Environmental science

Indiana’s newly approved science standards improve lessons on climate

The need for climate change education is clear to Hoosiers. Indeed, 72% — almost three quarters — of them agree that schools should teach our children about the causes, consequences and potential solutions to global warming, according to the latest estimate from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. So the new state science standards, approved by the state board of education in June, ought to be greeted with enthusiasm.

Climate change was not adequately addressed in the old standards, which received the grade of D in a 2020 study of the treatment of climate change in state science standards conducted by the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. A reviewer commented that the standards failed to “meet the needs of Indiana students in the process of learning their foundational understanding of the world they are inheriting.”

That can’t be said of the new standards, which will expect middle school students to “ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century” and high school students to “analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.”

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