Teaching ocean climate science to 6th graders during a pandemic

Our STAY COOL for Grandkids Ocean Climate Science Education program began 5 years ago when STAY COOL co-founder David Engel created power point presentations on Ocean Warming and Ocean Acidification. He recruited two Scripps Institution of Oceanography grad students to present the lessons to 6th grade science classes. The lessons comply with the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) and are based on the NOAA/National Climate Assessment Educator’s lessons 1 & 2. By March 2020, the now 7 SIO grad students had presented the lessons to more than 3000 students.

In March 2020, the SIO grad students had just completed lessons at two of our schools when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

Our STAY COOL Education committee wanted to support our teachers in teaching about climate change during the pandemic. Committee member Jenny Miller invited the grad students to a Zoom meeting. They agreed to make video recordings of the two lessons, each taking half of a lesson, since our teachers wanted shorter videos for the students learning online.

Shailja Gangrade and Nathali Cordero made video recordings of Ocean Warming parts 1 and 2. Vanessa Zobell and Erica Ferrer made video recordings of Ocean Acidification parts 1 and 2. David adapted the power point slides and the grad students added some new ones of their own.

I sent the video recordings out to all of our teachers, along with a recipe for the cabbage juice pH indicator for the experiment which Vanessa demonstrates on the first Ocean Acidification video.

Meanwhile, teachers at three schools wanted the SIO grad students to present the lessons on Zoom. Monica Nelson, Shailja Gangrade and Erica Ferrer gave excellent live presentations.

All four videos are now on YouTube and links can be found on the STAY COOL website here. They are of interest to adults too and fun to watch. A link to the cabbage juice recipe is also available here.

Sue Randerson, Stay Cool, 10 June 2021. Article.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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