Grist wrote about the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) and its upbeat school presentations back in 2009, just after the program got rolling in a handful of San Francisco Bay Area high schools. The “ACE Assembly” revamps the deadly school assembly — and a deadly topic like climate change — with animation, music, and freestyle rapping to inspire students to get up and do something.
Since then, the program has spread all over the country and reached almost 2 million students. And it just got major accolades: A study published in the academic journal Climatic Change found, after surveying 2,847 students in 49 high schools, that this kind of thing works (… well, if you can measure “engagement” in hard numbers). A before-and-after survey found some impressive changes:
– Students demonstrated a 27 percent increase in climate science knowledge.
– More than one-third of students (38 percent) became more engaged on the issue of climate change.
– The number of students who talked to parents or peers about climate change more than doubled.
Mostly, though, the research underscores something teachers have known for a lonnngggg time: Make learning fun, and it’ll stick. “Exposure to climate science in an engaging edutainment format,” the researchers claim, “changes youths’ knowledge, beliefs, involvement, and behavior positively.”
I’d venture to guess that educating anybody, at any age, could fall under that rubric. There’s a reason why the adults at Grist love depressing yet adorable animations and raps about Monsanto. Just sayin’.