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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Changing Climate of Science Education: Bringing Ocean Acidification to Middle School Teachers

  • Author(s): Gottlieb, Emily
  • et al.

Our changing climate demands changes in public education. Middle school science classrooms are on the precipice of a great transition as recently published national science education standards are calling for the integration of climate change into their curricula. These changes present great opportunities for innovations in the structure of middle school science lessons and equally great challenges for middle school teachers who will be faced with the task of disseminating the complex and nuanced topic of climate change in a way that will engage their students. I designed a professional development workshop for middle school teachers on the topic of ocean acidification. Ocean acidification, a clear and measurable change happening in the ocean, can be directly linked to human activities like burning fossil fuels. Teaching about changes, such as ocean acidification, that are happening to the ocean, may be an effective way to engage a young audience in the topic of climate change. The workshop was developed mindful of the current and emerging advances in science education and education research. The workshop was designed firstly to provide educators with the tools and resources to teach about ocean acidification and secondly to begin to answer questions about how to effectively educate teachers about teaching climate change. Furthermore, this project may serve as a model for potential future integration of climate science research and public education.

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