Colten Fox

Connecting climate change to Middle School can be a real challenge. Students often ignore the impacts their choices make and see everything as happening in a far off future. During distance learning last year I attended a virtual conference hosted by the Zinn Education Project regarding their “Stories from the Climate Crisis: A Mixer” lesson. The lesson does a great job of getting students to not only understand personal impacts but to discuss them as well.

My 7th grade Washington State History class used the materials towards the end of our Humans and the Environment lesson. We had been discussing drought and agriculture in our state, as well as the impacts of pollution and human expansion, (one of the stories even discusses this directly). Students were able to understand how the things they do not see everyday can still be happening and how it does not take much to offset the balance of nature.

As a follow up activity, we looked at our own community and students worked in small groups to list everyday actions that teenagers can do to make an impact. This was followed up by a class discussion on what the best solutions are to climate change and how we can all take actionable steps to prevent it. I plan to keep using the lesson in future classes and even to incorporate it into my Creative Writing course.