Curriculum

Warming Up to Climate Studies

By Alexandra R. Moses — February 26, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It started with a song. Science teacher Kellie Sutliff-Brady wanted to get her students talking about global warming, so she hit ‘play’ on Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up,” from the soundtrack of the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

Kellie Sutliff-Brady's students did their own global-warming research.

Then she asked her 10th grade honors biology students at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to conduct their own research into global warming. The students dove in, taking on so many projects that she ran out of teaching time for the topic.

Their reaction to the assignment “was beyond my expectations,” Sutliff-Brady says. “They loved it.”

See Also

See the accompanying resources,

Online Activities

The key to introducing climate change was allowing students to draw their own conclusions through independent research. “This is such a heated issue—there is no way you can tell them exactly what you think,” Sutliff-Brady says.

Whether global climate change is an actual phenomenon isn’t much in dispute; however, people do disagree on how much the Earth is changing and what types of emissions affect it. Sutliff-Brady says the research helped students understand the major issues.

After the initial assignment, students developed a survey to take into their community. Among their findings: 85 percent of the adults surveyed said the world is too dependent on fossil fuels, but 60 percent also said environmentalists are overreacting.

The students then broke into groups to study climate change’s effect on various ecosystems—deserts, temperate forests, rainforests, and tundra. Each group also had to find a way to educate others. One held a bake sale to raise money for a copy of the Inconvenient Truth DVD and book; another raffled off energy-saving light bulbs; and three others gave talks to middle and elementary school classes.

“I let them come up with some ideas and I fine-tuned,” says Sutliff-Brady, a former pharmaceutical researcher who has been teaching for six years. The students were so enthusiastic that she organized an after-school club called the Green Team, which aims to raise awareness and help the school reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions.

“These teenagers are passionate,” Sutliff-Brady says. “They now understand that this issue affects their future.”

A version of this article appeared in the March 01, 2007 edition of Teacher as Warming Up to Climate Studies


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum He Taught About White Privilege and Got Fired. Now He's Fighting to Get His Job Back
Matthew Hawn is an early casualty in this year's fight over how teachers can discuss with students America's struggle with racism.
13 min read
Social studies teacher Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for sharing Kyla Jenèe Lacey's, 'White Privilege', poem with his Contemporary Issues class. Hawn sits on his couch inside his home on August 17, 2021.
Matthew Hawn is accused of insubordination and repeated unprofessional conduct for lessons and materials he used to teach about racism and white privilege in his Contemporary Issues class at Sullivan Central High School in Blountville, Tenn.<br/>
Caitlin Penna for Education Week
Curriculum What's the Best Way to Address Unfinished Learning? It's Not Remediation, Study Says
A new study suggests acceleration may be a promising strategy for addressing unfinished learning in math after a pandemic year.
5 min read
Female high school student running on the stairs leads to an opportunity to success
CreativaImages/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Curriculum School Halts Use of Fictional Book in Which Officer Kills a Black Child
Fifth graders in at least one Broward County school were assigned to read a book that critics say casts police officers as racist liars.
Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5 min read
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alhadeff told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she does not feel like the book "Ghost Boys" is appropriate for 5th graders.
Lynne Sladky/AP
Curriculum Opinion Introducing Primary Sources to Students
Five educators share strategies for introducing primary sources to students, including English-language learners.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty