Planet, People, Policy: Communicating and Teaching about Global Climate Change

PPP2Texas educators have an opportunity to deepen their content knowledge and expand teaching resources to effectively bring climate change – one of the most relevant, controversial, and misunderstood scientific and societal topics of our time – into their classrooms. In this workshop, secondary teachers will engage in data- and inquiry-rich activities using an Earth system approach and look at climate change impacts globally to locally. Workshop content will be aligned to Texas TEK standards and the needs of individual teachers. After covering activities that address the basic science of climate change, participants will turn to consequences attributed to our changing climate; effective interdisciplinary communication/education methods; and policies proposed locally, nationally, and internationally to reverse impacts and vulnerabilities to people and the planet. Join the discussion, strengthen your teaching effectiveness, and expand your understanding of this complex issue.

PPP3I. Planet: The workshop will start with student activities that convey and reinforce the scientific bases of climate change, climate change impacts, and future projections. We’ll answer the question: With over 30 years of projections behind us, how accurate have scientific projections thus far been? We’ll also look closely at Houston and climate game with NCAR’s GIS initiative.

  • Physical Science Basics of Climate Change and its Past, Present, and Future.
  • Impacts: Climate and Weather – The Two Go Together.

PPP1II. People: In the second section of the workshop, we’ll look at the social science that seeks to explain the difficulties society often faces in turning the tide in our ongoing magnification of the climate change problem. We'll also review the theories that seek to explain our difficulty in obtaining consensus and enacting solutions.

  • Social Equity, Human Health, and Economics.
  • Communication Paradigms: Culture/Values; Incentivizing Change; Affective Psychology.

III. Policy and Connections: The workshop will finish with a look at proposed policy solutions and the realization that many social and political problems are profoundly connected within the earth system we inhabit.

  • Local, National, and International Action.
  • Systems Thinking: It’s All Connected.

Participants will have free access to all workshop resources through the workshop website. As time allows, other exceptional resources will be noted.


Teresa Eastburn

Manager, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Teresa Eastburn is an educational designer and manager of educational digital learning at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the national laboratory that it mangers, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder Colorado. The organization is a consortium of over 100 North American universities with research in the atmospheric and related-sciences. For over a decade, Eastburn managed UCAR’s School and Public Programs. In this role, she led UCAR’s field trip and tour program, and honed her skills in communicating climate change to the over 15,000 people attending tours and programs annually – often to learn about and discuss climate change. For the past 10 years she has lead workshops on the issue for Texas educators at the Environmental Health Sciences Summer Institute. She has lead, organized, and been part of numerous other efforts on climate change at NCAR and for NOAA as a regional lead for NOAA’s Climate Stewards program, including annual workshops on climate change for educators from across the nation. Eastburn’s undergraduate degree is in developmental and cognitive psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). She holds a masters in human development, educational leadership, and adult education from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California as well as a teaching credential and certificates in multimedia design. Her masters thesis was on communicating climate change. She is married with three grown children.