Review #3 - Conference

Caryn Asherson
SED 600
Dr. Rivas
April 16, 2007
Review #4
Global Warming: Facts, Skepticism, the Media, & the Science
February 7, 2007
This conference was organized for educators interested in learning the
facts about climate change and energy issues directly from experts in the field.
The experts included Dr. Tapio Schneider, a professor of Environmental Science
and Engineering at Caltech, Dr. David Goodstein, a professor of Physics at
Caltech, and Dr. Gregory Benford, a professor of Physics at UC Irvine. Initially,
teachers were briefed on the Greenhouse Effect and how it works. The
specialists concurred that carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has been
steadily rising since the 1960s. The main focus of the conference was to help
teachers understand the changes in the atmospheric climate that have occurred
over the Earth’s history and how upcoming changes will affect us in the future.
The conference was very informative and I was able to use the information
in my classroom the following day. The presentations included simulations of
climate models which provided a visual image of conditions in the atmosphere
over time. These simulations were made available to teachers on a website so
that they could be used in the classroom immediately. Furthermore, the website
provided “after the event” resources such as the power points and video
recordings of the seminar.
Although the conference was informative, a great deal of the information
was too technical for the layman. Furthermore, since the conference was
designed for educators, it would have been beneficial if some techniques for
teaching about global warming were presented. The website provides a CO2 lab
which is great, but it would have been useful if the teachers were offered
additional ideas on how to instruct students about this topic in a way that does
not provoke fear and panic.
Global warming has become a controversial issue. Teachers aren’t
always sure what to believe or what to teach regarding the topic. For example, a
couple of months ago, there were hundreds of emails exchanged on the NSTA
listserve regarding the controversy. Things got so heated that NSTA had to
publish a statement on their website concerning their stand on the topic.
I went to this particular conference so that I could get some answers for
my students. I have read so many conflicting reports about global warming. As
a result, I do not know how to answer their questions anymore. I needed some
clear-cut, uncomplicated understanding of what most scientists believe is
happening on the subject and I believe that is what I got. I can now tell my
students that we cannot stop the climate from changing, but there are things we
can do to control how fast it changes.