While global warming alarmists, including some initial backers of a certain former U. S. Vice President’s Oscar-winning documentary, are jumping off the climate change express, high schools are increasingly hopping aboard this environmental bandwagon. “Science teacher Kellie Sutliff-Brady wanted to get her students talking about global warming, so she hit ‘play’ on Melissa Etheridge’s ‘I Need to Wake Up,’ from the Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth,” Alexandra R. Moses reports in the March/April issue of Teacher magazine. “Then she asked her 10th-grade honors biology students at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to conduct their own research into global warming.”
“The students dove in, taking on so many projects that she ran out of teaching time for the topic.” “This is such a heated issue—there is no way you can tell them exactly what to think,” said the teacher.
“The students then broke into groups to study climate change’s effect on various ecosystems—deserts, temperate forests, rainforests, and tundra,” Moses recounts. “One held a bake sale to raise money for a copy of the Inconvenient Truth DVD and book; another raffled off energy-saving light bulbs; and three others gave talks to middle and high school classes.”
“They now understand that this issue affects their future,” Sutliff-Brady said. One hopes they have a firmer grasp on their present: Winds of 45-55-miles-an-hour slammed the Keystone State in early April while residents endured unseasonable temps in the 30s.
Ironically, Colorado sixth-graders may be more sophisticated than Pennsylvania high school honor students. “Humans don’t cause global warming, a jury of sixth-graders at Trail Ridge Middle School concluded Thursday after hearing opposing arguments from their peers,” Ben Ready reported in the Longmont Daily Times-Call on March 23.
“They’re pretty young for this kind of thinking,” Their teacher said. “They did great.”
Meanwhile, high school students have become accustomed to incendiary rhetoric from their teachers but probably not to actual incineration. “Kentucky social studies teacher Dan Holden was suspended for five days after he burned small U. S. flags as a springboard for an essay he assigned to his 7th-grade students,” Stephen Saint reports in the March/April 2007 issue of Teacher. “(A district spokesperson says Holden was suspended because burning the flags created a safety hazard.)” And what size carbon footprint did he leave?
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.