Calling All Science Educators

In the new, surreal and scary era we stumbled into on Tuesday being a science educator has taken on new meaning. Our new president, Voldemort, I mean Trump, plans to appoint a climate change denier to head the EPA, drill just about everywhere and cut all funding currently dedicated to addressing climate change.

I propose a broad coalition of science teachers, museums, non-profits, public gardens, schools, colleges and universities to come together and spend the next four years teaching about climate change and advocating for clean energy, conservation and climate solutions.  We are at a critical moment in hundreds of ways, but if we don’t take on climate change now we will lose our opportunity to do so at all. Trump is planning to do battle against the environment and we need to fight back.  If every museum, every school, every garden, every research institution pledges to take on and teach about climate change for the next four years maybe, just maybe we can stem the rising tides in our future.

We are the leaders that remain in the moral vacuum of a Trump white house. More than ever, public institutions that serve and educate the public need to band together and toil to promote diversity, tolerance, equity and sustainability for all. We need a broad alliance dedicated to protecting those most vulnerable to the hate Trump inspires. We need to come together to protect our democratic institutions and our civil, natural and reproductive rights. There is so much to do, and so much to fight for, and amidst all that we can’t forget our planet.

Please share widely.

 

 

Kids are Amazing- When You Give Them a Chance

Recently I decided to teach my fourth graders about the Flint water disaster. I wanted to offer them information, let them come to their own conclusions and then decide together how to act. I learned that empowering children think critically and take action can be as simple as pausing the curriculum for a day, looking at the news and engaging in some real world problem solving.

My students were shocked and appalled by what they learned. They asked questions about lead, about how drinking water can get contaminated, about how many children were affected, about how could a government do that to people, and if the water looked so dirty why wasn’t it tested in the first place. After learning that GM managed to switch its water supply early on, and that state officials had access to clean water throughout the crisis, one student raised her hand and said,” I don’t understand. Government is supposed to help people and take care of them not make them sick. Their job is to protect people. Why would they do this?” Later, one of the girls said “when [yes, when] I run for president I would make sure that everyone gets clean water and people like Governor Snyder who just care about money are fired.”

After giving them time to explore their feelings and questions, I then asked what they thought we could do to help. They had so many ideas- from fundraising, to letter writing campaigns to teaching our school community about lead. In one 45 minute period, I saw critical thinking, creativity and problem solving- all those elusive 21st century skills that no amount of close reading will  produce.

Here is some of what they did.obama letter amelia

 

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christine

I am so, so proud of them- of their questioning, their compassion and their determination to help. Not only were they thoughtful and empathetic in their responses to what they learned, but also, they went above and beyond anything I asked of them.

Over 30 fourth graders gave up their recess and lunch to continue working on these flyers, posters and letters. Many children took their letters and projects home to finish. One group of students independently collected 150 dollars at a school event. Whats more, multiple students in each class offered to send their allowance or birthday money to people in Flint. These are not kids with money to spare.

Hats off to them.