CALL: Core Curriculum

CALL photo

Global Climate Change: Science, Action, and Leadership Lab

Students will explore the science behind past and present global climate change, learn how humans are affected by climate change, and learn about the response to climate change impacts at local and global levels. Students will engage with town government and the public at large to design a project that brings solutions-based climate initiatives to the community.

This course explores the following core questions:

  • What is the science behind past and present global climate change?
  • How have humans been affected by climate change and how will they be affected by future changes?
  • How are governments responding to climate change?
  • What are some of the ethical ramifications of climate change globally and locally?
  • How is the local community responding to climate change?

Lab Component (based on project work):

  • What does climate action look like in Maine?
  • What does a “commitment” to climate change really mean?
  • How can students lead their communities to action?

Media Literacy in Environmental Communications

Students will analyze the rhetoric surrounding climate change at home and abroad. They will read critically and thoughtfully and will explore the many media resources that influence the climate change discussion and our perception of environmentalism. Students will learn to be effective and confident public speakers, communicators, and listeners and will practice many modes of communication through public presentations, workshops, teach-ins, and other events.

This course explores the following core questions:

  • What is the rhetoric surrounding climate change? How does it vary in different countries?
  • How do we educate the public about the impacts and realities of climate change?
  • What is effective and ineffective messaging for different groups of people (schools, families, policy-makers, children, elders etc.)
  • What makes an effective public speaker?
  • What makes an effective leader and listener?
  • What role should protests play and what are youth doing globally?
  • What non-traditional forms of communication (e.g. public art and performance) are being used to raise awareness of climate change?
  • What role does social media play in our understanding of climate change? How important is media literacy and how do we teach it?

CALL photo

U.S. Environmental History

This course explores the relationship between humans and their environment within the context of United States history. Students will learn how attitudes towards nature have shifted over time while analyzing the ways in which history has shaped the patterns of conservation, exploitation, pollution, and urbanization in the United States.

This course explores the following core questions:

  • What is “environment” and how has the relationship between humans and their environment changed throughout history?
  • What tools and resources do we use to understand environmental history? (climate fluctuations, geological changes, plant and animal life, technology, journals, court records, paintings, myth, philosophy etc.)
  • How and why do people transform their environment?
  • How do people of different cultures and genders perceive, manage, exploit, and conserve their environment?
  • What different economic forms and modes of production evolve in particular habitats?
  • What problems of pollution and depletion have emerged with increasing industrialization and urbanization?
  • How have political and legal conflicts emerged over resources and how have these conflicts shifted over time?
  • How have people’s attitudes toward nature changed over time?

Statistics: Interpreting Climate Data

In this course, students will learn about statistics within the context of climate data. They will study a variety of statistics fundamentals while also learning about the many ways data can be manipulated, presented, and interpreted.

This course includes the following specific skills and concepts:

  • plotting data; finding the mean, median, and mode in a given data set; reading scatter plots; finding lines of best fit; understanding correlation means; working with probabilities; understanding normal distribution, standard deviation, margin of error, sample size, p-values and statistical significance.

This course explores the following core questions:

  • How is data represented by the scientific community and how is it interpreted?
  • What is the most effective way of presenting a specific data set? How do different graphs shift our perception of the data?
  • How do different types of growth relate to climate change? (linear, exponential, logarithmic)
  • How does the media present data and what role do statistics play in sensational headlines?

Spanish: Cross-Cultural and Bilingual Perspectives on Climate Change

This course uses the subtleties of language to explore how countries in South and Central America are responding to climate change from a bilingual perspective. It explores cultural binaries, language-based nuance in environmental narratives and rhetoric, and addresses climate impacts on trade and immigration.

This course explores the following core questions:

  • How is climate change impacting immigration and what does this mean for language-learning in the US?
  • How can Spanish media sources (mainstream and independent) augment our understanding of climate change?
  • How are countries in South and Central America responding to climate change?
  • What language surrounds the climate narrative in other countries and their media sources?

CALL photo

Elective opportunities

Students have the opportunity to shape their elective opportunities at the Watershed School. While courses vary each semester based on student interest, the following courses have been offered in the past:

  • Studio art
  • Public art/music (installations and protest art)
  • Theater
  • Metalsmithing
  • Photography
  • African Drumming
  • Chorus


Speaker Series and Discussion

At CALL, we draw on the expertise and experience of our community. Throughout the semester, students will help organize a bi-weekly speaker series that is open to the public. Speakers may range from climate scientists and policy makers in Augusta to artists, authors, and public health officials.

Climate Change Communications Workshops

CALL students and faculty will host a series of workshops focusing on strategies for climate change communication in Maine. These workshops will draw on expertise from partnering individuals and organizations, will include a training component, and will be open to the public.

Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership Immersion Program

In the spring, the CALL cohort will join other high school students at the Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership. The one-week immersive experience focuses on climate action and leadership in midcoast Maine and will provide a space for students to share and reflect on their experiences as community leaders. Students will work with Watershed and HICSL staff in hands-on workshops and projects that expand on the leadership, action, and effective communication skills they build throughout the semester.