Roving science lab traveling around Massachusetts to educate kids about climate change

IPSWICH, Mass. — Weather has been on a brutal tear lately. Consider the devastation from Hurricane Ian in Florida last week.

Even Canada got hammered recently by the remnants of a tropical story.

Understanding climate change is more important than ever but it can be a scary subject for young people.

“Change is Simple” is an innovative program that’s trying to empower students by teaching climate change in a new way.

6th graders at the Ipswich Middle School recently gathered on the school’s parking lot to board a large bus that’s filled with all kinds of interactive scientific learning tools.

The goal is to teach an important lesson in a different way, according to Lauren Belemonte, the executive director and co-founder of Change is Simple.

“Environmental education is all about the animals and the trees and the bugs which is important, but we really talk about how humans interact with that, and we talk about lifestyle changes that can really help their health, their community and their environment.”

The curriculum is modeled after an escape room. The students figure out different clues at each station. This is designed to compliment what kids learn in the classroom.

For example, while seated on a large map, the students have to determine the most environmentally friendly way of travelling from Italy to Spain.

Christine Senechal, a science teacher, hopes for two outcomes for her students.

“One is for them to see what they can do in their own lives to change the environment…but also to get a bigger understanding of the real world around them and what’s going on around the country, and how they can be the problem solvers of the future.”

We asked some of the students what they think about learning about climate change this way.

Adelaide Pitner thinks it’s important to learn about the issue because “you learn what you can do to help the earth, and what you can do better.”

Lachlan Moulton said, “When I grow up, I am going to want to be in this world and then my kids will be in this world, so I want them to have a nice life and I want myself to have a nice life.”

Belamonte says the say the goal is to make a serious subject fun and less scary because educating kids early is so important. “It’s an age that you’re forming your habits and your values, and you’re so open to the world and you want to help, and you want to make it better.”

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