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Maths for Climate Change

Did you know that the Royal Meteorological Society, the society for everyone working in or with an interest in the weather and climate in the UK, has an extensive education programme? They recently launched a new tool to explore the range of concepts associated with climate change and the links between them.

To mark World Meteorological Day (23 March), we are delighted to share a guest post from Professor Sylvia Knight, Head of Education at the Royal Meteorological Society, to introduce the new Climate Change Concept tool and show how teachers can use it to support maths in the curriculum.

Maths for Climate Change

A guest post by the Royal Meteorological Society

Maths skills are at the heart of understanding climate change, understanding people’s responses to climate change and developing solutions – whether those are for preventing climate change, or adapting to it.

The world needs mathematicians to help tackle climate change!

Whether it’s something as simple as the huge numbers used to talk about the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, or the complex equations which describe the movement of the atmosphere, maths skills are key.

However, what do we mean by climate change? It’s a far bigger subject than just the science. The Royal Meteorological Society has developed a map of all the concepts that we associate with climate change, exploring the links between them all and to wider sustainability issues.

You could start by going to MetLink, the Royal Meteorological Society’s site for teachers, and exploring the range of climate change related maths questions, either on the teaching resources page...

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On either page, use the ‘all climate change’ drop down box to explore the climate change concepts and the questions associated with them (note: many of these are linked to the English National Curriculum – we need more questions for Scotland!)

Not sure what some of the concepts mean? There is a comprehensive glossary available.

Not sure how some of them relate to climate change? Use the tool to explore the links and related concepts.

For example, here are the classroom resources linked to electric vehicles:

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And the tool shows how electric vehicles are linked to the bigger picture of climate change:

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In Maths Week Scotland 2024, we’re going to be running a competition to crowd source school level maths questions linked to ALL the concepts in the tool as there are plenty which don’t have maths questions associated with them yet – some links are easy, but some will be trickier.

However, the message is clear – you need maths to understand climate change!

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We'd love to hear what you think of the Climate Change Concept Tool and are using it in the classroom. Feel free to share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Facebook, and don't forget to use the hashtag #MathsWeekScot.

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