The COAL + ICE documentary photography and video exhibition is a unique and accessible multi-disciplinary opportunity for kids to visualize the impacts of climate change and be inspired to take action. Perfect for students of art, photography, science, history, math, engineering, social studies, or language arts, this exhibition is appropriate for both primary and secondary students. In addition to guided tours of the exhibition, depending on the day’s events, students will have the opportunity to engage with photographers, listen to their peers recite climate change-inspired poetry, or discuss climate solutions with youth activists. Participating teachers will be provided with resources to engage their students with the exhibition and empower them to continue the conversation and take action.
Introduction to the Exhibition
This introductory essay to COAL + ICE by Orville Schell is a climate change call to action. It sets the stage for the entire exhibition by discussing the increasing vulnerability of pristine Himalayan glaciers and the catastrophic effects of coal use across ecosystems. The essay goes farther by pointing out the irony of human inaction despite vast quantities of information at our fingertips.
Analyzing the Photography
See, Think, Wonder: Facing History and Ourselves’ simple critical-viewing strategy is applicable to all grade levels and is easily adaptable for a variety of media types.
COAL + ICE Exhibition Photographers: This resource can help students and teachers become more familiar with exhibition photographers from all over the world.
“Melting Away” Photo Essay (Camille Seaman) and “Witnessing Icebergs” Lesson Plan: Global Oneness Project pairs nature photographer Camille Seaman’s documentation of icebergs all over the world with a lesson plan designed to ask students to delve deeper into the mind of a photographer and explore the connection between climate change, bearing witness, and social responsibility.
Climate Change in General
Our Climate Our Future is an award-winning video library designed to engage students in climate change science and action. The full Our Climate Our Future video is 40-minutes long, narrated by teens, and includes clever and entertaining animation covering climate change science basics and how we can take action. It is also available to be viewed in shorter chapters. “Impact Videos” document youth climate stories from around the country and invite young people to submit their own climate stories. “Mapping Air Pollution in Oakland” invites students to create their own NO2 heat maps. Our Climate Our Future is a project of the Alliance for Climate Action.
NASA’s Climate Kids website engages students of all ages with articles, activities, videos, and games organized by topic: Big Questions, Weather and Climate, Atmosphere, Water, Energy, and Plants & Animals. Students can play 14 different games, including the Climate Time Machine game, which uses NASA data to allow students to look into past and the possible future sea ice, sea level, carbon emissions, and average global temperature.
National Geographic’s Environment webpage has highly accessible climate change resources for students and educators. The 101 video series by Bill Nye includes “Climate Change 101,” a 4-minute video that introduces students to climate change science and invites students to think about lifestyle changes. For elementary school students, National Geographic Kids has interactive articles that introduces students to climate change, including “5 Animals Battling Climate Change.”
The Show About Science, hosted by 6-year-old podcaster Nate Butkus, tackles a number of science topics, including climate change (Show #24: “Climate Change, Evolution and Bacon”), with humor and curiosity (and plenty of cuteness). Nate will be speaking at COAL + ICE on the afternoon of September 15.
Science Journal for Kids is a one-stop shop for hundreds of peer-reviewed science research journals articles adapted for secondary students, including articles on carbon emissions, the carbon cycle, our environmental footprint, extreme weather, climate warming in the Himalayas, and alternative energy. Each student-adapted article includes introductory videos, key terms, scientific methods, and comprehension questions.
Climate Change and Water/Ice
Article: “The Big Thaw”: National Geographic’s Daniel Glick dives into the far-reaching effects of climate change on Earth’s glaciers on coastal communities from the Gulf Coast and Barrow, Alaska, to the world’s megacities.
Chasing Ice (2012): This Emmy-award winning film is the story of National Geographic photographer James Balog’s mission to the Arctic to photograph earth’s changing climate through time-lapse photography. “Getting the Picture: Our Changing Climate,” also created by James Balog, is a free, online, multi-media education tool that also includes a comprehensive list of climate change education resources geared towards secondary students.
The H2you Project is a geographic literacy project created by environmental educator Laura Schetter that connects people all over the world to water and to each other through water stories. Elementary through high school students can read each other’s water stories from all over the world and add their own to the H2you interactive map. The educator resource tab includes discussion questions, field trip ideas, and standards connections.
Climate Change and Weather
NOAA’s SciJinks website, geared towards upper elementary through high school students, focuses on weather, atmosphere, storms, and oceans. It has many climate change and weather resources, including articles, games, videos, and activities. Students can explore wild weather and science while racing around the world in a research blimp in “The Wild Weather Adventure” game, or they can use NOAA satellite data to help predict where hurricanes will make landfall in “Hurricane Hero.”
The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program is an international education program and network of educators dedicated to engaging students in scientific data collection and analysis in order to improve the environment both locally and globally. GLOBE’s measurement campaigns involve students in ground validation of NASA satellite data for soil moisture, ground precipitation, cloud cover, and aerosols in the atmosphere. GLOBE provides teacher resources, training, and access to a network of schools participating in citizen science the world over.
Climate Change and Food
Understanding Food and Climate Change: An Interactive Guide: Created by the Center for Ecoliteracy, this interactive guide includes videos and student activities designed to help students understand how climate change affects our food system and how our food system affects climate change. The final section, “Promising Strategies for Addressing Climate Change,” engages students with solutions, including water management, reducing food waste, agroecology, soil strategies, and biodiversity. Designed for middle and high school students, it is aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core ELA Standards, and a variety of social studies themes.
Understanding Food and Climate Change: A Systems Perspective: This Center for Ecoliteracy curriculum explores a variety of topics linking climate change and food through a systems perspective. Topics include the greenhouse effect, our relationship to carbon, the importance of healthy soil, and agroecology as an alternative to industrial agriculture. It asks students and teachers to consider important questions: Is meat and dairy a major problem or part of the solution? What is the future of my favorite foods? What can we do? This digital resource is free and available for download.
Edible Schoolyard Project: Based in Berkeley, California, the Edible Schoolyard Project has been gardening and cooking with kids for over 20 years with the core belief that edible education can transform the school experience for all students. With a focus on social justice, environmental justice, and inclusion, they provide trainings and resources for schools and have cultivated a thriving global school network of over 5,000 education programs worldwide. Edible Education 101 is a college-level course open to the public that explores the production, distribution, and sustainability of food systems to create a more just and sustainable food system. Edible Schoolyard also provides free curriculum on everything from soil cultivation to spring rolls.
Coal and the Carbon Cycle
Carbon Cycle: Take a bite of dinner, a breath, or a drive in a car — you are part of the carbon cycle: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) created this education resource for middle and high school students and it includes links to multimedia resources, a carbon data analysis activity, a carbon cycle simulation game, and a climate and carbon cycle online unit.
“Is Carbon the Enemy?” by Courtney White: This article is part of the Center for Ecoliteracy’s Understanding Food and Climate Change: A Systems Perspective and invites students to explore the complexity of how carbon can be viewed as “heroic” or “villainous” depending on how we use it.
Coal and the Human Experience
The Mine Wars: The Coal Town System, film and lesson plan by PBS/American Experience, is available online and is accompanied by teaching tips. The film takes students to West Virginia in the early 1900s to explore what coal towns were like and how families were impacted by working conditions, including how company-owned coal towns limited the freedoms of mining families.
Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Houghton Mifflin, 1996), written for Grades 5-7, takes students to northeastern Pennsylvania to explore the lives of the men, women, and children who immigrated there to work the coal mines a hundred years ago. Bartoletti weaves together a picture of their lives through stories, photographs, interviews, and a wide variety of historical resources.
Coal: A Human History by Barbara Freese (Basic Books, 2003, updated 2016): Written by environmental attorney Barbara Freese, this book takes a captivating look at the ways coal has influenced human society across the globe throughout history while drawing attention to coal’s tremendous cost for our future.
San Francisco Bay Area Climate Change Action Networks for Students and Teachers
350 Bay Area is a grassroots organization dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions. It has affiliate organizations in the East Bay, Marin, Sonoma, and San Francisco. Its youth campaign, Youth vs. Apocalypse, meets regularly and is currently taking action against a proposed export coal terminal in Oakland.
Alliance for Climate Action is all about taking action. They have engaged over 2 million young people through their climate action programs and have active teacher and student networks. ACE helps students lead campaigns through action teams and Do One Thing projects.
Teaching for Sustainable Communities at Sonoma State University is a professional learning community of North Bay and Sonoma County educators focused on sustainability and social justice.
One Planet Living Schools utilize Bioregional’s One Planet Living Framework and their ten principles of sustainability in school and curriculum design and pedagogy. Credo High School in Sonoma County recently became the first certified One Planet Living School, and San Mateo County Office of Education hosts the Schools for Sustainable Future Conference each Spring.
San Francisco Green Film Festival: In conjunction with Coal+Ice and the Global Climate Action Summit, the Green Film Festival will offer free tickets to youth for their films screenings between September 6-13, also taking place at Fort Mason. Green Film Festival also offers an annual youth film makers competition.