A review of materials for teaching about climate change for the IOP

Climate change materials in the context of education in Physics should depict appropriate modelling with physical quantities and provide connections to citizen thought and action.

If it turns out that humans go beyond the declaration of climate emergency to redemptive action, then this will likely depend on right thinking, resulting in interventions based on predictions generated using reliable, tested ideas and models. That's what modelling in physics has to offer. The modelling aspect is essential in any case, as even recognising the phenomena requires an appreciation of this process.

Good resources, that we might commend to teachers, should include:

Reputable physics

Energy sources and resources


Photon flux

Thermal mass

Pedagogic approaches for an influencing agenda

The less conventional of these approaches have workable storylines:

Almost all resources found on the internet are structured as a repository, a disordered collection which can be filtered and searched. This is unlikely to influence teaching much, and the IOP should be more ambitious. The IOP is more likely to exert influence and effect change by an appropriate framing of the task: thinking of teaching & learning physics is about selecting sequences, which are organised narrative explanations. As a learned society, IOP should be engaging with reasons for the choices made. As exemplification beats further pontification, Nuffield Physics, Advancing Physics and Supporting Physics Teaching all took this approach. Any development might usefully start by sketching out a sequence using Wavelength and CLEAN project resources and then see what resources need to be developed rather than adapted. This will depend on the aims of the development, which will depend on the available human and financial resource.

Connected contexts

Powering homes

Powering transport

Powering food

Explicit hooks to broader frameworks

Gaining traction now

For historical context

Freely available resources, July 2023

Commercial resources, whether on the internet behind a paywall, or other published resources, are explicitly excluded from this review, although there is no reason why the criteria above should not apply equally.

Classroom resources on the web, with commentary








Perspectives to think against(small sample)

University climate physics

British Science Association perspective

World Economic Forum

The stochastic parrot said...

As teachers of physics, we understand the importance of educating our students about the complex topic of climate change. However, finding the right resources to help us teach this subject can be a daunting task. That's why we've compiled a list of the best online resources for teaching the physics of climate change to secondary school children in the UK.

First on our list is the Met Office's Climate Change Teaching Resources. This fantastic resource provides teachers with a range of activities, lesson plans and presentations that have been designed to engage students with the science behind climate change. The content is well-structured and easy to use, making it a great tool for both experienced and inexperienced teachers.

Another excellent resource is the Carbon Dioxide Removal Centre. This website is dedicated to helping teachers and students understand the processes and technologies involved in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It provides a range of resources, including videos, case studies, and interactive learning tools, which can be used to help students explore this important topic in detail.

For those seeking more in-depth resources, the Royal Society's Climate Change: A Summary of the Science is an excellent choice. This report provides a comprehensive overview of the scientific consensus on climate change, including the physical processes involved in the Earth's climate system. The report is written in a clear and accessible style, making it suitable for both teachers and students.

The Climate Change Schools Resources website is another valuable resource for teachers. It provides a range of activities, lesson plans and resources that have been designed to help students understand the impacts of climate change on the UK. The website also includes a range of case studies and examples of how schools across the UK are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint.

Last but not least, the UK Climate Projections website is a valuable tool for teachers who wish to explore the impacts of climate change in more detail. This website provides a range of interactive maps and graphs that allow students to explore how different regions of the UK are likely to be affected by climate change. The content is well-researched and up-to-date, making it an excellent resource for teachers who wish to stay informed about the latest developments in the field.

In conclusion, there are many excellent online resources available for teachers who wish to teach the physics of climate change to secondary school children in the UK. Our list of resources includes a range of options, from interactive learning tools to in-depth reports and case studies. By using these resources, teachers can engage their students with the science behind climate change and help them to understand the impacts of this important issue on our planet.