Grist accesses its archives to develop kid- and teen-centric study capsules as parents look for insightful ways to home school their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Grist is all about solutions to the climate crisis, and that’s a lot of what’s covered in these modules. How do we cut down on the amount of pollution caused by our transportation system? How can we cut down on the carbon footprint of the food we eat?” Nikhil Swaminathan, executive editor, told Publishers Daily. “One of the main lenses that we use to evaluate potential solutions is equity, so naturally, one of the first three lessons we’re rolling out is on the concept of environmental justice.”
Each curriculum module includes an explainer related to the content with an accompanying video and recommended activity. When the subject has been mastered, kids can explore deeper with a list of links to related Grist content.
According to Swaminathan, the content was created around repurposed videos from the Grist archive, with some of those selections as old as a decade.
“A lot of our videos over the years have been explainers, so these lessons are built on actual Grist content. They become the launching-off point for further research, activities, and discussion that students can have with their families or friends,” said Swaminathan.
Teresa Chin, senior editor, noted that many parents feel it’s important for their children to learn about climate change.
“But even professional educators say they need more support figuring how to teach it,” Chin said. “Our hope is that we can be a resource for anyone who wants to help kids understand climate change in an age-appropriate way through a combination of engaging videos, hands-on activities and thoughtful discussion questions.”
The Grist team will take feedback from those using the modules to see how they might improve or evolve them. The new content is being promoted through Grist’s newsletters and social-media platforms, while the outlet’s staffers with kids will also tap into their own networks and neighborhood groups.
An added benefit would include the new modules inspiring a new generation of Grist readers, as participating kids are introduced to the outlet’s mission.
“You can see from the massive youth movement that’s grown around climate change -- from Greta Thunberg to the Sunrise Movement, which was influential in making sure climate was a major topic of the Democratic Presidential Primary, to campus divestment groups to the 21 kids who tried to sue the federal government for not acting to aggressively tackle warming,” said Swaminathan.
“There’s an opportunity for Grist to be a part of those formative years when kids are learning about their planet. What’s at stake in the future, and the changes that can be made in society to stave off the worst effects of climate change,” he added.