December 16, 2010

Science song of the week and "teaching the controversy"

The past week's science-related news stories included much coverage of the Cancun Climate Summit convened by the United Nations. The tone of this coverage varied widely, with many liberal sources stressing the urgency of the global warming problem and some conservative ones questioning whether there is a problem at all.

If you look for songs about global warming, you'll find a similar range of views. One that is highly critical of the scientific support for global warming is "Hide the Decline," by a group called Minnesotans For Global Warming.

If I were teaching a class about climate change, I might show a video like this one and then ask students to do some further reading at websites such as Remember that, in an educational context, songs do not have to be used simply for ramming textbook facts down people's throats; they can serve as jumping-off points for discussion. A good discussion starter does not have to represent a scientific consensus; why not start with the "controversy" and then examine the evidence in more detail?

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