Have the Talk: Climate Conversations
Our Climate Our Future, ACE
This learning activity takes one 45 min class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- This exercise would be best as a capstone activity. Both students and teachers need to be thoughtful in how they approach this experience.
- The homework asks the child to have the conversation with a parent or family member. This could pit the child against the adult which could be an awkward situation for the child to be in, depending on the beliefs of the adult. To avoid this possible scenario, maybe have the student converse with a peer or someone in a lower grade. This would be a great way to conduct a “peer mentoring or collaboration” event.
- Educators should keep in mind that having these conversations is difficult, even for professional scientists with communication training. Preparation will help to mitigate these challenges.
- Educators may want to help students anticipate technical aspects of climate change that may come up in the conversation beforehand - see URLs below for help with this.
- Educators may use this resource for distance-learning. The conversations would work well in a "break-out room" feature for virtual learning where students could be paired to participate in the activity.
About the Science
- This activity does not introduce new science concepts, rather, it invites students to talk about the science of climate change with other people. There is a planning worksheet that students can use to organize the points that are most important to them. Before students engage in conversation with others, it would be helpful to help them check that they have their facts correct.
- One concern with this activity is that students could unwittingly get into highly technical or detailed aspects of climate change, if that's where their conversation partner leads them. Educators can help students anticipate possible directions for the conversation beforehand - see URLs below for more resources to help with this.
- Comments from expert scientist:
- Explains the psychology behind having an authentic and effective climate conversation
- There really isn't any science other than the psychology of having a conversation in this resource. I suggest that this resource accompany another climate change resource to assist with the main points of the conversation.
About the Pedagogy
- This learning activity teaches students a method for having conversations, and is grounded in social science. The method is broken down into parts (Open, Ask, Reflect, Reflect, Tell, Close) and is designed to minimize conflict and confrontation. Students learn about the psychology of having authentic and effective conversations about climate change with their family and friends. A large emphasis is placed on listening.
- The activity is highly scaffolded, with role-play, a video, and a worksheet to think through the different parts of the conversation beforehand.
- This resource educates and empowers young people and other underserved groups, to build skills in communicating about climate change. This is a helpful resource that encourages students to gain perspective and experience in having meaningful conversations about climate change.
- Students need careful guidance in how to select an appropriate person to have this conversation with. They may want to start with a peer, not necessarily an adult.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
- The lesson is well-supported with a video, PowerPoint slides, worksheets, and even a text message hotline for support. All resources are provided in the lesson plan.