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How Will We Fix Climate Change

Elementary, Middle

Description

This lesson is based on a 20 minute podcast from the CBC series “Tai Asks Why” through which 7th grader Tai Poole tries to find answers to some of life’s biggest questions.   In this episode, Tai talks with his friends, a NASA scientist and a Canadian environmentalist to try and find out ‘how we will fix climate change?’.   In addition to gaining an understanding of the causes and consequences of our changing climate, students will learn how they, personally can work toward solutions.

The lesson does an excellent job in presenting climate change to students as a critical challenge that will impact their future while at the same time providing them with a sense of optimism by detailing steps that they can take to make a difference.

The lesson includes:

  • the ‘How Will We Fix Climate Change’ podcast and transcript
  • a teacher’s guide
  • discussion questions
  • activity sheets to guide and support students taking action
  • background information on the issue of climate change

A slide presentation that consolidates all of the above materials into an effective teaching and learning sequence has also been included.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Some attention is paid to:

  • considering one's ecological footprint
  • listening
  • letter writing
  • presenting information

Strengths

  • Students will connect with Tai and the climate discussion he leads
  • The lesson design is very effective in connecting this issue to the students own experience
  • The components of the lesson are of high quality and easy to implement
  • The future impact of climate change on this generation of students is presented honestly and with a sense of optimism

Recommendation of how and where to use it

While the resource will support climate change outcomes included in some middle school science units, the best fit for this age group is found in those social studies programs that focus on citizenship.

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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    • Grade 6
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      • Social Studies
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        • Democracy: Action and Participation: Citizens Participatiing in Decision Making
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      • Science
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
  • British Columbia
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      • Science
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        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time
  • Manitoba
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        • People & Places in the World: Global Quality of Life
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        • Earth and Space Science: Weather
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        • Weather
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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        • Science 5: Weather
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        • Citizenship
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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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        • People and Environments: The Role of Government and Responsble Citizenship
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        • People and Environments: Canada's Interactions With The Global Communty
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      • Geography
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        • Physical Patterns in a Changing World
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        • Canadian Identity: Citizenship
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        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 7
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      • Science
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        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Governance (1)

    • Democracy

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The podcast presents Tai's views on climate change along with those of a scientist, environmentalist and several of his friends. 

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 Satisfactory

While the focus of the podcast and discussion largely draws attention to the anthropogenic causes and environmental consequences of climate change, some of the culminating activities provide opportunity to consider the interplay among all three dimensions.

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 discussion and the activities do an excellent job at presenting to this age group, the complexity of climate change and the challenges in finding solutions.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

The lesson includes a number of specific suggestions and some support for acting on learning.

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 footprint and goal setting activities that support the podcast require students to reflect on their own attitudes and behaviors.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
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

Tai's informed and passionate concern for the planet is sure to resonate with his peers. 

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 Very Good

The lesson is focused on students taking personal action to address climate change within their communities.  That the individual leading the learning is an articulate and enthusiastic 7th grader, has the potential to make the learning even more relevant.

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

Some attention is paid to the chronology of the changing climate. A frank discussion of what the future may hold raises significant concerns but also reasons for students to be hopeful.

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 discussion format is constructed to allow students to analyze and respond from their own points of view to the information and opinions presented in the podcast.

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 resource will support instruction in science, social studies and citizenship education.

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 Satisfactory

Some of the suggested culminating activities provide inquiry opportunities for students.

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

While the core activity primarily involves listening, speaking and writing, the culminating activities provide additional instructional approaches including acting on learning.

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 discussion questions do a good job in connecting the podcast content to the students own experience.  The culminating activities include acting on learning within the larger community.

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 Poor/Not considered

Cooperative Learning is not included as an instructional strategy

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 Poor/Not considered

While the lesson includes several built in opportunities for assessment, there are no tools provided other than discussion questions.

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 Good

Given Tai's age and role in leading the discussion, the podcast essentially serves as a peer teaching experience.

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 Poor/Not considered
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 variety of culminating activities included in the lesson provide students with some control over their learning.

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.