Climate and the Classroom: Unlocking the Potential of K-12 Education for Climate Action

Thursday, April 13, 2023 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm

Virtual Event

Surveys show that teachers, students and the American public at large all agree that climate change should be taught in schools. Yet only a minority of teachers include climate change in their coursework, and those who do are often unsupported by the curricula, standards and policies that guide their instruction.

In this event, specialists in K-12 climate education will discuss the benefits of climate education in a variety of courses at the high school level and earlier, and the challenges teachers face in finding or creating appropriate climate coursework and bringing it to their classrooms. They will introduce resources for teaching climate, best practices from schools and educational institutions around the U.S., and new ideas to support teachers at every level, and take audience questions.

This event is part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet lecture series produced by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative.


Margaret Wang, Chief Operating Officer, Subject To Climate. Subject To Climate is on a mission to make climate change teaching and learning accessible to all, by connecting educators to resources and collaborating with local stakeholders to meet their climate education needs. Prior to joining Subject To Climate, Wang studied and worked at Harvard Graduate School of Education, conducting research in education policy as well as sustainability education, and has been an economics and social studies teacher and a product manager in an edtech company.

Dr. Lauren Madden, The College of New Jersey. Dr. Madden is a professor of Elementary Science Education at The College of New Jersey, where she coordinates the Environmental Sustainability Education minor and graduate certificate programs. She is also the state's leader in elementary climate change education. Dr. Madden has authored more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters, and the Report on K-12 Climate Change Education Needs in New Jersey. Since the launch of the 2020 Climate Change Standards in New Jersey, her expertise has been noted in media sources including the Star Ledger, The Washington Post, and The Guardian.

Alice Fan, Schools Coordinator, Spring Forward. Spring Forward is a high school student-led organization whose goal is to ensure all students understand the basic science, history, and far-reaching consequences of climate change, and give them the tools and resources to make the right choices in their daily life. Fan, a Spring Forward co-founder, is a senior at Phillips Academy Andover in Andover, Massachusetts, and has been a student climate advocate in a variety of organizations and campaigns.

Sylvia Scharf, Climate Education Specialist, MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (moderator). Scharf's work focuses on teacher use of the Environmental Solutions Initiatives’s public-facing climate change materials, especially the podcast TILclimate (Today I Learned: Climate) and the MIT Climate Portal. Before joining ESI, Sylvia was at New England Aquarium, where she honed her climate change communication skills with teachers, teens, staff, and the general public.

Event Type


Events By Interest

Academic, Climate & Sustainability


education, Sustainability, climate change, teaching, climate, k-12


Environmental Solutions Initiative
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