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Advancing climate literacy with the National Academies of Science’s Board on Science Education


Frank Niepold, CPO’s Senior Climate Education Program Manager and Coordinator, will present on the state of climate literacy and educational literature to the National Academies of Science’s 32nd Meeting of the Board on Science Education. The meeting will take place at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, California on January 29-30 to support a potential consensus study on climate change education. 

Established in 2004, the National Research Council’s (NRC) Board on Science Education has played a key role and partner with NOAA in advancing climate literacy, from convening the Round Table on Climate Change Education (CCE) to co-leading the Next Generation Science Standards. The Roundtable on CCE was established 2009 to foster ongoing discussion of the challenges to and strategies for improving climate science and climate change education for the general public, and for students in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. It also focused on strategies for improving the capacity for climate-related decision-making of resource managers and policy makers, and implications for workforce development in professions that are strongly influenced by climate change. During its tenure, the Roundtable held 4 workshops which provided an opportunity to bring together overlapping and complementary expertise from academic and professional disciplines that commonly do not intersect when addressing climate change education. It also provided federal agencies with important foundational knowledge related to key aspects of CCE and learning, such as the nature and scope of existing efforts, achievable and measurable goals, challenges and opportunities inherent in developing a national level CCE initiative, and areas where investments may provide the greatest leverage.  It completed its work in 2014.

The NRC Board on Science Education has released multiple reports related to the development and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and the board’s work in this area continues. For instance, it managed the first of two steps in the creation of the Next Generation Science Standards by developing “A Framework for K-12 Science Education”, which was released July 2011. The Framework provides a sound, evidence-based foundation for standards by drawing on current scientific research—including research on the ways students learn science effectively—and identifies the science all K–12 students should know. The framework used the NOAA led Climate Literacy guide to inform the development of the climate related K-12 standards development. As a result, the climate related standards increased to over 30 percent of all science and engineering standards and are being used by over 70 percent of the nations school systems. This is important for NOAA’s mission because science teachers have stated that standards, like the NGSS, are one of the main reasons for teaching climate change.


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