Beth Sanzenbacher, MS Science Teacher
Climate change education is crucial for climate action but teaching the causes and impact of our climate crisis can sometimes feel daunting for students. While students readily accept the scientific consensus on climate change, teens are at risk for poor mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as a result of both the effects of climate change and climate change education. It has also been found that discussing future dimensions on probable and positive seniors and giving time to creatively construct around these future dimensions, enables young people to feel more constructive hope and become engaged in more pro-environmental behaviors.
In order for students to cope with the realities of climate change and to practice the innovative and creative skills needed to combat a changing climate and create a sustainable future for humankind, it is imperative that any climate change education is also paired with climate action. Students must be given the relevant skills to invent their own solutions to climate change problems and empowered to share these solutions with the world. Using the design thinking method situated in a maker-centered classroom for climate change education is a powerful method that enables students to become agents of change in an ever-changing world.
On Friday, April 9th, our 8th grade students presented the results of their climate action projects. From solar cookers to solar chargers. From making paper to up-cycling fashion, wind turbines to thermoelectric conductors, crochet plastic bags to reusable menstrual pads and climate awareness via a Tik Tok campaign to a climate action short film. Our 8th graders are leading the way for humans to live sustainably on our planet.
Each climate action project connects to, and is driven by, one of our core Jewish values. The presentations have been truly outstanding, and are a wonderful example of how our commitments to academic excellence, relevant practical application, and applied Jewish values can happily go hand in hand.
We'll share a link to all students' presentations in the next Ma Nishma!