TAP Day 2: How’s everyone feeling about the future of the world?
After yesterday’s downer slide show, I wanted to see how everyone was feeling so had them play the “Take A Position” game, from “Worried about the Future” on one side of the room, to “Hopeful/Not Worried about the Future” on the side next to the window. Kids could stand anywhere on that continuum. They shared with others near them why they had taken their position. I listened in for a couple of minutes, then stood on a low table and called on someone in each clump of kids to stand on the chair and explain their position.
It was a really easy and fun way for me to get a finger on the pulse of the room and it varied wildly from one class to another.
I was surprised at how many students were not worried, or thought that ‘living in a glass bubble under the ocean, or on the moon” was a viable vision for the future. Two of the 145 were vehemently skeptical – one because he is sure this is just an interglacial warming phase and there is nothing we can do, and the other, was adamant that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had admitted that there has not been a recent rise in average global temperature.
Others said that they thought that technology and innovation will rescue us. One guy felt that it was okay if ecosystems collapsed because then there would be more room for farming. An audible gasp from others in the class. A few admitted they just weren’t all that worried because it was unlikely to affect them in their lifetimes.
In the middle were some students who right out said that they just didn’t know enough to have a firm opinion. But many more who said that while they were seriously worried, they thought that there were so many people trying to do something about it, that they were sure that we could save ourselves. One boy thought that it would be the opposite of 2012 (the recent disaster movie) and that instead of fighting, we would all pull together in hard times. A little moment of grace…
On the very worried side were students who tended to be more sophisticated in their understanding of climate change, plus a smattering who were really upset about the polar bears. Animal extinctions were high on their list of concerns. Some mentioned stuff they had seen in yesterday’s slide show.
Some misconceptions lurked in their explanations – that the ozone layer acted like a blanket to keep the earth warm, and that the ozone hole was getting better so global warming might be too. But they were unsure exactly how that would happen. They have come across the topic in 6th grade but don’t remember a coherent explanation, just bits and pieces of information.
But wow, I would never have known all these ideas washing around in their heads. Another day where there seems to be a sort of intellectual ‘contagion’ – ideas present in one class but not in another.
It felt like a good segue to launch the Take Action Project with the student outline, and a letter of advice about TAP for each of them from last year’s students – lots of interest and letter-trading because so many of them know the authors. They’ll keep the advice and outline for reference.
We then took the last minutes of class for “The Science of Climate Change” slides. Not enough time to finish but that’s okay – just want to put the issue front and center as they go into the “Pick a Problem” part of the Take Action Project.
Karen and I feel like we are galloping along, it’s all coming at us quite fast, and glad we have front loaded getting the activities done ahead of time.