for addressing climate change. Roundtable chair James Mahoney noted that the importance of the roundtable lies in its broad focus on climate change education, including formal education from kindergarten through college, public understanding, and the means to develop in decision makers, from local, state, and federal government officials to business owners, the capacity to address climate change issues.
The roundtable, which is overseen by the Board on Science Education, the Board on Environmental Change and Society, and the Division on Earth and Life Studies, was charged to hold two workshops to survey the landscape of climate change education. The first explored the goals for climate change education for various target audiences (National Research Council, 2011b). The second workshop, which is the focus of this summary, was held on August 31 and September 1, 2011, and focused on the teaching and learning of climate change and climate science in formal education settings, from kindergarten through the first two years of college (K-14). This workshop, based on an already articulated need to teach climate change education, provided a forum for discussion of the evidence from research and practice regarding:
• how climate change is currently taught in school;
• how best to teach climate change in K-14 settings;
• what factors impede the teaching of climate change in schools; and
• innovations in K-14 climate change education.
The goal of the workshop was to raise and explore complex questions around climate change education, and to address the current status of climate change education in grades K-14 of the formal education system by facilitating discussion between expert researchers and practitioners in complementary fields, such as education policy, teacher professional development, learning and cognitive science, K-12 and higher education administration, instructional design, curriculum development, and climate science. In an effort to provide a common frame for the workshop participants, the steering committee based the initial assumptions about climate change on the recent National Research Council (2010) report Advancing the Science of Climate Change that climate change is already occurring, is based largely on human activities, and is supported by multiple lines of scientific evidence. Beyond this initial assumption, the workshop did not discuss, nor intend to explore, the science of climate change or related climate issues, but rather confined the discussions to informing the issues around teaching climate change in formal school settings, K-14.
To explore these topics, the steering committee structured the workshop to provide ample opportunity for discussion among expert researchers and practitioners across the K-14 formal education system. This report