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Climate Change Connections & Solutions. Gr. 9-12

Secondary

Description

The 2-week unit begins with an introduction to climate change.  In week one, a foundation is laid for understanding some of the forces behind climate change.  Students first explore the basic scientific phenomena related to climate change, beginning with the carbon cycle and the greenhouse effect and conclude with an analysis of different fuel types.

 The goal of the second week is to deepen the students’ understanding of climate change and its connections to various social, economic, and environmental concerns. By the end of this unit, students will understand and be able to communicate complex and interconnected themes related to climate change.

 Lesson 1: Through an experiment, students explore Earth’s greenhouse effect and graph results of 3 scenarios to draw conclusions about how greenhouse gases affect air temperature.

Lesson 2: Students graph data to examine seasonal and long-term atmospheric carbon dioxide trends during the past 45 years and predict future carbon dioxide emissions.

Lesson 3: In small groups students learn about potential impacts of climate change on living things and communicate these impacts to their school community through informative posters or other media.

Lesson 4: Students gather information about their personal energy use to calculate their carbon footprint.

Lesson 5: In small groups, students read about various sources of energy used for electricity production. Students identify the pros and cons of these energy sources and take a position, either encouraging or discouraging the class to use particular energy sources.

Lesson 6: In small groups, students examine the climate of countries in different environments. Students then predict what might happen to the climate of a particular country as the earth continues to warm.

Lesson 7: Students begin with a simulation to understand limits imposed by environmental regulations. They compare 2 structural solutions to regulate carbon emissions, then play a cap and trade game that explores ways to reduce emissions in the most cost-effective manner.

Lesson 8: In a simulation, students experience how resources are distributed and used by different people based on access to wealth, paying attention to the environmental and social impacts of resource consumption.

Lesson 9: Students compare energy use and Co2 emissions by country and per capita in developing and developed countries. They discuss energy impacts and suggest policies for addressing global climate change related to energy use.

 

 

 


General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • Analyzing one's ecological footprint
  • Graphing carbon trends over time
  • Building consensus
  •  Analyzing  benefits and impacts
  •  Debating climate change policy from multiple viewpoints;

Strengths

  • The resource is extremely interesting and full of intriguing experiments
  • There is sufficient background information for teachers and students
  • The units are well organized with easy-to-use lesson plans
  • Materials needed are clearly indicated for each activity
  • Learning objectives for students are clearly indicated
  • Ample assessments suggestions are provided
  • The units are interlinked but could also stand on their own
  • The package was last updated in 2007.

Weaknesses

  • Co-operative learning could be explicitly taught
  • Students could be easily encouraged to develop their own questions and study objectives
  • Opportunities could be easily provided for giving presentations outside of the classroom to community groups or town councils
  • Action-orientated activities should extend beyond the school and benefit the community.

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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  • Alberta
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        • Science 9: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
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        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
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        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Resources, Energy, and Environment
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        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Travel & Tourism: A Geographic Perspective (Open): Sustainability, Stewardship, and Tourism
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        • Science 421A: Weather Dynamics
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
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        • What can I do?
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        • Science Module: Natural Resources and the Environment
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        • Geography 12: Resources and Environmental Sustainability
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Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint
  • Energy (1)

    • Alternative Energy
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Appropriate Technology

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

While this is clearly a scientific unit presenting a scientific view, other non-scientifc opinions are well represented.

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

Although the scientific dimension is emphasized, at least 2 units along with supplementary readings examine the effects of climate on various cultures throughout the world.   Other dimensions addressed include the environmental and social impacts of resource consumption and climate justice.

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 Very Good

There are 9 unit lessons with supplementary activities. The complexity of climate change is well respected and presented throughout the units.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

There are a few action-orientated projects and extensions explored within the unit for students to make positive changes in their communities. However many of the activities have the potential to extend student action into the community.

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

Each unit ends with a series of reflective questions.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

The effects of climate on various cultures throughout the world is discussed. Students explore the environmental and social impacts of their resource consumption and climate justice.

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

One of the units talks about the effects of climate change on living organisms.

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 Satisfactory

Each unit starts with a question such as: what is an ecosystem? or what is the difference between climate change and global warming?  However, these questions do not relate directly to the reality of the students.

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 Very Good

One unit explores the long-term atmospheric carbon dioxide trend over the past 45 years.

Severals units talk about present effects of climate change.

Finally, one unit talks about possible cleaner futures.

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 Very Good

Most of lessons have a multiple answers.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good

Disciplines such as math, economics, geography, technology and language arts are incorporated into the scientific discussions.

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 intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. 

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

A variety of learning activities are included in the lessons.

• Collaboration

• Critical thinking

• Graphing

• Inquiry

• Problem-solving

• Systems thinking

• Written and oral communication

 

Accommodations are not suggested for people with learning difficulties.

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 Very Good

Authentic experiences are provided.

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
  • Students work in groups but cooperative learning skills are not explicitly taught and practiced.
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

Each unit provides capture information for students' learning. Reflective and review questions are also 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 Satisfactory

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills but only to their classroom peers.

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

Relevant case studies or experiences are effectively used.

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

Most of learning is teacher directed but sufficient opportunities are made available for students to choose program content.

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.