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Discuss Climate Change and the Environment

This provides teachers the materials and guidance for students to learn different perspectives on the issue of climate change and the environment, discuss them and listen to each other in a respectful and civil manner, and appreciate differences while finding common ground.

With news and materials from left, center and right sources plus a structured process for discussion, teachers, administrators and parents can be assured that multiple points of view are discussed and respected in a civil, beneficial manner.

☛ Teachers! Have you done the Relationships First component in your classroom yet? Consider starting with it to establish a solid foundation. ☚

Primary Learning Goals:

Also see how this program complies with Common Core standards.

  • Collaboration: Students will discuss climate change while working in small groups (if a large class) or as an entire class.

  • Civil conversation and conflict resolution: Students will learn how to listen, understand and respect one another’s views, especially when there are differences of opinion and background.

  • Research and analysis: Students will have a deeper understanding of the different perspectives on climate change, including their own, their classmates, and the country at large, through researching the topic across biases and discussing.


References for Understanding:

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Particulars of Class Activities for 1 Day Program:

★ This can be done as a single class or over several class periods. Extending the lesson will allow for more in depth understanding.★

  • Homework prior to class:

  • In Class

    • Optional based on class size: Teacher divides students into small groups, preferably a mix of biases. (Have students complete a simple bias quiz for homework 2 days prior so the Teacher has a chance to evaluate if similar has never been conducted previously.)

    • Climate Change:

      • If the term for what people call “climate change” was a more perfect representation of what is really going on, what would that better term be, from your perspective? What surprises you the most about fellow students' answers?

      • Climate change has happened before. Is what is happening now more important of just more of the same natural cycle?

      • Do you believe humans are to blame for the increase in greenhouse gases, said to cause climate change? Why or why not?

      • Imagine a future in which your expectations about climate change, whatever they are, have been proven correct. Looking back into the present, what one thing do you wish you had done differently? Now imagine the opposite future: one where your expectations have been completely overturned. What do you regret this time?

    • Environmentalism:

      • Are you an environmentalist? Why or why not? What does that mean you do or don’t do?

      • What does the word “environmentalist” mean to you? Can you name three things that the word represents to you?

      • Is the negative push-back to this word deserved, at all, in your opinion?

      • To those who have a negative view of this word: what, in your opinion, are they (self-proclaimed environmentalists) not understanding (that you do)? Alternatively, what are they understanding (that others do not)?

    • Global Warming:

      • Would you call yourself a global warming denier, alarmist, skeptic, or believer? Or would some other term best describe your views?

      • How did you arrive at the views you now hold about global warming? On what evidence or sources do you base your opinion?

      • When people disagree with you about global warming, what do you say? How do you support your case? How do they?

    • Alternative energy:

      • What is clean coal? Is it real?

      • Should we be decreasing our coal consumption and focusing on solar and wind more? Why or why not?

    • Deeper Meaning questions:

      • How is the energy/power you use generated? What are your thoughts about this type of power?

      • Have you made any changes to the energy you use? Why?

      • What is energy security? How would we know we have it?

      • What are your concerns around the environment, as it relates to our energy types?

    • Final Questions to pose to students, either as homework or just as a wrap up: What is one important thing you thought was accomplished here? Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?


    Read about Learning Goals and Common Core Standards that our Schools Program addresses.