This resource has been compiled by staff at The Australia Institute in conjunction with high school teachers and university academics who work in the field of climate change. Funding for this project was generously provided by Australian Ethical Investment Ltd.
The modules will be best suited to teachers in the humanities, namely in the studies of society and environment, geography and economics. Modules 1, 2 and 9, which cover the science and impacts of climate change and nuclear energy, will also provide useful background for science teachers.
Appropriate for students in years 9 and 10, each module is designed for a discrete class of around 50 minutes, or possibly longer if the student activities are undertaken in detail. Module 6, which looks at the economics of climate change, is specifically targeted at students studying economics in year 11.
The series aims to provide teachers and students with accurate information about climate change, rather than providing detailed classroom activities. Nevertheless, each module concludes with suggested questions and exercises for students. As will be clear, the activities are not exhaustive and we encourage teachers to expand on the activities suggested as they see fit.
Module 1: The science of climate change
In this module students will learn about the earth’s climate system and the greenhouse effect. Students will use critical thinking skills to evaluate information and to draw conclusions about the causes of climate change.
Module 2: The impacts of climate change
In this module students will learn to assess the impacts of human-induced climate change on the natural environment. They will also learn about the relationship between human activities and complex ecosystems.
Module 3: Australia’s emissions
In this module students will learn about Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and how Australia compares to other countries. They will also learn to identify relevant data sources for a problem or question that can be tested and researched, and to justify why particular types of data or information are to be collected.
Module 4: International negotiations
In this module students will learn to recognise the role of science in providing information about issues being considered in the world today. In doing so they will learn about the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
Module 5: The ethics of climate change
In this module students will learn about our responsibility to conserve, protect and maintain the environment for the future. They will consider some of the key ethical questions, including who is responsible for the damage caused by climate change, and who will suffer most from the effects of climate change.
Module 6: The economics of climate change
In this module students will learn about the operation of markets, types of market failure and the means available for governments to intervene in markets, all in reference to the problem of global warming.
Module 7: Forms of energy generation
In this module students will learn about energy as a resource and the different forms of energy generation. They will also learn to identify the properties that distinguish renewable energy sources from non-renewable energy sources.
Module 8: Solutions to reduce Australia’s emissions
In this module students will learn about the possible solutions to address the problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. They will also learn to evaluate the appropriateness of different polices.
Module 9: Nuclear energy
In this module, through the example of nuclear energy students will lean about the implications of science for society and the environment. Students will also learn about the benefits and problems of nuclear energy.