Secondary Climate Change Education in the Pacific Northwest

Document Type


Publication Date

May 2014


Climate Change Education


Climate change (CC) is an important issue students should understand to be productive members of society. The objectives were to evaluate the instruction and teacher perceptions relating to CC in the Inland Pacific Northwest (IPNW) secondary (7–12) classes across disciplines. The teacher perceptions, instructional frequency, perceived barriers to inclusion of CC issues, and professional development needs were assessed utilizing an electronic survey of 7th to 12th grade teachers across eight disciplines in the IPNW region. Instruction on CC issues occurs most frequently two or three times a year in most disciplines, with 18.6% of all teachers never including CC issues. The majority (85.6%) of all teachers agreed at some level that basic knowledge of CC issues is important for making socially responsible decisions. Time, available curriculum, and funding were the most frequently cited reasons for not including CC issues. Teachers were most likely to participate in a 1- or 2-day-long, on-site professional development experience; responses suggest that agricultural science and science teachers are more likely than teachers in other disciplines to incorporate CC issues into their curriculum. Climate change resources, tailored for subjects other than science fields and directly linked to national standards, need to be utilized to enhance the inclusion of CC in secondary classrooms beyond the traditional and applied sciences. Results of this study indicate agricultural science instructors may be an overlooked audience in terms of professional development related to CC science.

Publication Title

Natural Sciences Education





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