If you watch the news or follow social media, chances are you have heard of COP26. Read this blog to learn more about what it is, why it is happening and how you can get your students involved.
What is COP26?
In November 2021, the UK Government will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (also known as Conferences of the Parties or COP26) in Glasgow. In this meeting, Heads of State and their advisors will look at the current state of the climate and discuss the actions they will take to address climate change for the next decade and beyond.
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, nations agreed to act together to restrict global temperature increases to 2°C and begin efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. This year, governments will renew their commitment with more ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. COP26 will define the course of political action for the UK and around the globe for the next decade and beyond.
Why should you teach your students about COP26 in school?
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for your students to witness and engage with the global political systems that will set the course of their future. Young people will be the most affected by the outcomes from the conference, so educators have an important role to play in ensuring that they understand the significance of this event and the commitments that are made there. Young people need to be equipped to recognise the relevance of COP26 to their own lives.
Schools are uniquely placed to play an important part in the legacy of COP26. They can contribute to reaching the UK’s targets by taking actions that lower their contribution to climate change right now. They can ensure that students are equipped for the zero-carbon future that is to be shaped after COP26.
We want you to be on board. As a teacher, you are leading and inspiring the generation of young people in education today. Only by teaching our children about climate change, its causes and effects and the significance of COP26 can we empower them to spread the message and effect change as they become the decision makers of the future.
How can you teach your students about COP26 in school?
COP26: Our Climate Our Future PowerPoint Age 11+
You could use the COP26: Our Climate Our Future PowerPoint in an assembly to engage students with the issues surrounding COP26. It would be a great way to inspire students ahead of a school project to improve sustainability and engage people in the wider community. Alternatively, the PowerPoint could be used in a science lesson or science club to discuss climate change in the context of current events, or to prepare for any of the other COP26 activities.
COP26: Our Climate, Our Future Summit Age 11+
The COP26: Our Climate, Our Future Summit role play activity will allow students to explore and discuss the global issues surrounding climate change. They will learn about the importance of the upcoming conference in addressing the issues and shaping a sustainable future.
Students will take on the role of either World Leaders or Climate Witnesses to gain an understanding of the different ways that people can be affected by climate change. They will be supported to take a problem-solving approach to identifying solutions and defining a positive future that works for all people.
The summit could be run as a half or whole-day deep dive into the subject, or over a series of lessons. The resources are differentiated based on literacy ability so that you can run this activity with learners from KS3 through to KS5.
COP26 Climate Change Reading Comprehension Bundle
There are eight reading comprehension activities which can also be downloaded individually as well as in this bundle. The reading comprehensions use each of the differentiated information sheets from the role-play activity, along with a worksheet of questions to support students to explore the topic. The topics covered include:
- Business and Finance
- Food and Farming
- Social Justice
The resources are differentiated based on literacy so that you can use them with learners from KS3 through to KS5.
COP26 School Action Resource Pack
As well as the Our Climate, Our Future PowerPoint, this bundle of resources contains everything you need to empower students to effect change. Anything that a school does to lower its impact on the planet can be made visible to students, staff and the wider community. This can demonstrate what is possible and inspire changes in many other areas. The School Promise to the Planet template can help you to explore the changes your school community can make. This bundle also includes the COP26: Innovating for the Future and COP26: Writing to Persuade resources. You can find our full COP26 catalogue right here.
Don’t forget to read even more of our blogs here! You can also subscribe to Beyond for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can sign up for a free account here and take a look around at our free resources before you subscribe too.