NGSS, Science Literacies, Activism:
A Science, Education, and Climate Change Symposium: Grades 3-12

Monday, March 30 - Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Grade: 3-12
Featuring: KC Golden, of, Seattle’s #1 Eco-Hero; Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of Ocean Collectiv and Ocean Policy Lab, TED resident; Paul Andersen, NGSS specialist and YouTube Edu Guru; TCRWP faculty, Mary Ehrenworth, Katie Clements, Cheney Munson; along with a cavalcade of ecologists, journalists, environmental activists, and science educators.

As we raise young citizens and activists, the climate crisis needs to be a priority for all of us, especially educators who care about young people and the planet. This institute is designed for teachers, school leaders, and environmental educators who are already convinced that climate change is the biggest problem facing our students’ generation and want to take immediate action. Alongside the profound challenge of climate warming, we also want to tackle the crisis in science about getting people to care– how to present information, argue, and educate in ways that stir people’s emotions and minds.

Join a group of scientists, educators, journalists, and activists of all ages to tackle this question: How can we take seriously the challenge of climate change and begin to empower our students to move our country, and our world, in the right direction? While we acknowledge that climate change is far too complex and multifaceted a problem to fully tackle in three days, we can’t wait until we have perfect answers to improve the work we are doing with young people.

Come ready to learn, to think together, and to engage with passionate colleagues across a range of formats. Part of your time will be spent in interdisciplinary workshops and round table conversations that will tackle different topics of interest, from what climate change instruction is appropriate for young learners, to how we fight back against climate miseducation and climate complacency in our communities, to how we make students aware of the ways that climate change will disproportionately affect people of color and people living in poverty, many of whom are from communities that are not major contributors to the problem. We’ll also engage in conversations around how we prepare our students to be citizens in a world filled with the downstream effects of climate change, including increased wars, natural disasters, and migration, alongside decreased resources.

Of course, we’ll also explore pedagogical approaches that can help your students think deeply about climate change. As a literacy organization, you’ll hear about the critical reading strategies that help kids be more powerful readers of science texts, and the writing strategies that will help them raise their voices in ethical arguments. There’s a lack of writing about climate change for kids, so you’ll hear how you can empower kids to write their own texts about global warming in a way that makes others care, and you’ll get an opportunity to begin producing your own writing. Science, technology, engineering, and math skills will be an essential part of the solution, so you’ll hear about key teaching methods you might harness within those disciplines.

You’ll get crash courses from scientific experts designed to lift the level of your own scientific literacy. And, you’ll have opportunities to network with other passionate educators, ones we hope will lead to future collaborations across schools, districts, states, even countries. We’ll suggest ways you can begin to engage students in this work, perhaps through week-long intensives that stretch across the school day and across subject areas or through units of study that help students to read, write, and think more deeply about climate change.

We believe strongly that in the face of grim news, it’s not enough to wallow in your knowledge of what’s wrong. Instead, we need to empower kids to take real action, and we need to provide the teaching, time, and support necessary for them to do so. We’ll share stories of kid activists around the world that are making a difference when it comes to global warming, and suggest ways you might rally your students to action. We’ll also examine the role technology can play in this work. We hope you’ll be ready to share your ideas as well, so we can learn from the best practices already in play in each of our schools.

Our goal is that you leave inspired, empowered, connected, and ready to coach your students to fight for essential changes in the world. Our students and our planet cannot wait.


$650/$600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY


Paul Andersen is an international science educational consultant and YouTube creator living in Bozeman, MT. Paul is an experienced educator having taught science in Montana for 20 years. Paul was the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year and was also one of four finalists for the 2011 National Teacher of the Year. In addition to teaching, Paul has created hundreds of YouTube science tutorials that have been viewed millions of times by students around the world. Paul has provided training for thousands of students, teachers, and administrators around the world, particularly around the Next Generation Science Standards, and about making science joyful and inquiry based. Paul enjoys providing meaningful professional development that can be applied immediately in the classroom.
Considered to be one of the most strategic political thinkers working on climate change today, KC Golden sets his sights on regional action in order to drive progress on climate policy from the bottom up, demonstrating that climate solutions help build stronger local economies and healthier communities.KC Golden is Board Chair of, an international movement dedicated to ending the age of fossil fuels, and Senior Policy Advisor at Climate Solutions, a Northwest-based nonprofit devoted to accelerating clean energy solutions to the climate crisis. He has served as a special assistant to the Mayor of Seattle for clean energy and climate protection initiatives. KC publishes regularly about climate issues. KC was one of Seattle Magazine’s “Power 25” most influential people, and its #1 “Eco-Hero.” He received the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his lifetime achievement as a climate advocate and policy architect.
Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, and Brooklyn native. She is founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities, and founder and CEO of Ocean Collectiv, a consulting firm for conservation solutions. Previously, as executive director of the Waitt Institute, Dr. Johnson co-founded the Blue Halo Initiative and led the Caribbean’s first successful island-wide ocean zoning effort. She also developed ocean policy at the EPA and NOAA, and was a leader of the March for Science.

Her op-eds have been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and The Guardian, and she blogs on Scientific American. She was named one of Elle’s 27 Women Leading on Climate. Outside Magazine called her “the most influential marine biologist of our time.”

Dr. Johnson serves on the board of directors for the Billion Oyster Project, GreenWave, World Surf League’s PURE, on the advisory boards of Environmental Voter Project, Oceanic, and Scientific American, and as a fellow at The Explorers Club. Her mission is to build community around solutions for our climate crisis. Find her @ayanaeliza.
Founding Director of TED-Ed ( TEDFellow (2009). Creator of Director of the documentary “Darius Goes West,” and former high school special education teacher.

Logan Smalley coordinates the concept, design, outreach strategy, and overall execution of TED-Ed, the education initiative of TED, a nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading” and famous for its TEDTalks. TED-Ed is an online forum that will assemble a new archive of educational videos designed to catalyze learning around the globe and repurpose the current archive of TEDTalks to make them more accessible in learning environments, both formal and informal.
David Wallace-Wells is deputy editor of New York Magazine, where he writes frequently about climate and the near future of science and technology, including his widely read and debated 2017 cover story on worst-case scenarios for global warming. His book, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, explores the meaning of climate change—not just what it will do to the planet but how it will shape our politics, our culture, and our emotional lives.