Dr. Mark Windschitl, Professor of Science Education at the University of Washington, joins host Mike Palmer to discuss his new book Teaching Climate Change: Fostering Understanding, Resilience, and a Commitment to Justice. Drawing from his experience as a teacher and researcher, Dr. Windschitl advocates for more support to equip K-12 teachers to teach this interdisciplinary topic. You can learn more at Mark’s companion site The Climate Change Educator.
We discuss the limited, disjointed climate change instruction happening currently in K-12 schools. Mark promotes more coordinated, authentic projects that foster student agency and break down disciplinary silos. He shares an example modeling an urban heat islands unit integrating science, history, and justice. We also address engaging students to get their perspectives. Many students feel anxious about climate change, so he suggests focusing on solutions and productive coping rather than just activating the anxiety. He advocates intergenerational family learning providing space for conversations on this complex subject. Regarding technology’s role, Dr. Windschitl says solutions will be more social than technological. He stresses everyday actions individuals and communities can take. Throughout, he shares inspiration from students engaged in climate change learning and problem-solving. Don’t miss it!