A Controversial Climate

InconvenientVitally important scientific topics and politics are no strangers to each other. While debates over the teaching of evolution in schools have grabbed headlines in recent years, the issue of climate change is not immune to controversy.

Recently, progressive activist, and co-producer of the global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie David attemped to donate 50,000 copies of the film to schools through the National Science Teachers Association. NSTA declined, citing concerns about politics and involvement with “issue groups”, among other reasons. (David penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post, detailing the experience and offering her opinions on the issue).

David notes that An Inconvenient Truth is required viewing for students in Norway and Sweden.

How are you approaching the topic in your classrooms, and would you consider adding the film to your curriculum? Have you successfully integrated science and social studies using the topic of global warming? What are the biggest things to look out for when approaching the issue in schools?

Submitted by David Snyder, a reference librarian at ASCD.

Look for this month’s Educational Leadership magazine on the theme, “Science in the Spotlight,” for more on the current state of science education.

UPDATE: Via Education Week, NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler disputes Laurie David’s suggestions, saying

[NSTA’s] policies prohibit it from endorsing any product and thus passing out a DVD. The NSTA statement also points out that Ms. David didn’t mention the association’s efforts to find other ways to distribute the movie. In addition, Mr. Wheeler takes exception with the characterization that the NSTA is spreading corporate messages for Exxon and other companies like Shell Oil, which provide funding for conferences and other NSTA activities. (Education Week)