Climate Change: Outreaching to School Students and Teachers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


This chapter will describe some simple models that have been used to explain the basic principles of the Earth’s climate to primary school students (aged 4–11), secondary school students (aged 11–16), post-16 students (aged 16–19), and the general public (all ages) including those with disabilities. It will then describe a range of hands-on practical activities that demonstrate aspects of the climate system at the appropriate level. Assessment and impact of these activities on the learner’s level of cognition are then presented showing that the hands-on approach is a most effective way of communicating such concepts irrespective of the age of the learner. Furthermore, the varied impacts of a “lecture demonstration,” i.e., a talk where points are illustrated by exemplar experiments that visually portray the science concept, are presented. Climate change and atmospheric chemistry article writing and scaffolding data analysis research for school audiences is also discussed. The many misconceptions that surround the understanding of the Earth’s climate system are discussed and how teachers and other science communicators can deal with such issues in a classroom setting. The sourcing and use of the myriad datasets linked with the Earth’s climate that are freely available for schools’ projects are discussed with illustrations drawn from projects already undertaken. Often the impact of such engagement activities on the provider themselves is ignored; here the tangible benefits to all providers involved are discussed with some case studies as illustrations. Finally, the future prospect for the Earth’s climate is nearly always portrayed as negative. In this chapter, the idea of stabilization wedges is discussed and ways that the worst-case scenarios for climate change can be averted. Using a variety of metrics, it is possible for a wide range of learners to appreciate the impact of any mitigation strategy, i.e., literally “speaking in a language they can understand.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
EditorsM. Lackner, B. Sajjadi, W.Y. Chen
PublisherSpringer, New York, NY
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4614-6431-0
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2021


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