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Climate Challenge for 11 to 14 year olds

Middle, Secondary

Description

Students explore the human impact of climate change, how communities around the world are being affected and how some people are responding to these challenges. Throughout this inquiry there are opportunities for students to share what they have learned and raise awareness of the human cost of climate change. Lessons promote the use a wide range of media, such as leaflets, posters, speeches, articles for local newspapers, or news features for radio or television to encourage and support student action as global citizens.

Session 1: What is climate change? Students discuss their own ideas about climate change and use information provided by the resource to develop their knowledge and understanding of the issues involved. Special attention is given to exploring the greenhouse effect.

Session 2: Who is responsible? After brainstorming some human causes of climate change students examine specific climate change contributors along a supply chain from field to supermarket. The session concludes with an investigation of the carbon footprints of people living in different countries around the world.

Session 3: Who is affected? Students use a consequence web and a ‘mystery’ activity to explore the global interconnectedness of climate change and investigate some of its potential impacts on people and the planet.

Session 4: Climate change stories. To help understand how climate change is impacting the lives of some of the most vulnerable people around the world, students examine case studies and play a ‘climate change game’.  A role-play activity is included to further empathize with those whose livelihoods are being threatened by climate change.

Session 5: Adapting to Climate Change. Students investigate how some communities around the world are adapting to the effects of climate change.

Session 6: Taking action against climate change.  Students identify possible actions which they could take as a school and work in a group to develop an implementation plan.

Each session beings with an overview and includes learning objectives, learning outcomes and key questions. Supporting activities and slideshows are included.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Critical/creative thinking skills
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Inferring and explaining relationships
  • Using tools and apparatus to conduct an investigation
  • Identifying and suggesting solutions
  • Evaluating group and individual processes in planning, problem solving and decision making
  • Calculating carbon footprints
  • Listening critically to others ideas and points of view

Strengths

  • Excellent use of case studies and slides to provide information and build empathy
  • Demonstrates the complexity of environmental issues
  • Helps students form concepts, beliefs and attitudes
  • Has a multi-disciplinary approach with a wide range of learning activities and some differentiation of activities
  • Has an opportunity for experiential  learning
  • Group work allows for shared dialogue and incidental peer teaching
  • Contains activities which promote global citizenship and easy to use handouts and graphic organizers.
  • Has open-ended solutions and a good action opportunity
  • Links are relevant to the topic and appropriate to both the teacher and student and give good background information
  • Lessons are well organized , with clear objectives and timelines
  • Each activity is linked to specific slides
  • A link to an interactive version of  carbon dioxide emissions is provided
  • The planning of the action plan includes a sorting actions graphic organizer, suggested actions, and an action plan responsibility grid

Weaknesses

  • Lacks assessment tools
  • Reading level could be a problem for some students
  • The resource is written for an UK audience, so some additional prep may be needed to rework a few of the lessons

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource could be used in social studies and geography classes to emphasize the link between human activity and environmental and economic sustainability, as well as the effect on the quality of life in the developing world. It could also address outcomes in science related to climate change and its impacts globally, or used as a self-contained cross-curricular project related to the complex issue of climate change.

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.

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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Commitment to Action
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        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • Ecological Footprint
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Justice
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty
  • Water (1)

    • Water Quality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource aims to bring attention to the consequences of climate change on a global scale. For the most part, case studies are used to describe how quality of life has been affected by human activity related to the production of draw their own conclusions. 

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 Very Good

The connection between the diminishing quality of life in the developing world and the environmental consequences created by human activity are prominent themes.

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 approach promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students. It encourages action and activities related to environmental and social issues. Activities promoting systems thinking include a consequence map, which illustrates the many kinds of future effects related to an issue.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

Session six is dedicated to promoting and organizing climate change action. It includes a graphic organizer for sorting different types of action, suggested actions and an action plan responsibility grid.

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 Good

The resource gives students many opportunities to do some self -reflection and identify their own values and role in climate change action. Some activities are specifically designed for this opportunity.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Powerful case studies build empathy for the poor quality of life of people in the developing world whose lives are affected in a negative way by climate change. The message is that the ones who contribute the least to climate change are the ones who suffer the most.

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 Good

Although these is no out of doors activity, the underlying theme is the promotion of planet stewardship by planning climate change action. 

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

Relating the consumption of fossil fuels to the production and delivery of a loaf of bread brings local focus and allows students to see how their own activities and life choices contribute to greenhouse gas production in both direct and indirect ways. The calculation of their own carbon footprint emphasizes this concept. There are also options for the final action plan to be implemented at the community level.

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 case studies and activities in Session three examine ways that people and communities are and could be affected by climate change now and in the future. A positive future is possible only if we start to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and we continue to look at ways to help people adapt to the changes already caused by climate change.

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

A combination of  guided and student-led inquiry involving brainstorming, individual research projects, case study examinations, role play, experimentation, consequence maps and calculating carbon footprints allow students to consider and develop their own thoughts and opinions. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Although primarily a social studies and science resource, there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in geography and language arts.

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
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 Good

Activities do address a wide range of learning styles and teach to both the cognitive and affective domains.  There are accommodations suggested in many activities. A variety of instructional strategies are used including experimentation, consequence maps, role play, board race game, life cycle activity, calculating carbon footprints, and reflecting/ analyzing case studies.

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
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 Satisfactory
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

Reflection questions are provided to check understanding, and to stimulate discussion. There are no suggested rubrics for evaluating student work.

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 Satisfactory
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 Very Good
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 structure and variety of the activities provide meaningful opportunities for students to delve deeper into a chosen issue. There are also several links to provide additional information for this.

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.