Bringing it together with a climate collage

Facilitating a Climate Fresk workshop with students

Climate Fresk (French for mural or collage) is a climate change education workshop developed in Europe and has now been used by more than a million participants in over 50 countries around the world. During the collaborative experience, participants deliberate about how to arrange cards that represent the “big picture” of the causes and impacts of climate change [see article from the New York Times].

More than a million people have used this activity in the context of workshops, many of them in languages other than English. I participated in my first workshop during the pandemic, on Zoom with others from France, Hungary, Germany, and Ukraine.

A teacher could use this activity before any instruction begins, to find out how familiar their students are with climate change concepts, downstream effects, impacts on humans, etc. Or, it could be used after a few weeks of instruction to bring together a lot of ideas that students have been focusing on, to synthesize how climate events events and processes work in relation to one another.

When we use this with young learners, we usually preface the activity by saying:

Remember this is a group activity, not a competition; there are no “right answers” but rather, your task is to connect the cards in ways that make sense to your group.

Talk with teammates before laying down any cards, most of the learning here will be through your discussion. If you disagree about where a card should go, you can write that on a blank card and make that part of your final display.

This activity will help me do a better job of supporting your learning in the next few weeks.

Below you can see how diverse the card arrangements can be, representing different kinds of sense-making by the groups of teachers in this particular workshop.

Because the activity needs some explanation, it is best to read this modified facilitator’s guide.

We also have this introductory PowerPoint (< big download) that we’ve used to help teachers consider how to frame the activity with students.

One kind of feedback that that been made clear is that some participants want cards that reflect social justice in addition to the science. they also would like solutions cards. We’ve added those to this printable set of cards, but please do look at these printing suggestions, it is a way to get the cards to print with their descriptive text on the back.

Here are the climate change and human impact cards (< big download). Here are the solution (or regeneration and resilience strategies) cards.

Note to the public: The author of the game is Cedric Ringenbach. Cédric is an engineer, lecturer and consultant specialized in energy transition for companies and organizations. Adaptations for non-profit use is governed by this license: This version of the game has been modified for educators in K-12 classrooms in the following ways as of July 24th, 2023:

  • There are no details associated with the ice-breakers or conversations about participants’ emotional responses to climate change (this is not because these aren’t important, but because they are used in educational contexts in which participants already know one another and have had conversations about climate change’s emotional impact on them);
  • We have added cards that depict solutions, taken from Project Drawdown
  • We have added participant feedback that could improve the user’s experiences with the game.

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