November Workshop was held in Bemidji

CYCLES’s November workshop was held at Bemidji middle school at Sat Nov 19th. The workshop is for helping teachers to understand Big Ideas in the climate change literacy and how to use the big ideas for their lesson planning to teach climate change.

During the workshop, we began by concept mapping to review what we learned about climate change over the summer and capture our growing understanding of climate change. From the concept maps, we talked about “Big Ideas” in climate change and how they relate to standards. We reviewed two documents – Climate Literacy Principles (from NOAA) and Science Literacy Maps (from AAAS) – that provide helpful language for setting goals for classroom activities and curricula. From there, we discussed a possible way of developing a unit on climate and weather, starting with standards and mapping them onto activities.

One of the activities we looked at was the American Museum of Natural History’s Climate Events visualization. We talked about how this could be used in a classroom as an introduction to weather and climate, and could connect with other activities that look at data. We also try to address the big ideas in Native perspectives. As an example, we read a Native American story – “Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle” – from Joseph Bruchac’s book, Keepers of the Earth. We took turns reading the story as a group and discussed appropriate ways in which teachers could incorporate these into their curriculum.


In the afternoon, we focused more on the Big ideas about “climate vs climate change”, which is addressed in the Climate Literacy Principle 4A and 4C. Teachers spent time in the computer lab manipulating climate data from a user friendly climate data website “NOAA’s US Climate at a Glance” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/cag3.html.  Teachers looked at different set of climate data by region as well as by different climate condition such as precipitation, temperature, and weather events. They manipulated the data to find if the change of climate conditions indicate climate change. Teachers also looked at different representation of the climate data and interpreted the representations to understand climate change by specific region they chose from the website.

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