Global warming – it’s a tricky subject to tackle, but it such an important matter to discuss with your students. When do we start introducing environmental resources for school? How do we teach climate change for kids? What if the parents disagree with global warming lessons? These are all very real questions we need to address as teachers. But more importantly, we don’t have a lot of time left to make a change in the way we impact our planet. What better place to start for real change but in the classroom. Set a good example for your students by practicing recycling in the classroom, eating more plant based meals, and cutting down on your environmental footprint.
Addressing parent concerns
I know my parents. When I implement lessons into my classroom that may cause controversy, I send a letter home to them first. First, talk to your principal to see what is appropriate policy with your school. If you have a bad principal, you may want to talk to other teachers as well. When I have students participating in holiday activities, climate change lessons, writing letters to their congressmen, or opinion writing about politics – I always send a letter home to parents first. The most important thing to let parents know is the objective of the lesson, and give them options if they want to opt out of their students participating.
Introducing climate change
What is climate change? When introducing global warming lessons, I will make sure my students understand that climate change = global warming. Global warming had caused the Earth to warm by an average of 1 degree C in the last century. This makes the weather more extreme and unpredictable. The rainfall, changing seasons, rising sea levels, and shrinking sea ice we see today can be linked to climate change. Lessons about endangered animals like this TPT endangered animals reading activity will help students make connections about climate change and it’s effect on the planet.
Causes of climate change
Teaching about climate change is a really great way to show them that they can make a difference. Any global warming lessons will emphasis how human activity has caused climate change. Over the past 150 years, countries such as the United States of America burn large amounts of fossil fuels. Examples of fossil fuels are oil and gas. The “Greenhouse Effect” is when gas released into the atmosphere traps heat from the sun and inevitably warms up our planet. Ask your students to identify when they use oil or gas, and how they can cut back on their use.
Cows are another contributor to greenhouse gases. When cows eat, methane gas builds up in their digestive system. When the gas is released it goes into the atmosphere. Eating less red meat and consuming less dairy will help battle the effect of climate change. There are almost 1.5 billion cows currently on our planet. Forests are an amazing support system for absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide, but unfortunately forests are still being cut down to this day. Cattle farming is a large cause of deforestation in the Amazon, with the United States buying 70% of the meat from the companies who are actively cutting down the rain forest.
Climate change activities for school
If you are looking for additional resources that tie in with teaching about climate change, try this Plan A Fundraiser Project Based Learning activity.
Real world examples of actionable items
- Walk or bike to school
- Recycling in the classroom
- Eat plant based meals
- Write letters to your representatives demanding action