Jun 15-Aug 07, 2020
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $970.50
Instructor(s): Robyn Gotz

Course Description

Registration begins on March 23rd - register for CRN 11075.
The science of climate change is a complex subject that balances the physical record and scientific fact with politics, policy, and ethics. This course explores the science of climate change. Students will learn how the climate system works, what factors cause climate to change across different time scales and how those factors interact. We will also explore how climate has changed in the past and how scientists use models, observations and theory to make predictions about future climate. Finally we will examine the possible consequences of climate change for our planet. The course explores evidence for changes in land and ocean temperature, changes in the cryosphere, sea level and acidity change due to global warming. Students will learn how climate change today is different from past climate cycles and how satellites and other technologies are revealing the global signals of a changing climate. Finally, the course looks at the connection between human activity and the current warming trend and considers some of the potential social, economic and environmental consequences of climate change.

In light of the changes we have already observed, and the projected future changes it is imperative that we equip our teacher and educators with the tools to better prepare and motivate the next generation of scientists in this field. In this course we will build an understanding of climate change and how it will impact our future.

The course goals for teachers in grades 8-14 are to:
  • Increase content knowledge about climate change,
  • Increase pedagogical skills related to teaching climate change topics,
  • Create a "tool-kit" of teaching activities relating to climate change, and
  • Engender changes in teacher-participants' classrooms that lead to an increased quantity and quality of climate change, weather and climate related instruction.
These goals are accomplished through a highly structured series of on-line lectures, web based activities using a range of on-line resources, and participant discussions on developing classroom activities. This course is specially designed for practicing science teachers at the upper middle to community college level.

Meeting Place and Times

Participants log into the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 13 - 16 hours each week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit fast paced graduate course.


Robyn Gotz, MS.

Robyn graduated from Montana State University in 2013 with a Master of Science in Earth Sciences. Her graduate research focused on spatial changes in physical snow properties as a result of using avalanche explosives. Robyn has an extensive background in snow avalanche work as a 10-year member of the Snowmass Ski Patrol in Snowmass Village, CO and a 3-year member of the La Parva Ski Patrol in La Parva, Chile. Robyn is currently pursuing her PhD in higher education and focusing her current research on geoscience and online education. As a faculty member of the Department of Earth Sciences, Robyn has taught a range of classes including, Introduction to Earth System Sciences (face-to-face and online), Introduction to Snow Science, Weather and Climate (face-to-face and online), Oceanography, Earth Materials, and has co-taught Snow Dynamics and Accumulation. Robyn also teaches K-14 Earth System Sciences, Middle School Earth System Science, Weather and Climate for Teachers, and Understanding Climate Change for Teachers as part of the National Teacher’s Enhancement Network (NTEN) and Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) programs.


Prerequisites for the course include a bachelor’s degree, two years of teaching experience and ERTH 527 "Weather and Climate for Teachers", or ERTH 303 "Weather and Climate" or an equivalent course.

Target Audience

8 - 14 grade science teachers.

Time Commitment:

13-16 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

Required Books/Materials

Teachers should obtain copies of the required materials before the course begins. These resources are either open resources or are available through MSU's library.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Regarding registration, please contact Kelly Boyce by phone at (800) 282-6062 or (406) 994-6812, or by email at

For questions regarding course content, please contact Robyn Gotz at

How to Register

Call the Office of Continuing Education at (406) 994-6683 or toll free (866) 540-5660.