Maryland and Delaware Climate Change Education Assessment and Research

Who is charge of this program?

MADE CLEAR is a cooperative agreement led by the University System of Maryland and the University of Delaware and funded by the National Science Foundation.

What will MADE CLEAR do?

The MADE CLEAR partnership brings together of a group of experts in the fields of climate science and education, led by the University System of Maryland and University of Delaware, to provide a system of support for teachers in Maryland and Delaware. Focusing on middle and high school, the network also engages universities, state departments of education, and educators from natural resources agencies, museums, and aquariums.

How will the funds be spent?

The majority of the funding will go towards providing teachers with training, scientifically accurate resources, and online content that can be used in the classroom. Significant funds will also be spent refining the training and resources based on teacher feedback on how well the resources have worked in their classrooms.

Does this mean climate science will be part of the curriculum in Maryland and Delaware?

Climate science is already a piece of curriculum in many states. For instance, in earth sciences, students learn about the flow of energy and matter – the water cycle and ocean circulation patterns. The recently released Next Generation Science Standards also include climate change.

MADE CLEAR will bring together educators with climate scientists to meld concepts that typically may be taught in isolation. For instance, an activity on sea level rise will address science, such as wave energy and ocean circulation. Social sciences and government include decision-making skills, mathematics and data analysis of models could be part of such an activity where students plot actual sea level rise and use role playing to hold mock community meetings. Reading and comprehension skills will be developed as students read local newspapers and peer-reviewed literature on the topic.

Ultimately, the focus is on providing teachers with the necessary tools and resources to teach complex scientific and social issues and helping students develop enhanced critical thinking skills.

Does MADE CLEAR have an agenda for pushing climate change science in the classroom?

The MADE CLEAR partnership brings together of a group of experts in the fields of climate science and education, led by the University System of Maryland and University of Delaware, to provide a system of support for teachers in Maryland and Delaware.

The partnership has been established to fill needs that have been identified by teachers in our region – access to scientifically sound, locally relevant resources on the science of climate change, its impacts on the place we live, and the choices we have to address it.

Over the past year we have asked teachers in and out of the classroom to express their interest in climate education and what they would need to teach this topic. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, though at times guarded. We have heard again and again that teachers need training and a support network on teaching this climate science, and they desire resources to which students can relate.

Isn't global warming a myth?

The position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries, plus many scientific organizations that study climate science, is that humans are causing global warming. 95% of active climate researchers endorse this consensus position. Scientific studies consistently show that natural factors alone cannot explain the warming.

In Maryland and Delaware, we have already seen changes:

How will MADE CLEAR work in the classroom

MADE CLEAR will develop a community of climate scientists, teacher educators, and teachers, who will work together to review climate science resources and participate in training in and out of the classroom.

The community will work initially through Climate Change Academies that are designed to create a team of teachers across the region with a core understanding of climate science and the most effective methods to teach this topic. Teachers will have the opportunity to ask climate scientists difficult questions and to enhance their knowledge and comfort with teaching climate science.

During the Climate Change Academies, educators will be exposed to regional climate science, impacts, and alternative solutions. A key feature will be focus on adaptation to regional impacts and choices for reducing the magnitude of climate change.

The school year follow-up activities will focus on the creation of communities of practice, and the integration of academy experiences into classrooms.

Can teachers choose not to teach climate science?

Educators have the choice to utilize these resources as they wish. It can be a small piece of an environmental science course or a multi-week lesson involving questions related to climate models or to decisions communities are facing related to issues such as sea level rise.

The goal is to empower teachers and university faculty with the resources to teach climate science. Teachers will have access to comprehensive climate resources that are scientifically accurate and locally relevant. The challenge MADE CLEAR will address is bringing together science, math, social sciences, languages, and the arts in a way that is connected and logical and simple for students to follow.