The language of climate change science
A Pre-school to Year 8 teaching and learning progression
The following open resource has been curated by PETAA Board directors Bronwyn Parkin and Julie Hayes as a precursor to a forthcoming PETAA publication and related professional learning on Teaching the Language of Climate Change Science, under development for 2021.
The threat posed by human induced climate change is real. If we are to act as a global community to respond to that threat and build a brighter future for our students — and future generations — the work begins in schools, as we teach our young people about the planet with a systematic emphasis on developing stewardship, responsibility and care for its environment.
Although climate change is not explicitly mentioned in the science curriculum descriptors until Year 10, a deep understanding of how our actions and use of Earth’s resources affect the environment and living things can be developed through all the science strands beginning in the early years.
In this teaching and learning progression, which spans from pre-school to Year 8, teachers will harness the potential of the science curriculum, and the sustainability cross-curriculum priority, to help their students design the future of the Earth. It will support teachers and students in gradually making the links between science and climate change at an appropriate level of understanding for each year level.
Created by educators, academics, and scientific experts, these language-focused and logical progressions will build a better world. By following these progressions, students will be able to talk, read and write scientifically about climate change and its causes and effects — and learn that they can be part of the solution.
The progression will:
- Save teachers time by identifying the science that underpins the understanding of climate change and making the links between the two explicit for sharing with students
- Fulfil many Australian curriculum requirements in Science, linked with aspects of the Sustainability cross-curriculum Priority
- Explore ways that people can slow down human induced climate change so that the planet and all that is living on it survives and thrives
- Develop respect for, and trust in, scientifically gathered evidence and the scientific community to provide reliable information
- Set teachers on a path of long-term professional development as the second and third stages — including a reference text for teachers and professional learning courses — continue this journey towards a practice of consistent, evidence-based, climate-informed pedagogy
- Allow leaders to create a transformative learning environment that over the years, develops students’ understanding of the science of climate change, as well as fostering positive attitudes, appreciation and respect for the natural world
- Develop a community of informed, articulate, and active citizens, who recognise the Earth as their home, the interdependence of all living things, and who have the will and means to act in creating a sustainable future.