The E-forum is divided into two parts: a student-driven investigation of extreme weather and resilience and a blogging activity based on persuasive point-of-view (POV) papers. General guidance, tools, and tips for each part are provided below, but the allocation of class time is just a suggestion. You may find your students need less time for independent research and more time for developing the POV papers, or vice versa.
The materials on this website are available throughout the year for classroom instruction. If you would like to have your class(es) participate in the Adapting to Extreme Weather blog activity, please register with Pennsylvania Sea Grant for the E-forum.
Guiding the In-depth Investigations:
The Extreme Weather E-forum website provides a variety of resources on climate, extreme weather, and resilience including videos, scientific reports, apps, a classroom experiment to simulate the greenhouse gas effect, and some online activities, such as a CO2 calculator, future extreme heat and precipitation calculators, and interactive maps. Using these resources as the basis for their independent research, your students will explore the connection between climate and extreme weather events, learn about the future impacts of extreme weather on Pennsylvania, and gain a better understanding of what it means to become resilient. It may be helpful to introduce the entire class to several of the resources in the Climate Primer, Extreme Weather Primer, and Resilience pages, then allow your students to select the type of extreme weather event they would like to research in-depth. Their research will form the basis for their stakeholder point-of-view papers.
Time Investment: 2-3 class periods, plus time outside classroom for independent research
What you need to know about Point-of-View Papers:
The Press Release from the Mayor of Stormlandia provides the debate topic for the blogging activity. To participate in the blogging activity, students will need to write persuasive point-of-view (POV) papers about one of the resilience proposals described in the press release. Papers will be posted on the Adapting to Extreme Weather Blog, giving students an opportunity to debate the pros and cons of climate resilience actions with their peers.
For the POV activity: Read through the Press Release from the City Department of Planning with your entire class, then divide your class into small groups of 3 or 4 students for the writing exercise. Students can either pick the proposal they want to focus on, or you can choose one for them. The POV paper should be written from the perspective of a stakeholder, i.e. for the Green It Up proposal, they could represent a landscaping company that installs rain gardens, or a neighborhood association that wants to green up their space, or an employee from an environmental agency, or a public official. It might be helpful to brainstorm with students about which types of stakeholder groups might be in favor of the proposals, and which types might be opposed. The dialog will be more interesting if there are pro- and con- groups within each of the four proposal areas.
The point-of-view papers should be one page (250-500 words) in length. In the introduction, the name of the stakeholder group and which proposal they are in support of or against should be clearly stated. Students should include facts and references from their independent research to justify their points-of-view, as well as information from the background readings and resources. Additional guidance on POV papers can be found on the following web pages:
Time investment: 2-3 class periods for brainstorming, writing, and revisions
Using the Blog:
Once the point-of-view papers are completed, they will be posted for review and discussion on the wordpress blog: Adapting to Extreme Weather. Classes participating in the E-forum will have a 2 week period to read and comment on the point-of-view papers. Step-by-step instructions for posting and commenting on the blog can be found in the Student Essentials section of the E-forum. Pennsylvania Sea Grant will provide each teacher with a classroom wordpress account. To keep the debate lively, teachers participating in past E-forums have required that each student post 1-2 comments on other papers and help respond to comments on their group’s POV. Staff from Pennsylvania Sea Grant will moderate student comments and questions.
Time investment: 1-2 class periods for comments and responses, plus time outside classroom
What is the Timeline for the E-forum? (Tentative)
Register for the E-forum by February 3, 2017
E-forum Kickoff, Classroom Instruction, and Independent Research: March 15-24
Brainstorm, Write, and Revise POV papers in Small Groups: March 27-31
Post POV papers on Adapting to Extreme Weather blog: April 3-7
Peer-to-peer blogging on POV papers: April 10-24
Final poll, participant feedback, and program evaluation: April 26-28
Optional Extension Activity:
If you would like to have your students complete a final project to reflect on what they’ve learned about adapting to extreme events and improving community resilience, ask them to create a short youtube video that pitches an idea for improving resilience in their hometowns. Videos submitted to Pennsylvania Sea Grant will be shared with classes participating in the E-forum.
Classroom Resources: Articles, Editorials, Videos, and Data