Santiago Giralt gave the talk “The study of climate and climate change” on November 26. The talk, which was held online, was atended by 35 participants. This activity is part of the Open STEAM teaching innovation workshops that help teachers to update their knowledge so that they can introduce the scientific method to primary and secondary school classrooms. With a hands-on approach, these activities help teachers to learn scientific experiments that are suitable for pupils of all ages. The Open STEAM teaching innovation workshops are organized by the catalan Foundation for Research and Innovation (FCRi).
Giralt split his talk into two parts. During the first hour and a half, the GEO3BCN researcher reviewed some of the key concepts used to talk about climate change and that sometimes are misleading such as global change, global warming, climate change, meteorology, or climatology.
In the second part of the workshop, Giralt proposed to the participants a series of hands-on activities to be developed in the classroom, both primary and secondary. Furthermore, Giralt recommended several educational guides about climate change like the UNICEF guide "Our planet, our rights" or a collection of fact sheets edited by the Centre d’Educació Ambiental de la Comunitat Valenciana for secondary school students.
The spreadsheet to calculate the carbón footprint of each school published by Oficina Catalana del Canvi Climátic was one of the most valued of the educational resources shown by Giralt. “It's a clear way of boosting the recycling and power and water-saving because it is a straightforward way of showing the impact that these actions have on the greenhouse gases emissions reduction ", said Giralt.
According to Giralt, the lack of a global visión and easy access to a large amount of poorly organized information are two of the main obstacles the teachers have to deal with to explain such a complex issue as the global change to their students. “teachers doesn’t have an overview of the different elements of the global change, which includes the climate change. Then, often it is possible to observe that when, for example, you explain that local commerce or recycling are two effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas emission and that they are something more than a pair of craz ideas, then everything makes sense. It is obvious that the information is available but the lack of organization and systematization hinder teachers to have the big picture”.
To overcome these challenges, collaboration and close and strong bonds between researchers and teachers are essential. According to Giralt, “outreach efforts at all levels are essential since, although there is a large amount of available information, it is very difficult to find it organized and digested to be presented at schools. And it is here where we, the scientists, play an essential role”, said Giralt.