Teach Climate

March 24, 2020
By: Lindsey Kirkland, Senior Climate Change Education Manager

Climate Change Education Resources for Virtual Classrooms

Across the nation we are faced with the challenge of delivering quality virtual and distance education to our students, and with little notice.

We know that some educators are in districts or schools that have limited digital access and are making distance learning plans, while others are adapting lesson plans to digital learning. Each situation is different and we hope to support you in this transition by offering some resources, connections, and tips for this new way of learning! While this page has resources for teachers in both distance and digital learning situations, we recognize that many are geared more to digital learning.

For at least the next two months, Climate Generation will adapt all programming to be virtual. That means we will be practicing our digital technical skills and creating new, engaging ways to interact with you. To begin this journey, we’ve reflected on our current techniques for virtual programming and have collated our resources.

Check out our 10 tips below for creating virtual classrooms, resources for digital climate change education from Climate Generation and our partners, and new and future opportunities for you! 

And remember, we are here for you. Please reach out to us if you want help in creating distance learning materials tailored to your students’ needs. We are available for virtual meetings, presentations, and informal workshops for your community. Subscribe to our Teach Climate Tips e-newsletter to get updates!

10 Tips for Virtual Classrooms

No matter what stage you are at in your digital conversion journey, you can benefit from these tips for creating a successful online classroom.

  1. Assess student and caregiver needs.
  2. Find a virtual platform for your classroom if your school doesn’t provide one.
    • Google Classroom is free, as well as Moodle for up to 50 users.
    • ALERT: Microsoft Teams is available for free to educational institutions through the Office 365 A1 offer!
  1. Sign up for training on your virtual platform, you’ll be surprised by the features available to you!
  2. Find a complementary platform for video calls, meetings, and virtual lessons.
    • Google Hangouts, Cranium Café from Conexed, Skype, and Zoom
    • ALERT: Zoom is offering free accounts for K-12 schools: fill out the form here!
  1. Practice using interactive features:
    • Video Meetings
    • Text chats
    • Virtual whiteboards
    • Breakout rooms
    • Surveys, polls, and other feedback tools
  1. Create or find virtual adaptations for your lesson plans (see the resources listed below).
  2. Make yourself available online for a period of the day for facilitated lessons or one-to-one meetings.
  3. Leave students with a plan and schedule the next opportunity to connect.
  4. Follow up with emails or have student notifications turned on.
  5. Remember this is a transition for everyone. We’re in this together.

Check out this article from The Journal for more ideas about setting up your classroom, and this article from Power School for suggestions about managing your classroom.

Climate Generation Resources

  • Distance Education Webinar Series
    • To support educators making the transition to distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic, Climate Generation is hosting webinars once a month to highlight climate change education resources and tips for virtual and remote classrooms. Upcoming webinars are listed on our events page and the recordings are hosted on our YouTube page.
  • Free Climate Change Curricula
    • Climate Generation continues to offer our curricula free to everyone. You can download the PDFs and start looking through what lessons and activities may work for you!
  • Explore the biomes of Minnesota from your seat! Read journal excerpts from historical journals and see what plants and animals are native to the area.
  • Read exciting journal entries from Will Steger and partners on their expedition to Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island in Canada documenting the impact of climate change on the Arctic environment, and learn about arctic animals, scientists, arctic peoples and Arctic explorers!
  • Watch a documentary featuring stories from real Minnesotans and their experience of climate change! This documentary showcases six stories, along with narration from some of the state’s leading climate experts.
  • Discover what careers can help the climate! Green Careers for a Changing Climate is a ten-minute documentary that interviews five professionals, and helps students learn the skills needed and possible pathways to the green career.
  • Prepare your students to follow the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) international climate negotiations anytime of the year!
    • Resource: The COP Toolkit provides insight into how countries around the world are experiencing and dealing with climate change. The Conference of Parties (COP) includes 197 countries, or Parties, who are committed to preventing human interference with the Earth’s climate system and addressing climate change impacts happening now.
    • Partner Resource: Check out the World Climate Simulation from Climate Interactive. This is a role-playing exercise of the UN climate change negotiations. Through the simulation, participants get to explore the necessary speed and level of action that nations must take to address global climate change.
  • Follow along with Will Steger on his 1,000-mile, 70-day journey from 2018 through the Barren Lands in the Canadian Arctic!
    • Resource: Barren Lands Solo Expedition. On this solo expedition Will Steger posted a daily dispatch of his recorded observations of the region online, and we marked his progress on a map. Find activities, articles, and videos, and a journal question to encourage writing and reflection from your students.

Partner Resources

BREAKING NEWS! NSTA is offering free membership for the next 30 days! Check out their interactive e-books. We especially enjoy Investigating Weather and Climate for K-5 students. Follow #NGSSchat on twitter for current news and resources for adapting NGSS techniques to virtual classrooms.