Because global warming and climate change affect all sectors of thought and life, they, like other sustainability concepts are well-served by interdisciplinary and inquiry-based approaches—and they help develop essential skills in research, data collection & analysis, teamwork reporting, and presentation Some teachers report that integrating climate and sustainability into their subject area connects the work to students and their futures and helps meet curriculum goals.
In addition, it’s important to help all students understand these concepts, not just those who are academically proficient or who are able to take elective science courses.
In the following pages, we will give a few samples of ways to use climate change and sustainability in nearly every subject area. (You will probably see some things that seem obvious to you because this guide is for teachers with a wide range of experience who are teaching at different grade levels.)
Note that we are not trying to provide a curriculum or even individual units or lesson plans—our goal is simply to provide a few questions that can serve as entry points; we hope this will help you find effective ways to integrate climate and sustainability issues in your classroom. We think this can be done in ways that will not just be one more thing to cover, but a way to help meet learning goals and to enrich and enhance the classes.
Following are some ideas about ways to integrate climate and sustainability topics in most subject areas. (Also see Ideas for teachers who work with younger students.)
Resources are listed with each subject, but resources that apply to many subject areas and readings for students are listed separately.
Note: Schools sometimes group subjects with acronyms such as DREAMS, STEM, and STEAM; we list these as individual subjects.