NGSS, Science Literacies, and Activism: A Science, Education, and Climate Change Institute with Paul Andersen, Dr. Elizabeth Ayana-Johnson, David Wallace-Wells, TedX, and more

Monday, May 17 - Wednesday, May 19, 2021
Institute will be offered virtually through Zoom.

Grade: 3-10
Featuring: Mary Ehrenworth, Cheney Munson, Katie Clements, Paul Andersen, Dr. Elizabeth Ayana-Johnson, and David Wallace-Wells
Payment: Purchase orders for this institute can be made out to: Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, 525 W 120th Street, Box 77, New York, NY 10027

The Covid-19 crisis has shown us that all of us can attend to science. Everyday people have spent months poring over statistics, maps, and complex graphs. It takes a similar effort to understand the global climate crisis, one of the most critical arenas of scientific research and public policy, and this will be our focus—as your students become scientists, activists, and informed citizens. This institute will tackle the big challenges of teaching science, including teaching inquiry, analysis, and urgent communication skills.

One of the biggest crises facing scientists is communication—using the tools of language to convey information clearly while inspiring people to care. We’ll study the newest movements in science writing, looking at science writers whose writing has a vibrancy and immediacy that will inspire your students to write in similar ways. We’ll look at the role that explanation and argument play, but also that voice and passion play in science writing and in science presentations. We’ll share how you can embed meaningful writing inside of your science units of study, as part of the work of developing and sharing knowledge. With guests from TEDx, and award-winning science writers, we’ll make science writing and presenting something magical and enthralling.

We’ll reveal the hidden curriculum of literacy and math that science contains. You’ll learn the essential skills for reading science texts, including both critical reading practices and strategies for reading digitally. We’ll examine the embedded math that often challenges young science readers, and we’ll generate strategies for bringing math thinking into the investigative reading of science.

Most importantly, we’ll dive deep into the science of climate change. Award-winning scientists will share their research on climate policy, on climate effects on the ocean and the land, on data sets and simulations that you can use in your classroom. 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.

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 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 miseducation and 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. 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.

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 brainstorm with us, so we can learn from the best practices already in play in each of our schools. This institute is virtual so that our friends around the globe can attend, and so that we limit our carbon footprint. Our goal is that you leave inspired, empowered, 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 be offered online, in real-time via Zoom, and will not be recorded for later distribution. We will accept attendees until the institute has reached capacity.