Search for Resources

Climate Change in Photos

An Earth Day Activity

Secondary

Description

Students analyze and discuss photos to learn about the impact of climate change.  Beginning with an activity that explores the students' own understanding and views on climate change, the lesson then focuses attention on the resilience of the people who are most affected and the environmental movements that have been formed to address climate change.

The concluding exercise requires that students create a web of interdependence to illustrate the collective effort they feel is needed to address climate change in their community and around the world.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students have an opportunity to develop the skills associated with analyzing photos -what may we infer from photos and what are the cautions in making those inferences.

Strengths

The topic of climate change is a critical issue. The resource is self contained in that it provides all the materials needed to realize the lesson objectives. The lesson plans have many of the strengths associated with student- directed learning

Weaknesses

Greater attention could be given to teaching students the skills involved in photo analysis.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Climate Change in Photos was designed as an Earth Day Activity.  The resource would best be used in combination with other teaching resources to explore issues related to climate change. Its use presumes that there will have been some pre-activity that explores the causes of climate change and some post-activity that looks at our efforts at the local and global level to take necessary action.  

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Commitment to Action
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Civic Studies: Civic Action
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12:Weather and Climate
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Centurty: Geographic Literacy
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Resources, Energy, and Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Environment
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Identity: Citizenship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 120:A Geographic Perspective on a Current Canadian Issue
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 1202: Global Issues n Canadian Geography
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: The Atmosphere and the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 3200/3202: World Climate Patterns
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Interdependence
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Data Interpretation and Utilization
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography of Canada 11: Geography of Risk
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Geographic Inquiry and Skill Development
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Geographic Inquiry and Skill Development
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep) : Ecological Systems: Interactions and Interdependence
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Citizenship in the Global Community
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment in the Global Community
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • What can I do?
        • Geography 621A Global Issues
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Contemporary World: Environment
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Climatic Regions and their Effect on Man
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Atmospheric Systems
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Civic Studies 11: Civic Action
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12: Weather and Climate

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The focus of the lesson is on analyzing photos that illustrate the impact and the response to climate change. The analysis is undertaken by students in small groups and their interpretation is presented to the other groups in the class. While one may argue that the selection of photos may reflect a particular perspective, student analysis of those photos allows for a variety of perspectives. 

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Analyzing the impact of climate change as represented in the photos provides an excellent opportunity for students to recognize the environmental, economic and social consequences of the changing climate. 

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

The lesson concludes with an exercise in which students create a web of interdependence intended to illustrate the collective effort needed to address the issue of climate change in their community and around the world.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The goal of the lesson plan is to raise student awareness of the impact of and possible response to our changing climate. The concluding exercise in which students create a web of interdependence requires each student to indicate what they can do to address climate change or build resilience in their community. It may be hoped that students will act on their own and others suggestions.  

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good

The lesson plans present an opportunity, if not a requirement, for students to clarify their values as to personal and collective responsibility as they discuss the issue of climate justice. The photos draw attention to the fact that those who may suffer worse from the consequences of climate change are those who contributed least to the crisis. Students are also reminded of Martin Luther King Jr's concept of "an inescapable network of mutuality" and asked to consider its significance for climate change.  Finally, students participate in a "web of Interdependence" exercise that asks them to consider what they can do to address climate or build resilience in their community. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The first four photos help students recognize the impact of climate change on the people most affected and may be expected to engender empathy for these people. The photos reveal that climate change most severely affects communities in the southern hemisphere. People in this part of the world are disproportionately poor, use the least amount of fossil fuel resources and contribute only a small amount to climate change.  

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

While the photos illustrate the environmental destruction that often accompanies climate change, the emphasis of the lesson plan is on the impact of climate change on people and what people are doing to meet the challenges presented and build resilience.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

The photos illustrate that climate change is a global phenomena but the concluding exercise asks students to consider what they can do in their communities in response to the challenges presented and therefore the lesson plan is consistent with the message to "think globally and act locally." 

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

The lesson plan raises student awareness of the current impact of climate change and the response of those concerned and asks that students contribute to a better future by identifying what they might do to meet the challenges presented.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The lesson is built around student analysis of a series of photos illustrating the effects of and the response to climate change. Student analysis is guided by a number of suggested questions but the perspective that emerges is that of the students, individually and collectively. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

The presentations made by the students regarding their analysis of the assigned photos and the discussion that follows may be expected to help students understand the complexity of climate change in terms of causes, effects, and possible responses. Student recognition of this complexity should lead to a recognition that a variety of disciplines must be engaged if our response is to be effective. The format of the lesson plan helps but does not guarantee that this understanding will emerge and therefore will require delivery by a teacher who assists students in recognizing this complexity. 

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

Students are provided with raw data - the photos - and a set of questions to guide their inquiry regarding the implications of the photos. It is the student "reading" of the photos and their interpretation of the connections between the photos that drives the lesson plan.   

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

The lesson plans centre on student interpretation of the implications of a set of photos. The analysis is done within groups and therefore favours those students who are visual learners but also presents an opportunity for others to improve their skills in this regard. Student discussion as to the links between the photos will also favour those who are system thinkers rather than linear thinkers but again all students can benefit from the exercise.   

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good

The photos used in the lesson plan are intended to "simulate" a real life experience. Students are asked to look and learn. 

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good

Students work in groups to analyze photos illustrating the effects of and response to climate change and to present their conclusions to the class. The discussion within the groups and the class presentation should be helpful in enlarging student understanding of the issue.   

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

The concluding exercise, The Web of Interdependence, may be used to judge student their understanding of the effects of and possible responses to climate change but no summative assessment tools are provided.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

Student discussion within the assigned groups and between the groups as to what can be extrapolated from the photos provides the context for the intended learning about climate change.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory

The climate change photos represent a 'series" of case studies about the impact of climate change in the real world and a record of the efforts of people to agitate for needed action to check or ameliorate the effects of climate change.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good

The topic and the means by which it will be explored are determined by the resource but the use of photos to explore the topic allows for an open-ended discussion, the direction of which will be determined to a degree by the students. 

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.