Global warming or climate change as it is now more commonly referred to is a hot topic among educators and nowhere was that more evident as this week’s National Middle School Association convention in Denver.

In addition to the exhibitors like the Earth Fooundation or Insect Love preaching about how to save the environment there were educational sessions directed at the educators in attendance.

One such session was titled; Climate Change: Global Connections and Sustainable Solutions.  The description of the session is as follows;

Teaching climate change has its challenges: there are numerous, sometimes conflicting findings:effects attributed to it are vast and varied. Involve your students with the issues using this standards-based, two-week, climate change unit. Exeprience hands-on lessons that demonstrate the interconnections between natural cycles and systems and human choices and actions. This interactive session provides engaging lessons about climate change perspectives, consumption choices, carbon footprint, emissions trading, and international energy policies.

Presented by Dave Wilton of Facing The Future we spent 75 minutes going through parts of the lesson plan that they want teachers to use.

Wilton had several group exercises that are built into the curriculum.  The first one he used was that he distributed several cards with words such as petroleum, automobile, power plant, coal etc…  written on them and each person with a card had to figure out how they relate to each other using a ball of yarn to tie them together.  After it was over I almost thought the partcipants were going to hold hands and sing kumbaya.

Another exercise was to form groups of seven and answer questions from the lesson about different sources of energy and the pros and cons of each and then discuss them with the entire audience.  One participant remarked that she didn’t realize that the manufacturing of solar panels resulted in a high contribution to greenhouse gases and another remarked that she teaches in an area where coal is the major employer so she couldn’t tell the children that their fathers work for the devil.

The last exercise was called Choices and Impacts.  Everyone in the audience was given a card with a dollar amount raging from $200 to $5000 and using a sheet called Global Mall Items had to purchase food, heat/fuel, transportation, home, and a luxury item.  The idea od this excercise was to show not only how difficult it would be to get by on just $200 but how hard it would be to spend $5000.  Of course the $200 group was the largest as  they were  supposed to be representative of the number of people in the world living in poverty.

What was missing from the lessons and exercises was balance. There was no mention of contrary viewpoints on global warming and sustainability of which there are plenty.  Instead the lessons rely on a left-wing view of global warming  which unfortunately the educators in the audience embrace wholeheartedly.

Funding for the curriculum comes from the Hewlett-Packard Foundation which is has taken a decidedly far left turn since the death of its founders.