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Most Teachers Don't Teach Climate Change; 4 in 5 Parents Wish They Did (npr.org)
38 points by derchu 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments

Terrible headline. My first thought was that most teachers don’t teach math. Lo and behold, once you page through half the text, 65% of teacher don’t teach climate change because it is irrelevant to their subject.

(Definitely we should be teaching climate change—in science classes. Maybe even history classes. But in >50% of all subjects? eh...)

It would be interesting to look at the Keeling curve in mathematics. Plenty of fun stuff there, you can see the seasons with a Fourier transform, see if the second derivative means we're all gonna die, etc.

One of the weaknesses of my mathematics education was not enough real world applications, so I never cared about what I was learning. In Calc II I was so bored by Taylor series because when am I ever going to use this? Fast forward two years to meteorology classes and it's Taylor series and numerical methods everywhere.

For a proper Fourier transform you need to wait until the first years of the university, perhaps the lasts year of secondary school in some places. Anyway, it doesn't look like a nice function for a Fourier transform, because the border effect will be huge.

In the middle of secondary school, if you are lucky you can try fitting the function line a polinomial plus a trigonometric function with Excel. You have to pick an initial value of the parameters that is close to the function, otherwise solver will never get a good fit.

I'm not sure how many math teacher are prepared for this. I have more faith in physics teachers that have a better training in dealing with noisy real word functions that have to be fitted to a model.

> see if the second derivative means we're all gonna die,

I think that even the worst model don't predict the humanity extinction, perhaps a huge amount of displacement and the following wars, problem for crops and food production and the following hunger, change of rain pattern, sea level increase, and other very nasty stuff, but not extinction. Also, the timeframe of most of the catastrophes is more than a century, so there is plenty of time to dance on the Titanic.

> It would be interesting to look at the Keeling curve in mathematics. Plenty of fun stuff there, you can see the seasons with a Fourier transform....

Wait how?

I know the data is messy so not sure how well it would work, but there's an obvious seasonal component to the concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere. So much that in the first year, the experimenters were worried that their data was garbage because how could CO₂ concentration be going down in a place so far from civilization? But it turns out as a whole, it's like the Earth takes a breath every year. IIRC it's mainly related to more land mass on the Northern Hemisphere, and the terrestrial biosphere is more variable than the oceans are.

In theory, you should be able to decompose the signal into waves, and many will have a period of about one year. But I'm too lazy to actually try, er, I mean, an exercise left to the reader.

If you have 2 or more teachers, odds are very good you’re being taught about it. I had 6+ teachers as a senior in high school. No need for my band, math, English, or even history teacher to teach it. This headline is not alarming.

At my wife's elementary school, they taught climate change and what the kids could do to help (recycle, conserver water and energy, etc.). But you know what actually got the kids to start doing all those things and making their parents recycle and turn off lights?

The movie "Happy Feet". It scared the kids into thinking the planet will melt.

What we really need is more cartons about climate change. That's what will get kids concerned and their parents.

Yes but what to do about the adults who deny a problem exists and the news network that reinforces it?

Difficult one! How do you get people like Bengtsson, former director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg and winner of the 51st IMO Prize of the World Meteorological Organization for his pioneering work in numerical weather prediction, and Richard Lindzen, ex-Professor of Meteorology at MIT, Freeman Dyson plus a couple of physics Nobel prize winners and a score more, to see sense? If only they'd listen to Greta Thunberg!

> It scared the kids into thinking the planet will melt.

How is this a good thing? I don't get it.

Because despite our best efforts, emotion is a far stronger motivator for people than reason. A cartoon like this can deeply ingrained the fear of global warming into a kid in a way that will subconsciously motivate future decisions, way more than the simple facts of the situation would.

Horrific logic. Lying to put kinds into a state of doom fear is a life altering event. Exactly not what teachers are for.

Not to mention it will backfire.

Strange...I remember learning about climate change in kindergarten in the 90s...

How is that strange, dude? 42% of teachers teach it. It's almost literally a coin flip whether you get it or not. Not exactly rare odds.

Interesting to see how high the percentage of people who want to be taught more about climate change in the US (among both Republicans and Democrats too!)

Here in New Zealand there isn’t any standardised content/curriculum specifically focused on climate change as far as I know, but it is very much talked about in the classrooms of most schools.

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