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Connections to Climate Change in Grade 11 &12 Science

Secondary

Description

This ESD resource addresses curriculum outcomes in high school science (physics, biology, and chemistry) through the lens of climate change. The lessons address climate change concepts through the use of  open-ended questions, hands-on learning opportunities, research activities and a comprehensive section of web-based resources. The focus of each lesson is on discovery learning, addressing curriculum outcomes and ecological literacy. Action project suggestions are provided in 'Links to EcoSchools'.

Biology Lessons:

Learning Activity: Students perform a lab activity over a series of several days to examine the effects of acid rain on plant growth. The emphasis is on exploring how human practices interfere with ecosystem function including changes in biodiversity. This lesson also includes discussions on genetically-modified organisms.

Research Activity: Students are asked to explore the differences between closed loop and linear processes and to explain how bio energy  may be used to sustainably reduce energy use in artificial systems. Students examine examples of companies who are making efforts to “close the loop” in their industrial processes as a major step towards sustainability.

Learning and Research Activity: Students carry out a model population census to understand how the rate at which human populations consume food and energy limits the population growth of other species.

Research and Analysis Activity: Students study the impacts of environmental disturbances on natural populations within an ecosystem by conducting research on a “species at-risk” in Canada.

Chemistry:

Learning Activity: Students explore the interactions among atmospheric carbon dioxide, the ocean and aquatic life by conducting two in-class experiments that simulate carbon dioxide uptake in oceans and the resulting impacts of ocean acidification on aquatic organisms. Guiding questions relate the production of greenhouse gases to the burning of organic hydrocarbons (through oxidation – reduction reactions) and also questions the student’s knowledge of Canada’s official position on climate change.

Physics:

These activities investigate how the energy transformation from different energy sources affect the environment.

Learning Activity One: Students go outside to collect first-hand data by recording the time required for a vehicle to drive through the drop-off area of a school. Students discuss the implications that idling time has on vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency.

Learning Activity Two: This activity involves the collection and analysis of real world data to explore vehicle efficiency and its effect on carbon dioxide emissions. Students use suggested websites to examine fuel ratings (carbon dioxide emissions for highway and city driving) and emissions produced by their family vehicles during a daily commute to school. After performing a graphical analysis the class discusses why some cars are more efficient than others and why consumers continue to buy inefficient cars.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Critical thinking/ creative thinking strategies
  • Organizing and correctly using apparatus and materials to collect reliable experimental data
  • Inferring and explaining relationships
  • Interpreting patterns and trends in data
  • Communicating data effectively using mathematical  and statistical calculations
  • Using a variety of sources and technologies to gather information

Strengths

  • Great resource to relate ecological literacy to science high school biology, chemistry, and physics outcomes
  • Guiding questions have detailed answers
  • Excellent links to Ecoschool action projects
  • Each lesson has prior learning requirements
  • Excellent background information on climate change
  • There are many suggested strategies for developing ecological literacy
  • Resource provides open-ended guiding questions for assessment
  • Explores the real world context of the complex issues surrounding climate change
  • Recommended resource sections are very relevant to the lesson and have Canadian focus
  • Sample calculations are provided for the physics- based activity

Weaknesses

  • Action projects are suggestions and students need to develop their own action plan list.
  • Assessment tools will need to be developed by the teacher
  • Needs to be more opportunities for students to identify, clarify, and express their own values
  • Does not address aboriginal perspectives

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource can be used to develop an understanding of important enironmental issues while addressing specific outcomes in high school physics, biology, and chemistry. It can also be used by an environmental club as a basis for a community forum on the effects of climate change. Geography teachers could use this to emphasize the link between human activity and issues with our natural environment.

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 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
        • Biology 20: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration
        • Biology 20:Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 20: Matter as Solutions, Acids and Bases
        • Chemistry 20:The Diversity of Matter and Chemical Bonding: In introduction to organic chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 20: Kinematics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 20-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
        • Science 20: Changes in Motion
        • Science 24:Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Population and Community Dynamics
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 30: Chemical Changes of Organic Compounds
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
        • Science 30: : Energy and the Environment
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11: Microbiology
        • Biology 11: Processes of Science
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 11: Chemical Reactions
        • Chemistry 11: Organic Chemistry
        • Chemistry 11: Solution Chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 11: Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Processes of Science
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applications of Acid-Base Reactions
        • Nature of Acids and Bases
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12:Resources and Environmental Sustainability
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemical Reactions
        • Organic Chemistry
        • Solutions
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology: Conservation of Biodiversity
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 40S: Electrochemistry
        • Chemistry 40S: Reactions in Aqueous Solutions
        • Chemistry 40S:Acids and Bases
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Resources, Energy, and Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11: Biodiversity
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 11: Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Genetic Continuity
        • Biology 122/121
        • Biology 122/121: Evolution, Change and Diversity
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Acids and Bases
        • Chemistry 121 /122
        • Chemistry 121/ 122: Organic Chemistry
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
        • Environmental Science 120: Sustainable Development
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 2201: Interactions among Living Things
        • Biology 2201: Biodiversity
        • Biology 2201: Matter and Energy for Life
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 2202:: Organic Chemistry
        • Chemistry 2202:: Stoichiometry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 2204: Kinematics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2200: Ecosytems
        • Science 2200: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 3201: Genetic Continuity
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 3202: Electrochemistry
        • Chemistry 3202: Acids and Bases
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 3200/3202: Ecosystems
        • World Geography 3200/3202: World Climate Patterns
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • General Science 3200 : Motion and its Applications
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
        • Biology 20: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration
        • Biology 20:Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 20: Matter as Solutions, Acids and Bases
        • Chemistry 20:The Diversity of Matter and Chemical Bonding: In introduction to organic chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Kinematics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Habitats, Population Dynamics and Management
        • Science 20-4:Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
        • Science 20: Changes in Motion
        • Science 24: Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Population and Community Dynamics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
        • Science 30: Energy and the Environment
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11: Biodiversity
        • Biology 11: Interactions among Living Things
        • Biology 11: Matter and Energy for Life
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 11: Organic Chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 11: Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 12: Genetic Continuity
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 12: Electrochemistry
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Geography: Population
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
        • Biology 20: Energy and Matter Exchange in the Biosphere
        • Biology 20: Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Matter as Solutions, Acids and Bases
        • The Diversity of Matter and Chemical Bonding
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Conservation of Energy
        • Kinematics
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Habitats, Population Dynamics and Management
        • Science 20: Changes in Motion
        • Science24:Understanding Common Energy Conversion Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemical Changes of Organic Compounds
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
        • Science 30: Energy and the Environment
        • Science 30: Population and Community Dynamics
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 11(College Prep.) Microbiology
        • Biology 11(College Prep.) Plants in the Natural Environment
        • Biology 11(Univer.Prep.) Diversity of Living Things
        • Biology 11(Univer.Prep.) Genetic Processes
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Gases and Atmospheric Chemistry
        • Hydrocarbons and Energy
        • Solutions and Solubility
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Conservation of Energy
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Reducing and Managing Waste
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Introduction to Spacial Technologies: (Open):Using Spacial technologies to Support Sustainability and Stewardship
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy and Society
        • Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 12 (Univ. Prep.): Metabolic Processes
        • Biology 12 (Univ. Prep.): Molecular Genetics
        • Biology 12 (Univ. Prep.): Population Dynamics
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • (College Prep.) Organic Chemistry
        • (College Prep.) Chemical Calculations
        • (College Prep.) Chemistry in the Environment
        • (College Prep.) Electrochemistry
        • (College Prep.) Matter and Qualitative Analysis
        • (Univ. Prep.) Electrochemistry
        • (Univ.Prep) Organic Chemistry
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Sustainability of Natural Resources
        • World Geography: Urban Patterns & Populations (Univ. / College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Energy Transformations (College Prep.)
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 521A: Biodiversity
        • Biology 521A: Maintaing Dynamic Equilibrium
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 521A: Organic Chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 521A: Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 621A: Change and Diversity
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 621: Acids and Bases
        • Chemistry 621:Electrochemistry
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
        • Environmental Science 621A: Human Population and Carrying Capacity
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Kinematics
        • Transformation of energy
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 20: Ecological Organization
        • Biology 20: The Diversity of Life
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 20: Chemical Reactions
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Human Population
        • Environmental Science 20: Terrestrial Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Biology 30: Genetics
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 30: Acid-Base Equilibria
        • Chemistry 30: Solubility and Solutions
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physics 30: Kinematics and Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Microbiology
        • Plant Biology
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Organic Chemistry
        • Skills and Processes of Chemistry
        • Solution Chemistry
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Kinematics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Biology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Processes of Science
      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Acids, bases and salts
        • Applications of Acid-Base Reactions
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 12: Resources and Environmental Sustainability
      • Physics
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Kinematics

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

    • Acid Rain
    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Biodiversity
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Cradle-to-Cradle
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

 Through research and analysis students come to their own conclusions. Students carry out hands-on activities and interpret the data they collect.

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 resource highlights the link between human activity and both environmental and economic sustainability.

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

This resource identifies the many interactions between humans and the natural world, which helps students understand some of the causes and consequences of human impacts on the environment.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

There are great suggestions for action projects and relevant links to ecoschool

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 Satisfactory
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
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 Very Good

The students go out of doors to complete a population census of local species and to measure idling times in school drop-off zones.  A focus on ecological literacy and being stewards of the environment is paramount in this resource.

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 "local" species population census and the statistical analysis of the family car carbon dioxide emissions bring local focus and relevance to the lives of the learners.

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
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

This resource has an emphasis on open-ended questioning and student-led inquiry though brainstorming, individual research projects, group investigations and first-hand experimentation.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

This is primarily a science resource, but there are opportunities for addressing outcomes in math, 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 Satisfactory

A wide range of activities are provided that teach to both the cognitive and affective domains. There are no accommodations suggested for students 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
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

Lots of excellent questions are included. Teachers may have to develop assessments for testing knowledge-based outcomes.

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 Satisfactory

There are some case studies briefly described in the teacher background section on climate change, and in the suggested web resources.

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 Satisfactory

Open-ended questions and choice on research projects allow for students to delve deeper into chosen issues. The suggested resources provide great support for students in completing these.

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.