dren and adults decide whether to pursue (and for how long) any particular topic that interests them.

No curriculum currently exists to inspire teachers and students to explore the relationship between past climate change, human evolution, and the long-term influence of environment on species survival, adaptation, and mitigation strategies. The following recommendations represent components of a broad effort to redress this deficiency:

  • Develop opportunities that bring educators and scientists together, and that build new partnerships among research institutions, museums, science centers, and national scientific and education organizations, in order to further the development of national and state science standards. There is a critical need to substantially improve the set of tools teachers and students have that promote science education and to create real opportunities for overcoming roadblocks to learning about evolution (NRC, 1998, 2008). The interplay between climate and human evolution can form a new, prominent cornerstone in efforts to prepare educators to teach, and students to learn, the basic concepts of evolution and the nature of science. Conferences and workshops would offer an initial step toward stimulating an open dialogue with K-12 educators and scientists. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, for example, plans to convene a national conference of educators and scientists to discuss and define the issues that promote students’ and the general public’s understanding of science, focused especially on the processes of climate change and evolution. Such events would aim to create productive partnerships with education and scientific organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT), the American Institute for Biological Sciences (AIBS), the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

  • Establish a National/International Educator Institute as a long-term effort that employs climate–evolution research to enhance professional educator development. This idea, initiated as part of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Initiative, is to offer a multiday institute for educators focused on human evolution and environmental change research and on strategies for improving the comprehension of science. The audience for this institute will include school-based educators, staff from informal science education institutions (e.g., museums, science centers), and outreach staff affiliated with science research organizations. The aim is for this institute to be a “trainer of trainers” model in which participants make a commitment to return to their institutions and communities to offer training, programs, and resources to their colleagues, local schools, and audiences.

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