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Primary Education News
News Count down to Earth Hour with lessons on climate change
The annual 60 minute light switch off is back on 23 March. So why not use the event to teach about climate change? Here are our top resources to help you plan your green lesson
Every year at the end of March, individuals, governments, companies and organisations switch non-essential lights off for 60 minutes to mark Earth Hour - a global event which aims to raise awareness of climate change and environmental concerns. It may only be symbolic, but watching iconic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House be plunged into darkness sends a powerful message.
The seventh annual Earth Hour on 23 March, 8.30pm to 9.30pm, is a flash of inspiration for teachers wanting to explore climate change in more depth - from the science of global warming to energy saving and renewable energy. The event is made even more relevant this week after teachers in England condemned the British government for dropping climate change from the geography curriculum for under 14s.
The Guardian Teacher Network, Environment section and Earth Hour website are rich with resources, interactive multimedia, videos and picture galleries to help you plan your next green lesson. Here are our pick of the best:
Not sure where to start? This interactive guide is a hexagonal spider map which will help you find your way around this labyrinthine issue and answer many of the burning questions orbiting this hot topic. Covering everything from science and politics to economics and technology, your class will be able to delve deeper into all the subjects covered by the issue.
Last year was one of the top 10 hottest on record. But was it a freak of nature or the tip of a slowly melting iceberg? Engage your students in a debate on climate change, exploring the facts and data surrounding the topic, using this animation displaying a progression of changing global surface temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2012. The map clearly shows global surface temperature in 2012 was +0.55°C (1F) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 base period average, despite much of the year being affected by a strong La Niña. What does your class think could have caused this rise in temperature?
Ask your pupils to play UK prime minister and give them the tricky task of cutting our fuel guzzling country's carbon emissions by 80%, but still providing enough electricity to meet demand. The calculator, which allows students to set policy on energy, transport and other sectors, may have originally been created to tie in with the 2010 general election, but it's still a handy tool to use today, engaging the class in mathematics and political debate.
News stories and documentaries about melting ice caps are worrying, but tales of crumbling glaciers thousands of miles away can often leave pupils feeling cold. Sometimes, seeing is believing and this fascinating video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows how the Arctic ice retreated over the summer from April to September 2012.
Talking about the weather is a national pastime in the UK. And we've had more than our fair share of storms, floods and snow drifts this winter to keep us chatting until summer finally decides to arrive. But is our weather any worse than it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago? Engage your pupils in a discussion about Britain's infamously unpredictable weather by joining a national initiative that seeks to explore and record people's meteorological memories, especially those associated with extreme weather events in the recallable past. The scheme is particularly interested in the way in which memory and experience influences understanding of climate change issues. Pupils can add to this memory bank by interviewing their parents and grandparents.
Is global warming an inconvenient truth or green wash propaganda? The data in favour of the climate change argument is certainly compelling, but there are some in the scientific community and elsewhere who remain sceptical about the topic. This Teacher Network resource, suitable for citizenship students aged 11 to 18, explores the role, if any, scepticism should play in debates over climate change.
From games teaching children about cleaning the world's oceans to an online activity book packed full of great ideas for lessons on the environment, the official Earth Hour website has plenty to keep your class busy. It's also an ideal place to source inspiring videos and pictures related to the campaign and find out how your school can get involved.