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Published abril 21, 2020

Talking to Children about Climate Change

Talking to Children about Climate Change

The musical alert jolts me awake before I ease back into a grateful calm reading the words on my phone. All schools into the district are on a two-hour delay. I will have extra time on this icy morning to correct that stack of essays on climate change before heading off to teach my 5th grade class. It will take that long for the snowplows to finish clearing the roads.

Climate change – global warming – a curious topic to be thinking about on such a frigid morning? Not at all. The scientific evidence is in. No real matter what local weather we’re experiencing on a day-to-day basis, our planet is warming up, with far-reaching implications for us all. The conversation in scientific circles now is how Earth will respond, how well the living things on Earth will be able to adapt, who will function as winners and the losers, and what we can do to slow down our warming climate.

«Why Have We Started Having Fiercer Hurricanes in New York?»essay published by Ben, Dylan, Elisa, Greg.

Handwritten essay.

The reason we are having fiercer hurricanes in New York is mainly because global warming is heating up our oceans. When our parents and grandparents were growing up here in New York, they didn’t have such hurricanes. That’s https://shmoop.pro because way back then there wasn’t as much carbon dioxide gas in the air. Scientific studies from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) have shown that carbon dioxide and temperature go together. When there is more carbon dioxide in the air, the average air temperature round the earth rises. This warm air warms our oceans. This causes more water to evaporate, which forms lots of warm, moist air. Here is the form of air that hurricanes need certainly to start up, in addition they need a steady availability of it to keep them going. Our warmer ocean this current year and last kept the hurricanes alive all the way up the coast to New York! We must slow down climate change. It’s fueling hurricanes like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene.

Some think of climate change as a topic for grown-ups. However, even young children are able to understand the basic idea. More importantly, they’re able to begin taking action to slow down global warming. It’s in their best interest to do so. Their future depends on the actions we all take now. If we teachers, and their parents, don’t tell them the truth, and don’t point the way toward a positive future, who will?

«Is Climate Change too Scary for Kids?»essay published by Christian, Isaiah, Shay, Lauren.

Handwritten essay.

Climate change is not too scary for kids, but it is a problem. Climate change is happening now. We’ve started to see some changes on our planet. We understand if we don’t slow down global warming, bigger changes could come. That would be scary. We don’t want areas near the ocean to flood because we causes and effects topics have friends and family living there. We don’t want innocent animals to lose their habitats. However, we’ve learned we can help slow down global warming, and the changes it’s causing, by putting less carbon dioxide in the air. That’s why climate change isn’t scary for kids. When kids understand cause and effect they know what to do. It just is practical!

When talking with children about climate change, match the depth of conversation towards the child’s age. Ensure that is stays honest. Children want to know the truth. They want to understand this world they truly are staying in without being overwhelmed by too much information. Explain the difference between day-to-day weather and «climate,» the average weather over a long period of time (a decade or maybe more). Read a children’s book about climate change together. Assign pairs of students to learn and discuss newspaper articles on climate. Watch a YouTube video together about the difference between weather and climate, and how to use a graph to predict future climate. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for the background basics of climate change. For more advanced information, start to see the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s website, Climate.gov. You may have to translate sophisticated language, but your students will benefit by seeing the graphics, and you’ll be given accurate information. In addition, older children will benefit by hearing such terms as mean, trend, and evidence, in real world contexts.

«How Can Adults Explain Climate Change to Kids?»essay published by Emilia, Chris, Gianluca, Sofia

Handwritten essay.

Climate change isn’t hard to understand. We get it! Our globe is warming due to the fact carbon dioxide gas into the air is trapping the sun’s heat near the Earth. Evidence from scientific studies shows us that factories, power plants, and cars put the most carbon dioxide in the air. Global warming is a big problem and it needs to be solved. Unfortunately the problem is getting worse. The longer we ignore the problem the worse it gets. Fortunately, it’s not too late to make a change and turn things around. So you see, it is vital to start speaking about climate change NOW!

Complicated topics including the Greenhouse Gas Effect, which describes why Earth is warming, can be explained at different levels, from basic understanding to complicated chemical equations. The important part is that children understand that some gases, such as carbon dioxide, trap the sun’s warmth near the earth. We require a number of this warmth to sustain life on this planet, so some carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is a good thing. However, the more carbon dioxide into the air, the warmer the planet becomes. Our total well being varies according to having fairly predictable weather and a livable climate. Adding more carbon dioxide towards the air threatens that, considering that the additional warmth it causes upsets the balance of natural systems. Older children will appreciate the scientific evidence for climate change. Into the short term (the past 200 years), it’s clear to see that the increased carbon dioxide in the air from factories, power plants, and cars has caused our planet to warm. For the older child, looking farther back in time (thousands, or even millions of years), it’s interesting to look at the fossil evidence of climate shifts. Remember that the shifting takes place over thousands of years, not the short period of time scale we’re seeing now since the Industrial Revolution.

«could it be True That People Are inducing the Climate to Change?»essay published by Luke, Jacob, Grace, Leah

Handwritten essay.

People contribute to climate change every day. We release carbon dioxide into the air, which traps the sun’s heat. We try this in a variety of ways. When power companies burn coal, oil or gas to make electricity, they put carbon dioxide in the air. Once we use our cars, we put carbon dioxide in the air.

Some people don’t think it’s true that people are the situation, but respected scientists from NOAA and NASA have told us global warming is real, and that the carbon dioxide people put into the air is the main cause. They are also predicting more changes in the climate as people continue to pollute the air.

Scientists have equipment that measures how much carbon dioxide is in the air. In addition they look at carbon dioxide bubbles that have been trapped in ice for thousands of years to understand what the climate was like a long time ago. They compare climates with time. We’ve seen the graphs.

Their evidence shows that most of the carbon dioxide put into the atmosphere is caused by people, so when the carbon dioxide increases, the Earth’s temperature increases. As you can see, people are contributing to climate change. We realize it’s true because respected scientists have shown us the evidence.

To expose your children to first hand evidence, take them to a local science museum. Try to find displays showing scientific evidence of Earth’s climate, thousands, or even millions, of years ago: pollen grains in sediment cores, fossils, signs of changing sea level, etc. Contact a science department at your local university: geology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, or environmental sciences. See if they give tours. Invite a scientist who specializes in paleoclimate to your classroom. Ask her to bring physical evidence, and a slide show of evidence-gathering in the field. What a life-changing experience it can be to engage with an actual scientist, and hold fossils that are millions of years old that contain evidence of climate change.

«What Will Happen If We Ignore This Changing Climate?»essay published by Kavitha, Patrick, Bartosz, Mariel

Handwritten essay.

Global warming is a problem, and it’s happening now. If we don’t do anything about it our lifestyles will change. It’s already causing changes for us. For example, sea level is rising, causing more flooding during storms. Due to the fact Earth is warming, glaciers on land are melting into the ocean, so high tide is now higher across the world. If we don’t slow down the warming, we’ll have more flooding in Manhattan, and in other areas, like Piermont, New York, where some of us live. Weird weather has been happening all over the world lately, and contains been causing a lot of trouble for people. Some places aren’t getting enough rain and others are getting a lot of!

Our lives were really disrupted because of Hurricane Sandy this school year. Our school was closed for a whole week! That meant that the regular vacation time was taken away from us. Everyone in our area lost power for all days. Many houses were damaged. We couldn’t get gas for our cars. This may not happen again every year, but there’s no denying the evidence that our weather is now more extreme in New York, and in other areas. As you can see, if we ignore global warming our lifestyles will change.

Once children understand the difference between weather and climate, as well as the cause and effect between carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and global warming, they are going to want to know why it matters. It’s all about keeping our earth in balance to keep up our total well being.

Classroom conversations can empower them. As with all of the other scary things in life we need to discuss with our children, such as stranger danger, they can handle it if they understand they have some control over the situation. It’s encouraging for them to know that they’re one of many. There are actions people are taking now to reduce the total amount of carbon dioxide going into the air. And they can too, even if they truly are just kids. As our words turn into actions we become part of something bigger, something important. Even very young children can begin learning that we need to take care of Planet Earth, even if they don’t yet fully understand why.

«What Can Kids Do to Slow Down Climate Change?»essay published by Jessica, Shane, Kelly, Dan

Handwritten essay.

Kids often helps slow down climate change. A proven way we can help is to utilize less electricity, because power plants put a lot of carbon dioxide in the air when they burn coal, oil, or gas to make power. At home, we can turn off lights, the TV, and the computer once we’re not using them. We can also recycle paper, glass, plastics, metals, and other things. When we recycle, factories need not make so many new products, which means less burning of fossil fuels, so less carbon dioxide in the air. We can also carpool with friends. Fewer cars on the way means less carbon dioxide in the air. A fun way to slow down climate change is to plant things that grow. Plants absorb the carbon dioxide in the air. The bigger the plant, the more carbon dioxide it takes in! In summary, there are many ways kids often helps slow down climate change.

Our educational system is beginning to understand the responsibility and power we teachers have to move society forward. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) directs us to teach Earth’s Systems, and ways in which people affect these systems. The normal Core State Standards for English Language Arts that requires the reading and analysis of nonfictional texts, and the writing of expository essays, provides opportunities for students to use their emerging skills to understand a thought that’s important to them. The normal Core State Standards for Math mandates that students spend class time analyzing data, and using graphs to recognize patterns in order to predict the long run. As soon as your students put the Common Core to good use to understand important concepts that affect their lives, you’ll come to appreciate the accelerated academic rigor of those new standards, and your important role in influencing society’s priorities.

Additionally, there are programs for teachers to learn more about climate change. As a Climate Stewards Educator, I receive free information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA also provides opportunities to participate in webinars, field trips, and collaborative projects with other Planet Stewards. This current year, my students participated in «live lessons» with a class of 5th graders in South Africa, discussing climate change. The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program provides teachers the opportunity to work on significant academic issues, such as teaching climate change, in a foreign country. During the 2011-12 academic year, I worked in South Africa researching environmental issues, consulting into the schools, and sharing the information with my school back in New York. When our students understand that children and adults in other countries are also helping the environmental surroundings, they understand that positive change is possible.

Kottie Christie-Blick and 5th Grade Students.

Don’t worry about not knowing all the facts at first. Plunge in by visiting the links in this article. They are going to lead you to other informative sites. The important thing is to start speaing frankly about our changing climate, and to begin modeling ways we can help slow down climate change. The grade of our children’s lives, and THEIR children’s lives, varies according to the actions we take today.

The two-hour gift of time all too quickly consumed, I head off to school. I think about my students’ essays, the children’s questions and concerns, their enthusiastic discussion yesterday about what they want to be when they grow up. The car radio diverts my attention. 2015 was the warmest year on record for the contiguous United States. Time to start teaching.

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