Science Classroom Explores Realities Of Climate Change

Jefferson Middle School AT Science students show off their climate change projects created in Jessica Muscaro’s class.

Climate change is a hot topic right now. Jefferson Middle School seventh graders are learning what climate change is, interpreting facts from trusted sources about the impacts of climate change, and encouraging and empowering their peers to make one change that would lessen their carbon footprint. Students in Jessica Muscaro’s AT science class created climate change products to present to their classmates. The students were creative — everything from hand-drawn posters to keynote presentations.

“I think when you do the research yourself, it gives you the opportunity to find out information and be more engaged instead of just hearing it from your teacher,” said Jefferson Middle School seventh grader Nilla Ecklof.

The climate change unit is part of a larger unit on Earth Science. The class discusses all aspects of Earth and life science as a part of the seventh grade AT curriculum in order to prepare students for the living environment course next year.

“I think it’s important for students to make up their own ideas and set their own goals because from my experience, this leads to greater motivation and deeper interest,” said Muscaro. “Because of this, I only go so far as to explain what the greenhouse effect is, what greenhouse gasses are and how it makes our planet habitable. Students then independently examine data showing greenhouse gas concentrations and global temperatures to interpret the trends seen in the last century. Especially for this topic, students should leave the unit feeling empowered to embark on change and their own research to better understand something that will undoubtedly impact their future.”

To meet the standard, students must be able to ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century. Student questions include: “Why should you care about climate change?” and “Why do you need to prevent climate change?” Students make the connection that human activities have provided excess greenhouse gasses that contribute to a “thicker blanket” around our Earth and they also investigated actions that they could take in order to lessen their carbon footprint and thus greenhouse gas emissions. The presentations had to include: symbols and graphics, facts and content from cited and trusted sources, a good visual appearance and aim to appeal to their target audience to help sway a viewer’s actions.

“I thought it was really interesting to find out that climate change is causing unique problems in different countries,” said Jefferson Middle School seventh grader Zoe Haskins. “Weather is becoming a big issue in many continents like Australia or Africa.”


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