A science class that covers climate change in two hours … that’s not much, but that’s all the time many middle and high school science teachers in the U.S. spend on the subject. And one in three still raise the question of whether human-activities are responsible.

Chalkboard with words climate change

But Julie Ruziska Tiddy, a sixth-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, wants her students to know the evidence.

Ruziska Tiddy: “We discuss the difference between climate and weather. We discuss the difference between human-caused climate change versus natural cyclical changes that occur within our climate.”

Then they talk about realistic changes each of them can make, like turning off lights when they leave the room. And Ruziska-Tiddy says the students are eager to make a difference.

Ruziska Tiddy: “At this age oftentimes they’re very activist-oriented you know ‘I’m going to go home, we’re going to turn off all the lights and we’re never going to use technology.’”

She guides students by having them do a project on a climate change topic of their choice. Some create poster presentations. But one created a grocery carpool for her neighborhood.

Ruziska Tiddy: “That was a grassroots effort for my kids to really enact change at the sixth-grade level – and I thought that was really powerful.”

When students are well informed, they can contribute to the solutions.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

Daisy Simmons is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in research-driven storytelling. In addition to contributing to Yale Climate Connections since early 2016, she also...