Video: There’s Hope in the Latest Climate Report

See the video below by SciShow titled There’s Hope in the Latest Climate Report.

Video: How We Fix the Climate

If you have spent any time with the release of the IPCC 6th Assessment Report on Climate Change there is a chance that you came away with a “doom and gloom” feeling about the future of our planet. In an effort to offset this, I plan to share some resources in the coming weeks that might help us feel inspired, empowered, hopeful, knowledgable and ready to tackle the climate-related problems in front of us.

Below is a video by Hank Green titled How We Fix the Climate. Enjoy.


Taking Stock of Science Standards Implementation Summit (Oct. 14-15)

The Board on Science Education for the National Academies is providing a 2-day event on October 14-15, 2021. The meeting is open to the public and you can attend in person or virtually. The focus will be on examining the current state of science standard implementation across the country and will also dig into possible next steps and ways to improve implementation efforts.

Click HERE for more information and to register for the event.

When you register you will be given choices for breakout sessions on each day.

October 14:

  • Early Elementary
  • Upper Elementary
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Informal Education

October 15:

  • Preschool to Elementary Transition
  • Curriculum and Instructional Materials
  • Formative Assessment
  • Instructional Practices

Fred Hutch: Socially Relevant Biology Lessons

Fred Hutch has an excellent assortment of socially relevant secondary life science lessons on their Science Education Partnership page. You will find units on:

  • DNA Exonerations
  • Race, Racism, and Genetics
  • COVID 19 Testing and Inequalities
  • Elephant Conservation

In my work, I find that some folks need examples of what social justice learning might look like in relationship to science. These units provide thoughtfully constructed learning experiences from experts in life sciences.

Click the screenshot below (or HERE) to learn more about these units of instruction.

IPCC 6th Assessment Report on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released their 6th assessment report on climate change. Click HERE to visit the homepage on the report. You will find a summary for policy makers, an interactive atlas, FAQs, regional reports, outreach materials and the full report. I think it’s past time that all of us as science educators and leaders build our understanding of climate change…even if it’s “not my content area”.

Veritasium: The Biggest Myth in Education

Back in the day (I’ve been writing this blog for well over a decade!) I used to post lots of Derek’s Veritasium videos. If you are new to Veritasium then you should watch the video below and also check out some of Derek’s older videos on science misconceptions.

The video below shows Derek tackling an idea in education that is clearly not well understood in the field. Enjoy!

Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future

The National Academies Press recently released a new FREE science education publication titled Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future. You can read the document HERE in your browser, download the PDF, or purchase a hardcopy.

I have not read the publication yet but the titles of the chapters are telling:

  • Why Better, More Equitable Science Education Should Be a National Priority
  • A Vision for Better, More Equitable Science Education
  • How Far Are We from This Vision for Students?
  • How Do We Get There?
  • Recommendations

This looks like a great summer read for anyone working in science (STEM) education.

Below is some text from the report:

To provide high-quality teaching and learning in science, our nation, states, and communities must reframe the way they think about students from kindergarten through college. Students do not learn best by passively soaking up bits of information and then regurgitating it through multiple-choice tests and other simple measures designed to assess factual knowledge. Rather, from the earliest ages, children and youth are actively working to make sense of the world. They are capable of asking questions, gathering data, evaluating evidence, and generating new insights, just as professional scientists do.

Currently, however, far too many students at all levels are learning science by reading about it in a textbook, sitting back and passively listening to lectures, and memorizing disconnected facts. These approaches leave many students bored and asking a question that is far too often uttered in American schools: “What does science have to do with my life?” Worse, too many students perceive science as inaccessible, as a discipline consigned to an elite few who are willing to persist in a system that uses antiquated instructional practices. Worse still, lacking role models, students of color may not consider science as a potential career. The end result is that our nation ends up retaining a few and weeding out many—a practice that results in substantial inequities and an American citizenry of science “haves” and science “have-nots” .

Call to Action for Science Education: Building Opportunity for the Future (2021, The National Academies Press)

Lessons from Plants

Lessons from Plants is one of the best books I’ve read in 2021. It’s a book that makes me feel like a better person just from spending time with it. This feeling comes from the author, Dr. Beronda L. Montgomery, who is a skilled storyteller with a knack for clearly conveying key lessons that we can learn from the plants around us. (PS- I know we aren’t supposed to judge books by covers…but consider this book judged! There is something about the size, weight, shape and design of the cover with its mix of glossy and matte ink that immediately pulls you in and compels you to engage.)

The book makes me think about the personal journey I’ve been on the last 15 years or so. My work on myself and digging into equity, diversity and antiracism has been paralleled by my learning and caring about plants. As a trained biologist I’ve “understood” plants on a certain level, but I’d admit that it’s been more of a clinical or sterile understanding. Putting plants in the center and positioning them as teachers is a very new way of thinking and it immediately felt right. My wife has immersed herself in plants over the last decade- we have multiple plants in our home and I have even welcomed some into my personal home office. The presence of these organisms changes a space- for the better. I really appreciate how Dr. Montgomery discusses the hope that plants can bring. (Especially in a time like we’ve been living in during the pandemic.)

I had recently tweeted that Lessons from Plants and Braiding Sweetgrass could be best of friends. While I was trying to be “cute” I was also trying to make a legitimate point. These two books make great companions and work together to help us all develop a deeper appreciation and hopefully deeper relationship with plants while also putting us in touch with our humanity.

Below is a recording of a recent livestream of Dr. Montgomery talking about the book and her relationship and work with plants.

You may also be interested in a recent podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness: Are Plants Little Geniuses? (Warning: Jonathan isn’t afraid to use lots of adult language so you may not want to listen to this with children or sensitive people around.)

Here are some recent publications by Dr. Montgomery:

Plants Were My Beacon of Hope During the Pandemic (Elle Magazine)

My Most Memorable Mentor? Plants (Nature)

Plants as Teachers and Witnesses (American Scientist)

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Problems with Problems: Improving the Design of Problem-Driven Science & Engineering Instruction

This short but powerful document from NextGenScience provides support on how to improve the STEM challenges and engineering opportunities that we put in front of students. This tool definitely helps me think about how to improve the engineering tasks I use with my preservice and inservice teachers as examples.

The contrast of “Design for Design’s Sake” vs “Design for Solving Problems” feels very helpful and powerful.

See the document HERE.

UW Climate & Environmental Justice FREE Course & Resources

Philip Bell and Nancy Price have shared a graduate course they taught at the University of Washington on Climate Justice and Environmental Justice in Education during winter quarter 2021. The entire course has a nicely organized Google Site built to tell the story of the learning. You will be able to walk through the 10 sessions using the embedded slides, readings and videos. There is a nicely organized set of Resources used as well as a Wakelet that organizes many other Climate Justice resources.

In order to get a good sense of the course before digging in, I recommend checking out the following:

  • About the Course: This gives you a 1-page overview with guiding questions and key resources
  • Course Readings: Scroll over the page to get a preview of the sessions. Pay attention to the quotes and session titles
  • Projects: Preview the projects that small groups of graduate students engaged in

I can imagine this resource being used in multiple ways:

  • Work through the sessions independently as a learner
  • Assemble a small group of colleagues and collaboratively move through the course together
  • Harvest important resources for your own learning and work
  • Use this as a model for teaching your own course or unit on Climate and Environmental Justice