New Tools Engage Students in Virtual Climate Science Learning

Adults usually try to reduce kids’ screen time, but when COVID-19 closed schools to in-person learning last spring, schools had no choice but to move classes online. With little experience in remote instruction, teachers have been challenged to get kids actively involved in learning from home. In response, Washington Green Schools has trained hundreds of teachers to engage their students in climate science learning using remote learning platforms. Tools such as PearDeck, Jamboard, and Padlet, can allow students to have the kind of relevant, interactive learning experiences that are essential for effective science education.

Leveraging its statewide teacher training events, Washington Green Schools has used these platforms to train hundreds of teachers, including the Climate Justice League from southwest Washington; its Climate Solutions course for middle school teachers from ESD 113; and eastern Washington educators attending WGS’ STEM seminars. During trainings, teachers learn how to use the platforms and practice using them for climate science instruction.

Trained teachers have made the tools their own, using them for student wellbeing checks, presenting climate science lessons, and testing students’ understanding in real time as lessons progress. After using PearDeck in the classroom, one teacher reported back, “It has been a complete game-changer for a class that is currently reluctant to engage…I saw some of the students’ work for the first time this year!”

Students use Jamboard to share their thoughts, observations, and questions about the relationship between climate change and agriculture.

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