- Review Process
- Take Action
- A project of
This guide will provide educators with a blend of quality content (resources, websites, books, videos and ideas) and exemplary pedagogy to guide students through an inquiry-driven approach to climate change learning. It draws upon seven key strategies that transform learning as described in LSF’s Connecting the Dots:
In order to provide a comprehensive guide to climate change education, eight different inquiries are structured to follow the inquiry process:
Inquiry 1. What is climate change and why care?
Inquiry 2. Climate change: where are we now?
Inquiry 3. Monitoring change using the Climate Atlas of Canada
Inquiry 4. Environmental impacts & restoration
Inquiry 5. Human health: Addressing climate change makes us healthier
Inquiry 6. A low carbon future: Economic transitions, risks and impacts
Inquiry 7. Climate action and decolonization: Indigenous perspectives
Inquiry 8. Ethical dimensions for children, youth, and livable futures
Inquiry 9: Youth Agency
Each inquiry consists of 6 segments
The number of activities found in the Guide and the complexity of climate change offer numerous opportunities for critical and system thinking, developing media literacy skills, analyzing and presenting data, identifying competing perspectives, and persuasive argument skills.
The strengths of the Guide are found in both its content and methodology. Climate change is an existential issue and many educational resources have been developed to help students understand the issue but this Guide is more ambitious than others in terms of its reach and depth. It provides teachers with critical background information on the topics covered and the student content is offered in a variety of formats that are both interesting and effective.
The inquiry methodology adopted by the Guide take students in each of the inquiries through a process that starts by hooking students with provocative questions and ends with student action both inside and outside the school. To get there, students engage in some 43 activities that make them active participants in the learning process.
Appendix C of the Guide includes a Subject Alignment Chart that identifies possible links between each of the Inquiries and the curriculum, including Science, Social Studies, Economics, Mathematics, language Arts, Technology and Human Health and Physical Education.
Teachers may choose to select those Inquiries that are most relevant to their curriculum responsibilities or accept the integrated approach embraced by the Guide and work with other subject teachers to deliver the package as a unified whole that respects the integrity of the subject.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
The information and resources presented in this guide are introduced with the teaching methodology of inquiry in mind. Inquiry learning can be described as an approach to learning that is directed by questions, problems, a hypothesis or a challenge that individuals and groups of learners work together to address. At it’s best the learning is driven by student generated questions. Students, assisted by the teacher, clarify the questions being asked and determine how to answer them. As knowledge is pursued, unplanned but important learning territory is often uncovered. (Kozak & Elliott)
The learning that takes place throughout an inquiry, stems from students’ questions. The Guide respects this approach by beginning each of the Inquiry units with a segment on Question Generation and follows with a learning environment where students can develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The Guide recognizes that an understanding of climate change and its impacts requires an understanding of multiple related systems (from the physical environment, to ecosystems, to human society) that transcend traditional subject boundaries. For example;
Inquiry 4 focuses on the environmental impacts of climate change. Inquiry 5 ask students to consider the implications of climate change for human health. Inquiry 6 explores the economic risk as we transition to a low carbon future.
While each of these issues is, of necessity, approached as a discrete topic, the Guide helps students appreciate the interdependent and interconnected nature and the need for a holistic approach.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The scope or reach of the resource is ambitious because the subject is complex. It aims to expand not only student knowledge and understanding of climate change but also to have them consider how climate change relates to their values, their sense of place, their feelings of responsibility, and their capacity to enact change. It asks students to consider essential questions - What is climate change and why should we care? Where are we now and how do we monitor what is happening? What is the Indigenous perspective on climate change? What are the ethical dimensions related to climate change and what can I do?
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Very Good|
The Guide believes that allowing time for students to take action is an essential part of the learning process on climate change, as it empowers students and eases their eco-anxiety. Accordingly, each of the Inquiries concludes with Take Action, wherein students find ideas for taking action and examples of action projects undertaken by their peers in other schools.
The Guide also includes hyperlinks to other sites such as Promise of Place and Our Canada Project, where students may find inspiration and support for taking action.
|Acting on Learning: |
Learning moves from understanding issues to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community, or for the planet
|Values Education||Very Good|
Climate change is a complex problem that raises opportunities for students to consider their values, their feelings of responsibility, and their capacity to enact change. Students are asked to consider why they should care about climate change, what responsibility they have to others in contributing to the solution, how social justice and climate change are linked, and the impact of their actions on others.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
Inquiry 7, Climate action and decolonization: Indigenous perspective, focuses on the impact climate change is having on Indigenous peoples, particularly those in Canada's North who bear little responsibility for climate change but whose economic and cultural practices have been severely challenged and whose options are limited by the colonization process.
Inquiry 8, Ethical Dimensions for children, youth and livable futures examines the ethical dimensions of climate change and argues that the people most vulnerable and least responsible for climate change may be the ones to suffer the most.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).|
|Personal Affinity with Earth||Very Good|
Climate change has an impact on biodiversity and ecosystems and the survival of endangered species. Inquiry 4 of the Guide, Environmental Impacts & Restoration has students explore questions concerning the biggest environmental impact in their area, the species at risk in their area and the cause of those risks. To help them answer these and other related questions about the natural environment, students are advised to contact local experts such as naturalist groups and conservation authorities or agencies.
In the Taking Action segment of this Inquiry, ideas for student action include tree planting, habitat restoration and collecting data as citizen scientist. Examples of actions undertaken by other students include creation of an endangered ecosystem, a species ecological park, testing the health of a local watershed, and the creation of a greenhouse.
This increased understanding of and interaction with the natural world may be expected to enhance student connection to that world.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
Each of the Inquiries asks students to examine or investigate their local community in terms of the issue being addressed. This may take the form of Neighborhood Walks, educating their community about the risks posed by climate change, conducting a school waste audit, inviting municipal leaders into the classroom, measuring their own carbon footprint, using the Climate Atlas of Canada to explore the current and possible future impact of climate change on their community, planting trees or restoring a local habitat.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
The Guide is concerned with having students understand the current situation with respect to climate change ( Inquiry 2. Where are We Now?; Inquiry 3. Monitoring Climate Change; Inquiry 4. Environmental Impacts & Restoration; Inquiry 5 Human Health) and the preferred future (Inquiry 6. A Low Carbon Future; Inquiry 7. Climate Action)
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
The inquiry learning model adopted by the resource means that questions, not answers drive the study and that students contribute to determining what questions are asked. The teacher's role is that of facilitator and the role of the resource is to provide students with information and activities that enable students to develop their perspective on the issue and to recognize the perspective of others.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
|Integrated Learning||Very Good|
Climate change is a complex topic and the reach of the Guide is ambitious. Teachers and students must therefore draw on a variety of disciplines to gain an understanding of the issue. The degree to which the resource meets this requirement is captured in the Subject Alignment Chart found in the Appendix. The chart indicates what disciplines have been engaged in exploring each of the inquiries and includes subjects such as Science, Social Studies, Business/Economics, Mathematics, Language Arts, Technology, and Health.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Very Good|
The Guide was developed in accordance with the principles of inquiry learning, which the authors define "as an approach to learning that is directed by questions, problems, a hypothesis or a challenge that individuals and groups of learners work together to address. At it’s best, the learning is driven by student generated questions. Students, assisted by the teacher, clarify the questions being asked and determine how to answer them. As knowledge is pursued, unplanned but important learning territory is often uncovered." (Kozak & Elliott)
Each of the inquiries begins in part with Question Generation, wherein learners check in with their understanding and determine direction and next steps based on their understanding. In order to continue to generate meaningful questions as knowledge and understanding advances, students list, refine, re-state, clarify, and prioritize their questions.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Very Good|
The variety of teaching strategies used in the Guide is impressive. Appendix B. Mapping the Active Learning Strategies used in the Guide identifies 43 different strategies, ranging from affinity mapping, carousel brainstorming, choice board, consequence mapping, to gallery walks and indicates where in the resource each is employed. Appendix A. Active Learning Strategy Bank provides a description of each of the 43 activities and a hyperlink to each.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
The Guide includes numerous opportunities for students to take their learning outside the classroom. This includes neighbourhood walks to study the impact of climate change at the local level, meetings with local leaders who are addressing climate change, partnerships with local organizations, mapping and graphing data at the community level and sharing of that data, meeting with traditional knowledge keepers, and investigating newspapers and other media for their reporting on climate change.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Each of the Inquiries includes a segment entitled Group Knowledge Building. The goal is to further individual knowledge as a result of group discussions, common goals, and synthesis of ideas. According to Scardamalia and Bereiter, “Collaboration, determined by the ability of a group to function as a community of learners, is recognized as important in constructivist learning through knowledge building.” Learners work together through interactive questioning and continuously improving upon one another’s ideas. Examples of this process are found in a variety of activities such as De Bono's Six Thinking Hats, Carousel Brainstorming, and Knowledge Building Circles.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Very Good|
Each of the Inquiries includes suggested assessment strategies. These include 3-2-1 strategy, choice board strategy, one minute paper, infographic & gallery walks, and I care why?.
The Consolidation segment, which is also found in each Inquiry would also provide teachers with opportunities to assess student understanding, as would the Determining Understanding segment.
|Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.|
|Peer Teaching||Very Good|
In addition to the cooperative learning strategies such as Carousel Brainstorming and Knowledge Building Circles, the resource includes many suggestions that outline options for students to work with the community in gathering and disseminating information about the impact of climate change on the community and possible community responses.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
The Guide includes a number of resources or activities that may be judged as case studies. Examples of actions undertaken by different student groups help students consider what they might attempt. A number of videos explore specific climate change concerns such as the impact of climate change on the oceans. Student work with the Climate Atlas of Canada is directed at having them understand the past, present and future consequences of climate change in their community. Case studies are also included that discuss how selected Canadian companies are responding to the challenges of climate change.
|Case Studies: |
Relevant case studies are included. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore concepts in an authentic context.
|Locus of Control||Very Good|
The sub title of the Guide - A Climate Change inquiry Guide for Secondary Students - indicates that the authors are committed to the principles of inquiry learning. Central to this approach is that learning is directed by questions, problems, a hypothesis or a challenge that individuals and groups of learners work together to address. At it’s best the learning is driven by student generated questions. Students, assisted by the teacher, clarify the questions being asked and determine how to answer them. As knowledge is pursued, unplanned but important learning territory is often uncovered.
The Question Generation segment of each inquiry helps teachers determine where students are in their initial understanding of a topic or an issue, then continues to evaluate their understanding throughout the learning process. The Determining Understanding segment enables students to pause and reflect on their learning, taking ownership of the process and practicing metacognitive strategies.
|Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.|