How a K-8 School Assembly Program Can Teach Children about Climate Change

MYP climate change blog image

According to Scientific American, “deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads.”  Specifically:

“The reason that logging is so bad for the climate is that when trees are felled they release the carbon they are storing into the atmosphere, where it mingles with greenhouse gases from other sources and contributes to global warming accordingly. The upshot is that we should be doing as much to prevent deforestation as we are to increase fuel efficiency and reduce automobile usage.”

Are children learning about the causes of climate change in the classroom?

This would come as a surprise to many of America’s science teachers, 30% of whom are still telling their students that climate change is the result of “natural causes.”  An equal number are teaching that the case for climate change being man-made is “unsettled science.”  Among those who do spend time discussing the scientific case for climate change, on average they devote an hour or less to the subject.  That’s not surprising, considering the vast amount of curricular material K-8 teachers are required to cover in a given calendar year.  The bottom line, however, is that America’s children do not acquire even rudimentary knowledge about climate change and its causes in the classroom.

Are parents picking up the slack?

A recent Monmouth University poll found that most Americans’ understanding of climate change and its causes is woefully deficient.  Fewer than 30% of survey respondents agreed that climate change is due principally to human activity.  Most parents simply don’t have the time to read scientific journals, receiving what little information they have on media reports and politicians whose views on the subject tend to be partisan rather than objective.  In addition, parents assume that students get the information they need in the classroom.

What can K-8 schools do?

Fortunately, there’s a solution.  For more than a quarter century, Mind Your Planet has provided K-8 schools throughout the mid-Atlantic region with solidly educational assembly programs which address important cultural and scientific issues like multiculturalism, diversity, and endangered species.  Our presenters have both the knowledge and skill to provide this important information in an entertaining format, utilizing multi-media tools and audience participation.  The result:  students leave both better informed and inspired to learn even more. Among our more popular presentations is one which teaches children about climate change, among other important issues:  Project Rainforest.

Inspiring the imagination

When it comes to teaching children, the rule of thumb is that you have to grab their attention and capture their imagination.  In all of our presentations, we utilize tools like video, storytelling and audience participation to do just that.  Project Rainforest, for example, includes a seven-minute video that demonstrates the interconnection between these forests and their indigenous animals, and lets children see first-hand the impact of deforestation.

Students who participate in this assembly leave with an increased understanding of and appreciation for not only the relationship between deforestation and climate change, but also the diversity of life in this delicate ecosystem, the many products which come from the rainforest for human use, and its stunning beauty.

Opportunities for continued learning in the classroom

Project Rainforest inspires children to learn more after they leave the presentation, providing teachers the opportunity to develop innovative lesson plans which extend and deepen their understanding.  For example, teachers can ask students to write essays on their experience, engage in special projects, and create oral presentations in which they share the results of individual research.

To learn more about Mind Your Planet, or to schedule a presentation for your school, please contact us today. 

Written by : Bruce Segal