Climate science into classrooms

Empowering students as agents of change.

The challenge

The UN emphasises education is key to addressing climate change and evidence suggests student engagement with practising scientists increases the effectiveness of such education in schools. However, multiple challenges exist when transferring the work of climate scientists to schools, including the need to address school curriculum objectives across subjects (not just Science and Geography, also Maths, History, English, Arts etc) and to demonstrate appropriateness across Key Stages (Early Years to A-level).

What we're doing

This project brings together climate scientists and expert educators to pilot transdisciplinary generation of Climate Change Education (CCE) resources for schools. We will co-produce 3 sets of curriculum-aligned, age-appropriate resources, each featuring the work of a UoB climate scientist:

  • A video interview/presentation from the scientist– explaining research outcomes in non-specialist terms, focused/informed by curriculum specialists.
  • Ideas for incorporating within specific subjects
  • Supporting classroom resource(s)(e.g. data)
  • An online event featuring the scientist, e.g. responding to student questions

The project will maximise and measure effectiveness of materials across school subjects and age groups. Outcomes will be published online alongside instruments for their evaluation, inviting teachers to collaborate in assessing impact on student understanding, attitudes and behaviour.

The project builds on discussions hosted by GW4’s CCE Research Network (CCERN) identifying the potential value of more direct and educationally informed pathways for climate scientists to achieve measurable impact in schools. The project is unique in initiating a sustainable “university -> school” transfer process, informed by educational expertise, while simultaneously providing data collection for evidencing impact and generating publishable educational research.

How it helps

The project will promote the research of University of Bristol scientists to young students through a style of education that is action-oriented, helping to empower them as agents for change, capable of identifying and implementing their own ways to protect the environment and live better with a changing planet.

Investigators

  • Nicola Warren-Lee, School of Education
  • Paul Howard-Jones, School of Education
  • Bryony Sands, School of Biological Sciences
  • Rachel James, School of Geographical Sciences
  • Jonathan Bamber, School of Geographical Sciences
  • Alf Coles, School of Geographical Sciences
  • Celia Tidmarsh, School of Education
  • Jon James, School of Education

Lead researcher profile

Dr Nicola Warren-Lee, School of Education

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