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Teaching Climate Change

Learn how to teach climate change to students aged 11-14 years old and engage them with the ESA Climate Detectives project.

923 enrolled on this course

Teaching Climate Change

Teach the causes of climate change, and how we can mitigate global warming

On this course, you’ll learn how to successfully teach climate change to secondary school students aged 11-14 years old.

You’ll learn about the key facts behind the climate crisis, before going on to develop practical learning activities for your pupils.

Discover how to teach climate change in schools with Climate Detectives

Using unique resources from the European Space Agency (ESA), you’ll work towards leading a team of students through the ESA’s Climate Detectives project.

Climate Detectives encourages students to research a local climate issue in their area, and use ESA resources and information on the ground to work towards a solution based on the analysis of secondary data.

Understand what climate change is and how we can mitigate it

To bolster your knowledge of the subject, you’ll learn the difference between weather and climate, and investigate the causes and effects of climate change, learning about how the climate is affected by both geological and human factors.

You’ll understand how to collect and interpret data from the Earth Observation satellite, using it to develop projects that engage and inspire your students to investigate and communicate local climate issues and solutions.

Work with other teachers to develop your practice

Alongside an international cohort of teachers, you’ll explore how the topic of change change is used in the taught curriculum, how to develop a research question using data, and how to organise your findings using the relevant scientific terminology.

You’ll finish the course confidently able to facilitate teaching and learning of climate change in your classroom, using cutting-edge resources and expertise from the ESA.


  • Week 1

    What is climate change?

    • Welcome to the course

      Welcome to this course which will support you to inspire and empower your students to tackle climate change. We start off asking: why should we teach climate change?

    • Assessing students understanding

      Students may have a range of views about climate change. A good starting point when planning an investigation is to assess students understanding of weather and climate.

    • Climate change in the curriculum

      How can we support students in understanding abstract scientific concepts such as the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect? We introduce some practical activities which illustrate key concepts.

    • Climate science projects

      Choosing what to investigate and designing a research question which can be answered is challenging for students. How can we structure this stage of planning to support students?

  • Week 2

    Measuring climate change

    • How we measure climate change and its effects

      In this section, we look at how climate change can be measured using a range of technologies, including those on the ground and those in space.

    • Climate data

      Using the example of atmospheric carbon dioxide, you will see how climate data can be gathered and analysed.

    • Earth Observation satellites

      Earth observation satellites are able to gather data on the causes and effects of climate change. In this section, we will look at some examples and use them as context for teaching different parts of the curriculum.

    • Using satellite data

      In this section you will explore some sources of satellite data, including the Earth Observation browser.

  • Week 3

    Communicating the findings

    • Analysing the data

      Having collected a range of data, we are going to look at how you can support your students to evaluate and analyse the data.

    • Making recommendations

      Based on their findings, students will need to make recommendations to mitigate their climate problem. We now take a look at examples of climate change mitigation.

    • Communicating climate change

      The art of science communication can be very engaging for students. We'll look at presenting a persuasive argument and the use of infographics to contextualise big numbers.

    • Raising awareness of careers

      As you will have seen through the course and the ESA videos, there are many careers in the space industry that support efforts to understand and tackle climate change. What might interest your students?

    • Resources giveaway

      There are many educational resources that have been developed to support the teaching of climate change. Here are our top picks.

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe what climate change and what it is not and improve your subject knowledge of how space technology is used in climate science.
  • Identify misconceptions within your class and approaches to teaching the science of climate change.
  • Produce a plan to support students to undertake a climate change investigation.
  • Apply the techniques used by scientists to collect and analyse data on climate change within the classroom.
  • Evaluate the use of climate change and related careers as a context to teach science across the curriculum.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers of secondary school students aged 11-14 years old, including Key Stage 3, S1-S3, and Junior Cycle (Ireland).

Who will you learn with?

ESERO-UK Teacher Fellow, working for STEM Learning, York. Using the context of space to inspire STEM teaching and learning. Teacher of physics, satellite engineer, father of two.

Catherine designs and delivers Science workshops and CPD in STEM to teachers throughout Ireland. She holds a masters in Environmental Science and has taught science for many years.

Stephanie works at Science Foundation Ireland in Dublin on the Education & Public Engagement team. She’s the ESERO Ireland manager and loves collaborating to design STEM teaching and learning supports

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.


ESERO-UK, also known as the UK space education office, provides free resources, support and information for teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) using space as a context.

ESERO Ireland

ESERO Ireland provides free resources aligned to the Irish curriculum, support and information for teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) using space as a context.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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