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I imagine every school in the country has got at least one copy of An Inconvenient Truth lying around somewhere, but, in my opinion, there are better free films out there for teachers wanting some kind of video resource to help teach about climate change.

An Inconvenient Truth is just too long for use in class and, frankly, just too boring. Al Gore’s film is worthy but dull and really only suitable for use if you’ve not bothered to plan your lesson or if you want to send a particularly unruly class to sleep. I’m going to be harsh here: if you think that giving up class time to watch the whole of this film is a good idea, you are being lazy.

There are better ways to go about teaching about climate change and engaging your students in the debate. And yes, there is a debate to be had in the classroom – climate change is a rich area for students to learn about “how science works” and it is worthwhile looking at how scientists have come to the consensus they now seem to have reached. For example, what is the evidence for climate change, how did scientists collect it, and is it reliable? Is there any evidence to the contrary?

Fellow science teacher Greg Craven presents an interesting take on these questions in The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See and also does a great job of explaining “how science works”.

The film is smart and funny (in a cheesy way), and at 10 minutes long, is just right for starting a discussion based lesson. You could easily stop and start the film as it progresses and get your students to discuss the questions in the film before Greg answers them. If you want to challenge your students, ask them to find the flaws in Greg’s arguments, if there are any.

Greg has done an entire series of films, which are collected together on his youtube playlist How It All Ends. His film on the nature of science is another one that you might find interesting, but is perhaps not so suitable for use in class.

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