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Resources for educators

This page contains resources for teachers who want to use the Climate CoLab in activities with their students.

Engaging with Contests and Proposals:

Submit proposals
Encourage students to submit a proposal to one of Climate CoLab’s contests. Have students team up and think of ideas on how they can help solve climate change. Proposal ideas could replace term papers. Students could discuss their various ideas in the classroom, and collaborate on ways they could be improved.

Comment on Proposals
Educators could ask students to review and comment on Climate CoLab proposals (or student-generated proposals), suggesting ways that the authors could improve their ideas. This could involve students conducting background research on the topic at hand. Based on this research, students could identify strengths & weaknesses of the authors’ ideas and provide feedback, or, write a report on the feedback they would provide.

Use contest resources pages for lesson-plans
Contest resources pages give students and educators background material, and a general overview of key topics within the climate change issue. Educators could additionally use the reference lists at the bottom of these pages, to source additional materials that may be interesting for lesson-plans.

Request student submissions of resource materials
Students could conduct research to identify additional resources that could be included within a contest theme. Students could also make audio/visual resource guides about different contest topics.

Create a contest for the CoLab community
Students could work alongside the Climate CoLab staff to envision a contest for the community, or, submit ideas to the “suggest a contest” section of Climate CoLab.  This would involve finding an important topic area within climate change, and working on creating the contest prompt and reference materials.

Devise dedicated student contests
A dedicated student contest could be designed to enable a competition among students of a particular education level. Competing against more experienced scientists or practitioners could be challenging for younger students, so, instead, contests could be designed to facilitate competition among students within a similar peer group. Contest topics could either be student or teacher generated.

Writing a report on one of the proposals
Students could write a report on the proposal of their choosing, explaining why they selected this idea, why it is important, and how they might approach the problem, as well as any feedback they might have for the author. This could take the form of a proposal report, instead of a “book report.” Students could even offer their feedback in the “comments” section of the proposal on Climate CoLab.

Climate CoLab Entrepreneurs
A class could be divided into small teams and presented with a specific Climate CoLab contest. Teams could be asked to develop a social business idea that would tackle that specific climate change sub-problem. Students could then comment on one another’s proposals on the platform, or have a group discussion. Teams could also express their ideas on a poster or large sheets of paper, which could be displayed around the room, and could “comment” on other teams’ proposals using post-it notes.  Teams could rotate such that every team could comment on the other teams’ proposals. In a second phase, teams could work out a business plan or develop a prototype for their business idea.

Other exercises:

Science fair
Hold an electronic science fair using Climate CoLab. Have students submit proposals to a contest, and work alongside the Climate CoLab community to envision the best ideas. Students could also create presentations, and present their ideas to the class. Educators could review the proposals, and award prizes.

Model UN
Arrange a Model UN simulation where students could envision ideas for what their (assigned) respective country could do about climate change, and how it could work with other countries on global climate policy. Students could create and combine proposals on the Climate CoLab, debate them, and create a “treaty” at the end of the simulation.

Prompt a discussion about collective intelligence
Use Climate CoLab to spur a discussion on collective intelligence, and the role of groups in problem-solving. Have students gather in groups to submit proposals to the Climate CoLab, and then reflect on their experiences. How might groups working together be more effective than individuals working alone? How can group-work contribute to solving some of the world’s biggest problems? What are the strengths and weaknesses of working in groups?

Reference materials for Educators:

Climate CoLab used in MIT class
Describes a class led by Thomas W. Malone, John Sterman, Jason Jay, and Robert Laubacher of MIT on October 22, 2012, entitled "The Climate CoLab: Working with People from All Over the World to Address Climate Change."

Best Online College, Ultimate Guide to Weather and Climate Resources Online
Excellent compendium of online materials. Includes general weather and climate resources; weather and climate resources for kids, teens, educators, and college students; and climate change resources.

International Union for Conservation of Nature, A Guidebook to the Green Economy
This guidebook serves as an introduction into the green economy, offering an an overview of available literature. It is structured as an annotated compilation of relevant papers, reports, and articles that can be freely accessed on the internet.


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