Why is it important to address Climate Change in the Natural Science curriculum?

Natural Science in the CAPS curriculum is the study of the physical world. It includes fields such as biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and astronomy. In the context of climate change, Natural Sciences help us understand the physical processes that drive climate change and its impacts.

The following Key Concepts link to both Climate Change Education and the Natural Science curriculum

  • Greenhouse Effect: This is the process by which certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap heat, preventing it from escaping into space. This natural process is essential for life on Earth, but human activities are enhancing the greenhouse effect, leading to global warming.
  • Carbon Cycle: This is the process by which carbon moves between the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, and geosphere. Human activities, particularly the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are disrupting the carbon cycle, leading to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.
  • Climate Feedbacks: These are processes that can either amplify (positive feedback) or dampen (negative feedback) the effects of climate change. For example, melting ice caps (a positive feedback) can accelerate global warming by reducing the Earth’s albedo (reflectivity).

The this climate change course aims to expand teachers’ knowledge and expertise in ways that also support teaching the CAPS Natural Science curriculum for Grades 7-9. The CAPS includes much content knowledge that is necessary to the understanding of climate change. Often the link between the topic and its application to climate change is not made explicit. For example, the topics of density and the effect of temperature on density as described in the particle model of matter in Grade 8, Term 2 provide the crucial content knowledge behind understanding the thermohaline circulation of the ocean, which in turn influences climate. Many of the activities in this course play the role of connecting the science content knowledge to the topic of climate change.

Please take the Pre-Course Questionnaire before doing the Evolving Planet Course

Pre-Course Questionnaire (Natural Science)

Important readings

Below are links to the supplementary published Fundisa for Change essential units we will draw upon during our courses.

How to get around:

Below is a breakdown of the course. Click ‘expand’ to see each session. You can click on each of these to access them or use the “Next session” or “Previous session” to move through the course.

Once you have completed a session, click the green “Mark Complete” button before moving on to the next session, and you’ll see your progress bar reflect your movement.

If you ever get lost, there is a navigation menu on your left. When you hover over your name in the top right corner, which will appear once you start the course, you can access your profile.  You can also find your way to the ‘Home’ page by clicking on the Fundisa for Change logo in the top left corner.

By the end of studying this course, participants should be able to:

  • Understand what the climate was like in the past.
  • Explain people and past climatic events influenced life on Earth.
  • Understand what makes Earth able to sustain life.
  • Explore various ethical, indigenous and concerns related to the evolving planet.

Map out some of knowledge that relates to sustainability topics in your subject teaching as per the CAPS document shown below.