"Climate change, of course, is a politically fraught topic in the United States, where Republican politicians and representatives of the fossil fuel industry have sought to cast doubt on the established science of human-caused global warming," Harmon writes in Wednesday's piece. "Even most states that have adopted the scientific consensus as part of their education standards — and many have not — so far do not require assessments of whether students understand it. And one recent survey suggests that some science teachers simply skim over the topic. But many of the teachers I heard from, including those in conservative strongholds, described efforts to impart the reality of climate change whether or not it was an official part of the curriculum."
Here's what teachers told Harmon about their experiences teaching climate change:
Jenny Pye, a home-school teacher in Greenville, N.C., writes, "There's strong evidence to support the theory that humans are contributing to climate change, so I teach that, and I also teach the controversy surrounding it to my kids. We live in a rural, conservative area, and especially as home-schoolers, we have lots of friends who have reached different conclusions. It's important to teach the difference between good and bad science."
Miller and his students in Prince William Sound
(Credit: Josh Miller)
Elizabeth McClearly, a teacher in Lawrence, Mass., uses humor to teach about how agriculture impacts climate change. "My eighth grade students are most surprised to see how agricultural farming plays a role — they enjoy hearing how 'cow farts' are a leading contributor to an increase in greenhouse gases. Ha! Like I said: eighth graders."