Climate Lessons Update – September 2016

Letter to Climate Change Educators

Welcome back to the school year, educators! We are so excited to help you bring climate change into your classrooms, museums, nature centers and communities. This year we’re challenging you to make a commitment to do something new – maybe try out a lesson you’ve always wanted to do, or put on that public program you’ve been thinking your community could use. This month’s Climate Lessons Update is full of resources and examples from educators and students around the country that we hope will inspire you. Finally, we’d love to hear from you and why you choose to #teach4climate! Read on below about how to join a nationwide campaign to share why what you do is important!

Kristen Poppleton & Jenna Totz
Education Program
Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy

Climate Generation Happenings


teach4climateDo you #teach4climate? There are many ways to draw on the resources and opportunities presented by this national campaign – check out our recent blog post for more context. We need you to help amplify #teach4climate by sending a selfie representing your 2016-2017 climate change education commitments to, or posting it to social media using the hashtag #teach4climate. If you post, help us create a social media storm by sharing your image on Weds 9/7 as close to 10 am CST as possible. Let’s see if we can get #teach4climate trending. With your help, we’re excited to be lifting up the strong climate and energy literacy work happening across the US! Don’t forget to tag us (@ClimateGenOrg) in the post.

Share our eNewsletter with fellow teachers

subscribeDo you think our monthly Climate Lessons Update eNewsletter is a valuable resource? Share it with your colleagues and ask them to click here to subscribe!

Education Ambassador program

As the 2016-2017 school year starts up, we are launching the second year of our Education Ambassador program. This year, we have selected 4 educators from around the country to participate in the program during the fall semester. Applications are still being accepted for the spring semester. Click here to apply and here to meet our fall Education Ambassadors.

Curriculum Suite

curriculua suite1Have your checked out all of our curriculum resources? We have a suite of six curricula on climate change and energy for grades 3-12 and they are free to download here. Try one out this year!


Scientists in the Classroom program

ncseNCSE has over 30 years of experience supporting the teaching of science in public schools, with a particular focus on climate change and evolution. Scientists in the Classroom is a great opportunity to connect students with real-life, early-career scientists, as well as for teachers to have an expert on board when teaching climate change! With this program, teachers and scientists collaborate as colleagues, peers, and partners in the scientific enterprise to further science education. For more information on Scientists in the Classroom, visit NCSE’s website, or email Minda Berbeco.

Solar Panels bring educational opportunities to schools

solarstem1A school in Maine and a school complex in Ohio are using solar panels for school district financial stability as well as STEM learning opportunities for students. Is this a climate solution that your school could implement as well?

State of the Climate: Highlights

stateoftheclimateThe State of the Climate report series is the authoritative annual summary of the global climate. The 2015 report is based on contributions from more than 450 scientists from 62 countries, drawing on tens of thousands of measurements of Earth’s climate. The report confirmed that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the warmest year since at least the mid-to-late 19th century. The record heat resulted from the combined influence of long-term global warming and one of the strongest El Niño events the globe has experienced since at least 1950. Most indicators of climate change continued to reflect trends consistent with a warming planet. Several markers, such as land and ocean temperatures, sea levels, and greenhouse gases, broke records set just one year prior.

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools

logo_greenribbon_schoolsHave you thought of applying to be named one of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools? If your school has worked on and implemented effective environmental and sustainability education, reduced environmental impact and cost, and improved health and wellness for the campus, apply now for the 2017 awards. Read about the great schools around the country that have been named 2016 Green Ribbon Schools.

Climate Resilience Toolkit: The Climate Explorer

resiliencetoolkitUse The Climate Explorer to explore maps and graphs of historical and projected climate trends in your local area. View data by topics to see how climate change will impact things you care about, such as your local waterways, transportation, and communities.

Resources for Minnesota Educators

FREE climate change fields trips

NPSSign-ups are now being accepted for free climate change field trips offered by the National Park Service and partners for students in grades 5-8. The field trip features three activities to support climate literacy. Bus stipends are available. Two classrooms can be accommodated on one trip. Fall dates available are: October 11, 26, & 27. The trips take place at Fort Snelling State Park.

Contact Mary Hammes with any questions or to schedule a trip. Additional information is available on the park’s website.

Solar Video Contest

certslogoAttention educators and students! This fall CERTs has decided to run a Solar Video Contest with MnSEIA leading up to their Midwest Gateway to Solar Conference in November. Here is your opportunity to think about solar energy in fun and educational ways, and to be creative! There are cash prizes and you have until October 17 to submit your video. Submit here!

What we’re reading

On the list for this month’s Bookshelf: Hot Reads For Hot Months, a Yale Climate Connections blog highlighting the new cli-fi books hitting the shelves. They include fiction and a funny comic book. No joke.

Stories from the Field

Lauren Leith, COP21 Education Ambassador, provides perspective on divestment in her latest blog: A Teacher’s Participation in Divest Invest Minnesota

Read four amazing blogs from four talented and passionate YEA! MN high school students: Elisabeth, Espoir, Izzy, and Rozy discuss their challenges and successes, insightful campus projects, and learnings from their past year of action.

Moment of Inspiration

The sound of climate change from the Amazon to the Arctic

In 2013, the composition “A Song of Our Warming Planet” transformed 133 years of global temperature measurements into a haunting melody for the cello. Now the co-creators, University of Minnesota undergraduate Daniel Crawford and geography professor Scott St. George, are back with a new composition that uses music to highlight the places where the climate is changing most rapidly.

Based on surface temperature analysis from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, the composition “Planetary Bands, Warming World” creates a visceral encounter with more than a century’s worth of weather data collected across the northern half of the planet.

As Crawford explains in the video: “Each instrument represents a specific part of the Northern Hemisphere. The cello matches the temperature of the equatorial zone. The viola tracks the mid latitudes. The two violins separately follow temperatures in the high latitudes and in the arctic.” The pitch of each note is tuned to the average annual temperature in each region, so low notes represent cold years and high notes represent warm years.

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