Blog Articles

Global Issues Event Series Kick-off: Climate in the Classroom June 2

Sarah Jane Caban

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that we live in an era of massive change, upheaval – and innovation.

  • A warming climate that has resulted in record-breaking fires in Australia and the American West, heat waves across Europe, melting glacial ice, and ever stronger storms and hurricanes.

  • A global pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 6 million people worldwide – and the development of a revolutionary vaccine in just under a year.

  • Rapid development of new technologies – including artificial intelligence and the metaverse – bring immense possibilities, but also present serious ethical challenges.

Our students are living at the center of these complex global changes. And many of them are understandably overwhelmed.

But they’re also driven to innovate and ignite change. And that fervent spark is at the heart of Labster’s new Global Issues event series

In this series of virtual events and companion content, we’re bringing together leading experts to share their perspectives on teaching about complex, multidisciplinary issues including climate change, public health, and immersive technology.

Together, we will envision how to prepare – and inspire – the next generation of scientists, innovators, healthcare workers, and policymakers by using new technologies and innovative models of experiential education. Because, as Albert Einstein said, “The problems [we have created in the world today] will not be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."

We’re kicking off the series on June 2 with Climate in the Classroom: How experiential learning prepares students to tackle STEM challenges. Read below for more information about the event and a link to register. And look out for additional details about future events in the Global Issues Event Series.

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Climate in the Classroom: How experiential learning prepares students to tackle STEM challenges.

Register here!

June 2, 2022

3:00pm - 5:00pm EDT

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing young people around the world, with many teens expressing grave concerns and a desire to mobilize:

  • More than half of American teenagers say that climate change makes them feel scared (Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation). 

  • Forty-five percent of young people ages 16 to 25  across 10 countries said their feelings about climate change had “negatively affected their daily life and functioning” (The Lancet).

  • More than 4 million people worldwide participated in climate strikes and marches in 2019, largely inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

But whether they’re marching in the streets or not yet worried at all, how can educators help students better grasp the complex science behind climate change, which requires them to understand interdependent systems and think across large spans of time? 

And how can educators help students move beyond tricky misconceptions and partisan politics to consider the multi-stakeholder interests at stake in international negotiations on climate change?

These are just some of the questions we seek to answer in Climate in the Classroom

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In this session, we’ll be joined by leading experts in systems thinking, citizen science, sustainability education, and interactive learning design, including: 

  • Mary Ford, Sr. Director of Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots USA, who has spent her career connecting people to nature through environmental education and citizen science with organizations like National Geographic and World Wildlife Fund.

  • Linda Booth Sweeney, Founder and Co-Collaborator of Toggle Labs, a systems educator, author, and learning researcher who works with new emerging technologies and gaming to develop systems leadership and systems literacy skills in people of all ages. 

  • Gillian Martin Mehers, Founder and CEO of Bright Green Labs, an expert in interactive learning design, training and facilitation, productive multi-stakeholder dialogue, and co-creation processes who has worked with the global sustainability community for over 25 years.

  • Labster science and game designers, expert curriculum developers who work to translate complex scientific topics into compelling visualizations and virtual labs that help students grasp difficult science concepts.

This two-hour event will be broken into three sessions designed to provide participants with diverse perspectives and tangible ideas they can implement in their classrooms right away. Participants may choose to attend any one of the sessions, or all three. See below for more information on each of the three sessions.

Session 1: Experiential learning panel 

3:00pm - 4:00pm

Gillian Martin Mehers, Mary Ford, and Dr. Linda Booth Sweeney will discuss how educators can use strategies including citizen science, systems thinking games, and live simulations to expand student perspectives on climate change and sustainability.

Session 2: Learning design panel

4:00pm - 4:30pm

Members of Labster’s science and game design team will offer a behind-the-scenes discussion of how they use technology, educator feedback, and learning design to help students understand complex and urgent scientific topics affecting our world. Ask them anything you’ve ever wanted to know about learning design!

Session 3: Educator breakout groups

4:30pm - 5:00pm

Join our panelists, game designers, and fellow educators for open, small-group discussions about the methods and ideas you can use to engage your students about climate change and other important topics in the STEM curriculum.

We hope to see you on June 2 for Climate in the Classroom! If you have any questions about this event, please contact our team.

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Register here!