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The concepts that underlie the fourth essential principle of climate literacy ("Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.") are too complex for students in early and upper-level elementary school, but the foundational knowledge can be taught within existing curriculums and standards. This foundational knowledge will lead to understanding in later years. The author shows the correlation to the national science education standards, identifies misconceptions among elementary school students, suggests formative assessment probes, and identifies lessons and activities to make curriculum connections. The free, online magazine Beyond Weather and the Water Cycle is based on the seven essential principles of the climate sciences.
National Science Foundation