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Mon, Sep 18


Online Asynchronous & two in-person days

Designing an Activity-based Climate Change Curriculum with Local and Global Perspective

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Designing an Activity-based Climate Change Curriculum with Local and Global Perspective
Designing an Activity-based Climate Change Curriculum with Local and Global Perspective

Time & Location

Sep 18, 2023, 7:00 PM – Nov 17, 2023, 7:00 PM

Online Asynchronous & two in-person days

About the Course

The effects of the global climate crisis are increasingly visible all around us.  This course presents a variety of lab and field activities to effectively introduce climate change concepts and allows participants to design a unit that fits their needs.  We will quantitatively investigate disruptions to the global carbon cycle, with an emphasis on forests and oceans.  All activities will utilize resources that are readily available and inexpensive.  We will explore data sets and case studies from Vermont and around the world, as well as investigate climate change effects on human communities.   Participants have the option of registering for three graduate credits ($1,600) or recertification credits ($1,300). This course will be most relevent to middle and high school science and social studies teacher or education teams interested in designing a thematic, interdisciplinary unit. The course syllabus can be viewed here

This course will complement a second field-based course, which will travel to Nepal in February, 2024.  Registration in the field-based course is encouraged, but is not a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.

Course Goals/Objectives:

  1. Explore hands-on activities and demonstrations for teaching the Carbon Cycle and the greenhouse effect.
  2. Extrapolate the effect of burning fossil fuels on our atmosphere through lab-based measurement and mathematical calculations with real-world data sets.
  3. Measure the amount of carbon stored in individual trees and local forest plots to document the consequences of deforestation/fires on the carbon cycle.
  4. Investigate the effects of climate change and atmospheric carbon dioxide on our oceans through lab investigations of water density and ocean acidification.
  5. Explore resources and data-based activities to document the effects of climate change in Vermont, as well as on species and ecosystems around the world.
  6. Research the consequences of climate change on human communities globally and consider the potential impact of 1 billion climate refugees this century.


September 18 to November 17 (virtual, asynchronous)

September 30 (in person, Central VT location TBD)    8:30 – 4:00

October 28 (in person, Central VT location, TBD))       8:30 – 4:00​

Online asynchronous work will require 2-3 hours of work per week and will mostly consist of the generation of student activities, lesson plans and a Unit plan to fit each participant’s need.

About the Instructor: Shane Heath has been teaching physical and life sciences in Vermont for 12 years, and currently teaches chemistry and wildlife ecology at Essex High School.   He was selected as a National Geographic Grosvenor Fellow in 2019.  Prior to teaching, he worked for years as a wildlife ecologist, conducting fieldwork with researchers in China, India, Nigeria, and South Africa.  He believes in incorporating the tenets of climate sustainability, biodiversity conservation and global citizenship into his teaching.  He sits on the board of directors for Go Global VT.

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