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Free Resources: Online Professional Development Modules From PBS TeacherLine on Teaching About Climate Change

Posted Mar 24, 2011
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PBS TeacherLine has announced it is offering 10 free self-paced lessons for teachers to explore best practices for teaching about climate change to middle and high school students. The on-demand, video-based modules are designed to deepen teacher knowledge of global climate and earth system change, while providing a resource that can also be used with students.

Four modules are available now in the PBS STEM Resource Center, and six more will be developed by June 2011. Each module addresses a particular aspect of climate change beginning with "Introduction to Earth's Dynamically Changing Climate," which compares sea level measurements, land ice, Arctic sea ice, and carbon dioxide in past decades to provide perspective on what's happening today. The next lesson, "Earth's Warming Climate: Are We Responsible?" examines the correlation between human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, and climate change. The third module, "Going Local with Global Warming," looks at recent temperature data from local areas to understand the significance of recent temperature records as evidence of a warming climate. The fourth module, "The Climate Change Skeptic's Argument: Natural Solar Cycles or Human Activity?" investigates the degree to which patterns of contemporary climate change can be explained as natural factors, such as changes in incoming solar radiation to the Earth. The online modules take approximately three to five hours to complete at the individual's preferred pace.

Each standard-based module features a data activity and summary, objectives and tips for note-taking, and background information on the main topic. These professional development resources enable teachers to examine resources and content through the five "E's" - engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. Educators learn STEM instructional techniques that they can transfer to the classroom to investigate climate change with their students.

In 2009, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded PBS TeacherLine approximately $600,000 in funding from the NASA Global Climate Change Education grant to improve the quality of the nation's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. With the grant funding, PBS TeacherLine developed the online, graduate-level professional development course, STEM412: Global Climate Change Education for Middle School, along with the on-demand modules.

The free modules and a primer on climate change terminology and concepts, "20 Questions & Answers About Climate Change," are available at:

Source: PBS TeacherLine,

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