

Andrews hopes a more forward thinking, experience-based curriculum can help make the issue of climate justice a staple of science education.