Scientist-Teacher Workshops

PCC hosts workshops that promote interaction between science teachers and UW scientists with the goal of bringing our current understanding of climate into the classroom.

Join the PCCeduc listserve to get email announcements about these and related opportunities.

REGISTER NOW!  2021 Spring PCC Teacher-Scientist Workshop

Ocean Acidification in Local Nearshore Ecosystems

  • Offered Virtually by Zoom on Thursday, April 1, 2021 from 3-5pm PT.
  • Participants receive 2 WSTA clock hours at no cost.

Register here to be sent the zoom link

Questions? Contact Amanda Arnold ( or Miriam Bertram (

This project is a collaboration between University of Washington students Amanda Arnold, Katharine Byrnes, and Elizabeth Matteri in the Program on Climate Change and Washington’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). In 2015 DNR created the Acidification Nearshore Monitoring Network (ANeMoNe) to broaden the state’s understanding of ocean acidification. Originally, ANeMoNe’s goals were to monitor acidification and warming in Washington waters and to test management strategies for enhancing ecosystem resilience. This is of critical importance, as ocean acidification is known to harm ecosystems and their inhabitants, which are critical for ecological, commercial, and cultural reasons. In 2018, a third goal was incorporated into ANeMoNe: increasing public awareness about ocean acidification and its impacts in Washington waters. DNR received a grant to develop curricula for local schools about climate change and ocean acidification to further public engagement and student awareness. The curriculum that will be presented at this workshop is contributing to this goal.

We will share a new curriculum and connect teachers with leaders in the Department of Natural Resources.

What’s different about this curriculum?

  • It will give you the opportunity to teach WA middle schoolers about local climate change impacts. While climate change is a global issue, local examples help solidify concepts for students and make climate change less abstract. 
  • It emphasizes the importance of community science, through DNR’s ANeMoNe, and how students can get involved. Students learn how volunteers collect data and how that data contributes to our understanding of ecosystem impacts in WA’s coastal communities. 

Curious about the science? The curriculum covers these topics (in accordance with NGSS) and is designed to give you all the tools necessary to teach them!

  • Module 1: Photosynthesis of terrestrial and marine plants, nearshore eelgrass ecosystems, food webs, species connections in ecosystems
  • Module 2: The interaction between the ocean and CO2 from the atmosphere, acids, bases, and ocean acidification, marine osteoporosis
  • Module 3: Cascading impacts of ocean acidification on Ecosystems, marine ecosystem monitoring, data analysis 

2020 Summer PCC Teacher-Scientist Workshop

Evaluating the impact of X°C (e.g., 2°C) of climate warming on animals and ecosystems—in the high school classroom

Over the summer of 2020 a team of educators and scientists led by  Lauren Buckley, UW Biology collaborated to refine lessons for high school and undergraduate classrooms that use the visualizations and data in  the new web resource, TrEnCh-Ed.  TrEnCh-Ed is the educational extension of the TrEnCh Project based in the Buckley Lab at the University of Washington, Seattle.  The project was designed to build computational and visualization tools to Translate Environmental Change into organismal responses and funded by a National Science Foundation Division of Biological Infrastructure grant (DBI#1349865).

Our team of teachers and scientists brought the new resource to a group of 15 teachers (5 from outside Washington State) in a 6-hour workshop offered virtually during the week of September 21, 2020.  Workshop participants explored ways to query data on biological responses to temperature to ask climate related questions, including  “What impact will a X°C (e.g., 2°C) climate warming have on animals and ecosystems?” The workshop was free to all participants.

While PCC workshops have largely offered a collaborative space for teachers to learn or co-create lessons with UW graduate students  and faculty during the workshop, here the co-creation occurred over the summer through weekly interactions between two high school teachers and UW scientists.

The Resource

TrEnCh-Ed provides lessons and accompanying visualizations on:

  • Metabolic Impacts of Climate Change: Use historic climate data and the temperature dependence of metabolism to compare climate impacts between temperate and tropical regions.
  • Energy Budgets: Use weather and terrain data to explore how an energy budget is constructed and use it to estimate an organism’s body temperature.
  • Robomussels: Use data from biomimetic temperature sensors to explore how organisms experience climate.
  • Butterfly Museum Specimens: Use data from museum specimens to explore how temperature influences morphology and phenology.
  • Wildflower Phenology: Use historical and resurvey data to explore how temperature influences phenology.
  • RMBL Phenology: Use climate and phenological data from Rock Mountain Biological Laboratory to explore migration and overwintering species in a high-elevation ecosystem.
  • Grasshopper Resurvey: Use historical and resurvey data to explore how temperature influences developmental rates and phenology.
  • Marine Range Shifts: Use survey data to explore the range shifting of marine populations in response to climate change.

The Workshop

Three days (M,W, F) 2 hours a day by zoom.  Each day was a mixture of short presentations and longer breakout group discussions.

Day 1: Introduction to climate change and how climate change biology can be used to teach cross-cutting ideas from the Next Generation Science Standards.  Included discussion about organismal, population, community and ecosystem responses to climate change. Breakout groups looked at (1) how to incorporate these ideas in their classes and (2) what are the challenges around teaching climate change.

Day 2. How to use climate change biology to teach NGSS and key concepts.  Intro to TrEnCh-Ed resources, specifically the Robomussels lesson and how it could be used in Biology and AP Env Science courses. Breakout groups (1) worked with the standards and (2) discussed ways of incorporating the Robomussels lesson in their existing courses.

Day 3. Using  TrEnCh-Ed resources in their own classrooms. Breakout groups focused on identifying hooks for different lessons that would engage students, then explored specific lessons.

Ongoing. TrEnCh-Ed resources are continually being updated based on teacher feedback, and supports a platform for sharing lessons created by teachers.

Teacher Feedback

Most of the teachers who joined this workshop were familiar with the basics of the science standards or taught introductory college courses.   Many would like to have worked more with the visualizations, and less time with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Looking back, we should have included questions about comfortability with the NGSS standards in our pre-survey which focused on asked how comfortable teachers were with teaching specific climate and biology concepts.

When asked to select any formats that would be reasonable for a future workshop (they could choose as many answers as they liked), participants actually selected the virtual format, 2 hours a day, 3 days a week.  Second most acceptable choice was our usual in person workshop, 6 hours on a Saturday.

In this season of pandemic and teaching in zoom, these teachers really appreciated the time to have adult conversations around these new teaching materials. It was also rewarding to hear them express the value they place in “getting actual data from current research from scientists”.

Participants who complete this remote professional development workshop received 6 Washington State Teachers Association STEM clock hours at no cost. 
Written by Miriam Bertram, Program on Climate Change Assistant Director, facilitates annual workshops between high school educators and UW climate scientists. These workshops build on the legacy of a NASA Global Climate Change Project that resulted in the development of a 1-year lab based dual enrollment course on climate for high school science teachers to offer in their classrooms. Read more about UW dual enrollment programs here.

Collaborators on workshop development:  Lauren Buckley, PI, UW Biology; Elli Theobald, UW Biology; Nick Verbanic, Lake Washington High School; Macy Zwanzig, Redmond High School; Mark Windschitl, UW College of Education, and Miriam Bertram, UW PCC.

Trench-Ed content and website:  Meera Lee Sethi (UW Biology) and Abigail Meyer (UW Biology).

Read about these contributors in Trench-Ed.


“From Greenhouse Gases to Global Warming” – Saturday, April 25, 2020  

Have you wanted to explore ways to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius with your students, to explain how the greenhouse effect works, or to be able to explore “what-if?” scenarios about how changing to renewable energy or changing human behavior would change our projections of future climate? 

UW faculty member Kyle Armour and his graduate students will guide high school teachers through a strategy for teaching students about how future global warming depends on our greenhouse gas emissions, and what we can do to reduce our emissions and global temperature rise going forward. In the 2019 workshop we extended the climate model lesson to start from greenhouse gas emissions, and set the stage for the development of adaptations of this lesson for participant’s classrooms. Teachers will leave this workshop with the framework for a new lesson and be invited to return later in the year to share and refine their lesson.

Participants in the 2019 workshop on understanding climate model predictions.
Miriam Bertram
Participants in the 2019 workshop on understanding climate model predictions.

Target Audience:  High school physics, chemistry, environmental science teachers and others who use, or are able to use, excel and basic algebra in their classroom teaching, and have a basic understanding of greenhouse gases and Earth’s radiation balance.  The content here extends that presented to teachers who participated in the “Physics of a Changing Climate: Energy Conservation and Transfer” offered through the Northwest Educational Service District (NWESD) and OSPI in February and March.


Kyle Armour is an Assistant Professor in Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, a lead author in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report and the recent recipient of a Sloan Fellowship for early-career scientistsKyle teaches a variety of climate-related courses at the UW and is well-known for his ability to communicate climate science understandably. Kyle will lead the 2020 workshop.

Miriam Bertram is the Assistant Director for the UW Program on Climate Change and often works with high school teachers and scientists to collaborate around content development.  She is co-editor of an open-access teaching resource “Climate Science for the Classroom” to be widely released soon. You can preview it here.  Miriam periodically teaches cross-disciplinary undergraduate climate courses and will be facilitating the 2020 Current Climate Change Workshop at UW Seattle.  



Clock hours:  Will be available for a small fee.

Registration Will Be Required


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