Introduction to Global Climate Change Through Classroom Discussion
For this classroom-based discussion, students will need to come to class having read the climate and climate change material from their textbook as well as selections from the IPCC report and other related articles assigned by the instructor. As they arrive, they will be instructed to participate in a Gallery Walk activity, in which they will brainstorm issues and thoughts in writing below a number of different headings written on the board around the room. Once everyone has had a chance to participate, classroom discussion will ensue based on their ideas. The Gallery Walk is important as it gets the students thinking and interacting with one another. Moving from topic to topic around the room enables them to think about the issues as related pieces of the same puzzle, which makes the discussion more productive.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
The day of the activity, prepare for class by writing headings on the board around the room for the gallery walk. Leave plenty of room for each heading because students will need to write their thoughts. Suggested headings include: Scientific Factors, Natural Causes, Anthropogenic Causes, Future Impacts, Role of Individual, Role of Government, and International Concerns. Provide several pieces of chalk at each station.
Depending on the arrangement of your classroom, it might be beneficial to move the chairs into a circle to facilitate discussion.
As students arrive, instruct them to move around the room and write a thought or idea or question under each heading. Allow 10-15 minutes for this, possibly more if you have a long class period.
Once the students have all had a chance to record their thoughts, begin the discussion by addressing one of the headings. A good place to start is with scientific factors. This will ground the discussion in the scientific facts related to Global Climate Change. Ask the students if they have any comments on the scientific factors. If they don't, you will be able to facilitate the discussion using the things they have written on the board. When they seem to have discussed everything from one topic, move to the next one. Since they have come to class prepared by doing the background reading and since they have spent the first fifteen minutes of class interacting with one another and brainstorming, the discussion will flow more naturally then in a traditional lecture-question format.
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
SkepticalScience.com: An online resource containing articles with address with scientific accuracy, more than a hundred commonly asked questions and misconceptions about global climate change.
American Meteorological Society Climate Studies Textbook: Climate Studies: Introduction to Climate Science, Joseph M. Moran. Publisher: American Meteorological Society ISBN: 978-1878220-04-2