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NCSE Roundup: This Week in Evolution & Climate Change

NCSE Roundup: This Week in Evolution & Climate Change

This week on the National Center for Science Education's blog, experts across the science community discuss several hot topics. One educator discusses a game that will help science teachers consider the myriad factors involved in teaching climate change. Another discusses the importance of dialogue in teaching science, and finally one discusses the implications of the Pope addressing climate change.

Teaching Climate Change Surpasses Science

NCSE's guest blogger, Kate Heffernan, insists that teaching anthropogenic climate change surpasses more than just teaching within the realm of science.

"To truly understand and address the encompassing effects of climate change, scientific knowledge isn’t enough: the social, economic, and political elements must also be understood. Unfortunately, learning about climate change is often exclusive to the science classroom," she said.

Heffernan recommends a game created by the BBC that she finds extremely realistic in depicting the nature of implementing policies on climate change.

Called "Climate Challenge," Heffernan says it's "a realistic platform for students to understand the relationship among human needs, economics, politics, and climate change. There are intimate connections among these four elements, connections that are not commonly taught, let alone demonstrated in an interactive manner."

Read more here.

How the Pope Will Affect Climate Change Perception

As the Pope gave first encyclical, a major document laying out an interpretation of Catholic doctrine, yesterday, Josh Rosenau decided to take a look on how the encyclical will effect different people's views on the environment and climate change as a precursory to discussion.

"As the first Latin American pope, we can expect this encyclical to have an especially large effect on Latino and Latina Catholics, and to shore up environmental support among the Pope’s fellow Modern Catholics. It’s harder to predict how it’ll affect the Non-practicing Catholics," he said.

Rosenau hopes that the Pope's encyclical will help narrow the gap in perceptions on climate change.

"Latino Catholics are 50% more likely to accept the reality of climate change than white Catholics. If more priests start taking their cue from the Latino Modern Catholic-in-chief, it could have a dramatic effect on the long-delayed effort to confront climate change."

Read more here

'Dialog is Essential to Science'

According to Emily Schoering, language has a very important place in teaching science curriculum, and she seeks to determine what works and what does not.

"While working at the University of Iowa, I found many unexpected factors that correlated strongly with student success. For example, one of the most significant language behaviors teachers engaged in was to repeat and rephrase what students said," she said.

Doing this, she said, encouraged students to talk more and really opened up the conversation between students and teachers on science subjects.

"The next time you’re interested in talking science with someone, think of how you can grow dialog. Make an active effort to validate what they’re saying. Build a human connection that encourages them to speak. Some people get the mistaken idea that science is a field of absolute truths or aggressive debate," she said."

It's important to let students know dialogue-rich environments are the best way to discuss science subjects.

Read more here.

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/19/2015

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