Stanford University

Climate Change Education

A large body of scientific information indicates that global climate change is unequivocal, almost certainly is caused mostly by human activities, is already causing significant harm, and as it continues, holds great risks for our future. Addressing the risks of climate change requires global and local action to reduce greenhouse gases as well as to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change impacts.


Global climate change and its impacts on people and resources pose serious societal challenges. The actions we take today will influence the path of future greenhouse gas emissions and the magnitude of warming. They will also affect our ability to respond and adapt to changes and to reduce the vulnerability of people and places to possible harm. Educating future generations about the causes and effects of global climate change is imperative because implementing solutions depends on an informed public.

This project is an exemplary case of documenting in detail the full circle of curriculum development, teacher professional development, classroom implementation, data collection and analysis, and curriculum revision before further implementation. At each stage, there has been an ongoing evaluation to both inform the project and to provide a better understanding of the unique demands and requirements of climate change education.

Based on our findings, we provide curricular units for middle and high school classrooms. 


About the Climate Change Education Project

This collaborative project began in the fall of 2009 to support the teaching of scientifically accurate climate change curriculum in middle and high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Climate scientists and education specialists collaborated to develop a curriculum for middle and high school science classrooms. It addresses the fundamental issues of climate science, the impacts of climate change on society and on global resources, mitigation, and adaptation strategies. The project documents in detail the full circle of curriculum development, teacher professional development, classroom implementation, analysis of student achievement data, and curriculum revision. Ongoing evaluation has provided an understanding of the unique conditions and requirements of climate change education.

We invite you to use the curriculum and the results of our research.  We have also provided other resources and links that we found helpful in understanding and teaching about climate change.  

This project was a joint effort between the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and the Stanford Teacher Education Program. 

This project was developed through funding from NASA's Innovations in Climate Education.

Program Staff and Faculty

  • PI: Pamela Maston, Dean, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
  • Co-PI: Rachel Lotan, Director of Stanford Teacher Education Program
  • Director: Jennifer Saltzman, Director of Outreach Education, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
  • Project Evaluator: Nicole Holthuis, Program Evaluator and Leader Researcher
  • Climate Scientists
  • Research Assistants
    • Laura Bofferding, now Ass't Professor at Purdue University
    • Salina Gray, Graduate Student in Science Education
    • Polly Diffenbaugh, Clinical Associate, Stanford Teacher Education Program
    • Matt Kloser, now Ass't Professor at Notre Dame University
    • Angela Knotts, Research Assistant
    • Shayna Sullivan, Graduate Student in Education
    • Andrew Wild, Graduate Student in Education


See our Curriculum for Middle and High School Teachers

Navigate to item


Advancing climate change education, classroom implementation, and why we teach about climate change.

Navigate to item
maillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock