In 2007, the IPCC published its fourth assessment of Earth’s Climate. Stating clearly that “warming is unequivocal” and documenting observed warming, the IPCC laid the foundation for actions to address the impacts of climate change but left a chasm between evidence presented in the report and the public’s ability to make meaningful responses or even comprehend climate mechanisms. To bridge this gap, educators at the UW-Madison developed an on-line resource for educators clarifying graphs and tables presented in the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers. A course on Global and Regional Climate Change
debuted in 2008. (http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/climatechange/
) Teachers worked through the content and provided feedback via embedded questionnaires and phone interviews. Revisions followed and in 2010, with support from NASA, the UW began offering Global and Regional Climate Change
as a professional development opportunity for middle and high school science teachers as part of a Climate Literacy Ambassadors
project, the idea being that teachers would take the course and promote climate awareness in their schools and communities. College credit is available from the UW-Madison but there is also an option to take the entire course asynchronously and print out a certificate upon completion. However, users are always free to skip this log-in option and go directly to course content at any time. In 2012, course content was translated into Spanish and made freely available on-line via a prominent link on the web page.
Educators who take the course for credit have designed and submitted grade-specific lesson plans that support teaching and learning around climate change. This poster will highlight a few of the more robust lesson plans, including a district-wide community action plan. We will also share results from a 2011 internal survey of the Climate Literacy Ambassadors Community where 98% of respondents (n=46) reported increased confidence around teaching about climate change after taking the course and 91% reported an increase in the frequency of teaching and discussing climate change with their students. Finally, we will lay out plans for keeping the community connected through collaborations with the Earth Science Information Partner (ESIP) educational community.