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5 Ways to Encourage Awareness of Global Science Issues in Your Classroom

It's easy and it doesn't take
 much time!

It's time for the Secondary Smorgasbord Blog Hop event for November.  I was super excited when I discovered that the theme for this month is "Creating a Global Classroom."  I have been involved with a few things just this month that are perfect for encouraging a sense of global awareness in the science students we teach.

Is it really so important that we encourage and teach global awareness in our science class?  I think the answer to that is an emphatic YES!  Making students aware of world issues and teaching them to get involved is important, but it doesn't fall naturally into our curriculum, and we have to really make special efforts in our planning to work it into our teaching.  I am just like every other high school science teacher ..... I fell pressure to teach, teach, teach concepts and details because it might be on the end of course test or on the AP exam.  I always feel like I can't spare a minute of teaching time on something that might not be on a standardized test!  (We will save the discussion of standardized testing for another day!)  The bottom line is that we will have to make adjustments and do some creative planning to incorporate other concepts and ideas that fall outside of our curriculum.

So without further ado, here are 5 things you can do in your classroom to increase global awareness.

1.  Start at home.  Students need to get involved with service projects within their own communities.  Nothing brings a deeper awareness and empathy for others than being involved with it on a personal basis.  Here is one activity (free download) that I do during the holiday season.  My "Dichotomous Key to Holiday Giving" is a fun science activity that involves a dichotomous classification key.  The students get a refresher in the concepts of classification, and our local food bank gets stockings filled with treats that they can dispense with their other food items.  Check this blog post for more details.

2.  Start your preparations for Earth Day now!
What??  It's only November and Earth Day is in April!  I know, I know!  But you can't incorporate effective Earth Day activities if you don't start now. The perfect time to begin your teaching and lessons on Earth Day is when you return to the classroom in early January.  Use this free Earth Day PowerPoint to tell your students about Earth Day and why it is important.  Then brainstorm ideas with your class about what you can do.  You might plan to plant some trees, clean up an area of neglected highway, or help your community with some new landscaping at the local park.

3.  Take a virtual field trip with The Nature Conservancy.  Several times a year, you and your science class can go on a live, virtual field trip to an amazing ecological location.  The next one is coming up soon, and you can get the details from a blog post I have just written.  Each field trip includes outstanding video footage and free downloadable lesson plans.  If you can't participate in the live event, all of the field trips have been archived so that you can use them at your convenience.  Check out this link to NatureWorks Everywhere for all the possibilities.
4.  Use a curriculum that teaches about a global science issue.  "Keep Wild Animals Wild" is a program that I have recently thoroughly investigated.  The curriculum is free and is for grades K-8.  The materials are specialized for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8.  Use this link for a detailed description.  Students will learn of the problems facing Earth's fragile ecosystems, habitat destruction, climate change, and the illegal wildlife trade.  These are certainly global issues that students need to be made aware of.

5.  Make use of the many, many online resources that are available that teach about global science issues. Try to devote the first few minutes of your class for a current event article, or show a short video to raise awareness.  Here are links to some of my favorite sites:

Smithsonian Science Education,   PBS Science and Nature,   National Geographic,   Science Illustrated,   Discover Magazine,   BBC Earth, and Scientific American.    

1 comment:

  1. Yay!!! These are all wonderful ways to keep our planet foremost in our global classroom planning! Thank you, Amy, for all the great science links!!