How have textbooks portrayed climate change? | 10/22/2018 | Staff
donuzumaki (Posted by) Level 3
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Back in 2007, the world's foremost body charged with assessing climate change stated with "very high confidence" that humans were a primary driver of climate change.

But you may not get the message that humans are responsible for climate change if you peered into some of the most popular high school curriculum materials that were produced in the following years.

School - Materials - Consensus - Activity - Driver

Many school materials back then did not communicate the scientific consensus that human activity was a major driver of climate change. That was one of the major findings of our line-by-line analysis of five science textbooks, four social studies textbooks and eight sets of supplemental curricular materials produced in the five years after the 2007 report. These 17 resources – all designed for high school classrooms – were selected based on their widespread use so that we could best understand the climate change-related content seen by the greatest number of U.S. students.

The three of us are researchers of education interested in how to prepare youth for well-informed civic participation. Casey Meehan came up with the idea to analyze how curricular materials deal with climate change, considering this a major civic issue. After doing this as part of his dissertation at the University of Wisconsin, Brett Levy and Lauren Collet-Gildard helped him to expand his analyses.

Findings - Science - Education - Year - Takeaway

We published our findings in Science Education earlier this year. The main takeaway is that many American curricular materials communicate a skewed or incomplete view of the seriousness, scope and cause of global climate change. In addition, these resources present a small range of options for addressing the problem.

We examined how each resource portrayed three major dimensions of climate change: causes, impacts and potential responses.

Resources - Study - Consensus - Activity - Driver

Nine resources in our study did reflect the scientific consensus that human activity is a major driver of climate change, but we found that...
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