The new and so-called Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are now law for about a third of American children. They say what will be taught in each grade from first grade through high school. At least 20 states have adopted them. See https://ngss.nsta.org/About.aspx for a map.
Traditional standards still govern in the other States. These generally mandate that climate science will be taught in high school Earth Science courses. Earth Science is an optional course, not a requirement, and even then climate is a minor topic.
In stark contrast the NGSS are alarmist to the core. They mandate that climate be taught in middle school science, which everyone takes. The topic is emphasized, with alarmism a central feature. This means lots of climate modeling, even though these students have had relatively little prior science. They cannot possibly evaluate the models they are forced to use.
Implementing NGSS requires developing lesson plans that say what will be taught in each one hour class, often including how it will be taught. Writing these lesson plans for every topic, in every grade, is a huge ongoing effort.
Next Gen. has just approved a big climate science unit and it is very bad. It starts with newspaper accounts of floods and droughts, blames them on our CO2 and methane emissions, then ends with community action. And this is for 7th graders, who are typically around 13 years old and know very little hard science. This is pure alarmism presented to children as science. It is purely shameful.
The developer is OpenSciEd, where open means their products are free for schools to use. “Who pays?” is an interesting question.
The title is “OpenSciEd Unit 7.6: How Do Changes in Earth’s System Impact Our Communities and What Can We Do About It?” Get it? Changes cause impact requiring community action. The standard alarmist formula: action not science.
You can find the junk here.
They even have a neat trick in their advertising. They claim the students “figure out” all this alarmism, saying this:
“This unit on Earth’s resources and human impact begins with students observing news stories and headlines of drought and flood events across the United States. Students figure out that these drought and flood events are not normal and that both kinds of events seem to be related to rising temperatures.”
“Students figure out that the rising temperatures are caused by an imbalance in Earth’s carbon system, resulting in a variety of problems in different communities. The unit ends with students evaluating different kinds of solutions to these problems and how they are implemented in communities.”
A lot of student figuring, right? They must think a lot. Wrong! This is pure indoctrination.
Here is the list of the lessons, which makes it crystal clear that they are being told what we supposedly “know”, which is just alarmist doctrine.
“Lesson 1: Why are floods and droughts happening more often?
Lesson 2: What would we normally expect for these places and how do we know it’s really changing?
Lesson 3: How would increased temperatures affect evaporation?
Lesson 4: Are rising temperatures affecting anything else in Earth’s water system?
Lesson 5: How are rising temperatures changing water stories in these communities?
Lesson 6: How are rising temperatures connected to two seemingly different phenomena?
Lesson 7: Are there any changes in the air that could be related to rising temperatures?
Lesson 8: Are changes in carbon dioxide and methane related to or causing temperatures to increase?
Lesson 9: Are the changes in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere part of normal cycles that Earth goes through?
Lesson 10: What is happening in the world to cause the sharp rise in CO2?
Lesson 11: Why could burning fossil fuels create a problem for CO2 in the atmosphere?
Lesson 12: How are changes to Earth’s carbon system impacting Earth’s water system?
Lesson 13: Why is solving the climate change problem so challenging?
Lesson 14: What things can people do to reduce carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere?
Lesson 15: How can large-scale solutions work to reduce carbon in the atmosphere?
Lesson 16: How are these solutions working in our communities?
Lesson 17: What solutions work best for our school or community?
Lesson 18: What can we explain now, and what questions do we still have?”
I like the last one about remaining questions. The only uncertainty climate alarmism admits to is “How bad will it be?” And it is always worse than we thought.
This piece of alarmist junk even won a merit badge! The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) thought-controllers give it a “Design Badge” for excellence. They even praise it in detail. You can read that here.
Conclusion: The Next Generation Science Standards are a national disgrace. These lessons are pure alarmist hype plus activism presented as science to children.
However this activist lesson plan is not mandated. Its use is up to the states and/or school districts. Thus, the big fight lies ahead.
We must fight to keep this alarmist non-science out of the 7th grade classroom. Our children deserve real science.
David Wojick, Ph.D. (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy.