Advancing a Framework for Climate Change Education in Singapore Through Teacher Professional Development, pp. 4 of 8

Throughout the brainstorming session, questions were also raised by the teachers to clarify or affirm what they understand about the topic. Some examples of the questions asked included:

  1. Is CO2 the only Greenhouse gas that matters? I read somewhere that the other greenhouse gases are insignificant in their contribution to global warming. Is this true?
  2. I read about the conspiracy that green-technology industry has fabricated the claim that climate change is natural. Is this true?
  3. How do I explain to my students that Ozone is not a greenhouse gas?

These questions were then explained and clarified. In order to illustrate the nature of explanations, the three questions are answered here:

  1. Although CO2 is a main contributor of GHE, its contribution is not as significant as water vapor. In addition, the other greenhouse gases, whether natural or man-made add to the GHE.  With addition of all these gases and introduction of new greenhouse gases to the earth’s atmosphere, we are dealing with an enhanced GHE. So the question really is what has caused this increase in both concentrations and types of greenhouses gases?
  2. Whether the claims made by green-technology industry are motivated by a hidden agenda or not, Earth has experienced episodic climate change through geologic history. This was ascertained long before green-technologies came into being. As early as 1350 to 1850 AD, people noticed that they were living in a “little ice age” and this was documented in a study by 1935.  Therefore climate change is a regular feature in Earth’s geologic history. A relevant question, therefore, is whether human activity has attenuated or exacerbated the rate of climate change.
  3. Ozone is a greenhouse gas. The confusion students have is between the Ozone that is found in the upper atmosphere (about 25 km from the ground – or the stratosphere) and the ozone that is found near the surface of earth (in the troposphere). Stratospheric ozone forms a protective “layer” that blocks out harmful UV radiation. Industrial activity and photo-chemical activity causes Ozone to form in the troposphere, which then acts as a greenhouse gas. It is important to distinguish these two as the confusion stems from the topic on Ozone depletion in the stratosphere.

Based on this brainstorming activity and the question and answer session, the teachers had a set of statements about what they need to teach on this topic.

The figure below shows an example of how a concept map of the ideas looks like.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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