The Indiana Department of Education released an online resource in partnership with Purdue University to help teachers teach climate change in schools. Several teachers we interviewed last year said they struggle to find credible materials on climate change for their lesson plans.
One of them was Lori Baker, who teaches seventh and eighth grade science at Danville Community Middle School. She said she was pleased to see the department addressed the issue.
“To see a problem, address a problem and solve it in a really useful, productive way. It shows, you know, a lot of care for what we do and that means a lot to teachers," she said.
The framework has material on climate change for kids from kindergarten through high school. Baker said getting students familiar with the topic earlier will help them deepen their understanding of climate issues and better prepare them for their future careers — especially in things like STEM fields and military service.
Keith Morey teaches eighth grade science at Centerville-Abington Junior High School. He said the framework gives teachers a lot more guidance than they’ve had before. Morey said resources in the framework also make it more clear that climate change is happening and that it’s caused by people.
“When you're teaching science, I don't — we go with the science. And I feel like this sort of acknowledges that a little bit better than we have in the past," he said.
Right now, climate change is only specifically mentioned in the state science standards for eighth grade. The state is expected to review its science standards this summer.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.