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Our Changing Climate

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource is aimed at elementary students and provides an entry point to climate change education through the language arts. It was created with the idea that teaching about climate change at the elementary level is possible if the curriculum provides students with real, authentic solutions they can be a part of and offers them with the tools to enact these solutions.

This resource consists of five lesson plans:

  • Climate Change Pre-Test - Students demonstrate their prior knowledge of climate change. They will have the opportunity to compare their knowledge or opinions on climate change with the results of a Gallup poll.                                             
  • What is Climate Change? - Students learn the difference between climate change, global warming and the greenhouse gas effect with the help of a PowerPoint presentation.  Afterwards, they compete in teams in a climate change quiz game fashioned after Jeopardy.                                             
  • Climate Change Action - After discussing three warm-up questions with a partner, the students view a PowerPoint presentation with information on various categories of climate change action.  Afterwards, they identify one strategy per category that is school specific that could become a personal action.                                                                                
  • Climate Change in Media - In this lesson, the students will identify three services from which they receive information and define seven persuasive strategies in the media for effective communication with regards to climate action. Students will list the strategies and give their own examples of each type and share with classmates.                                 
  • Communicating About Climate Change -Students will put to use the knowledge and skills that have learned in the previous lessons to produce a persuasive message for a public service announcement to convince a specific audience about the importance of climate change.  This message is shared through a letter, poster, video, brochure, etc.

 

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource teaches the students the skills of persuasive writing for an audience.

Strengths

  • All necessary information, handouts, presentations and materials are provided.
  • It is well organized and teacher friendly.
  • The Notes to Teacher section contains valuable suggestions and strategies as well as additional information for the teacher.
  • There is a good quantity of background information in addition to the scripts for each presentation.
  • The website also provides valuable links to content to enable the teacher and class to dive deeper in the issues.

Weaknesses

  • There are no strategies provided for struggling learners.
  • There are no assessment tools provided.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource is an excellent entry point for climate change education through Language Arts for the upper elementary classroom.  It could be used to introduce the topic at the beginning of the year and then measure the success of the climate change messages in the school via student survey, etc.

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.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

In Lesson one of this resource the students are able to evaluate and compare their knowledge and opinions of climate change to others by completing a pre-test and seeing the answers of a larger population from a Gallup poll. 

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
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
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

The students create a persuasive message to be shared with their school and community regarding the importance of climate change action.

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

By identifying personal strategies for climate change action the students are able to identify and express what they think is important.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

This is not the focus of this resource.

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
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 strategies that the students choose for their persuasive messages are intended to incite change in the student's own environment.

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

The information and data shared gives the students a sense of the past and present situation with regards to climate change while encouraging the students to take action.  The message received is that even a small action can have an impact.

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

As the majority of the lessons focus on developing knowledge for the students, the lessons are structured for the learning of concepts.  However, students are allowed to develop their own thoughts and ideas with regards to climate change action.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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
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

This resource has a good variety of activities for all learners.  It does not have suggestions for strategies for those learners who may have difficulties with the content or work.

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 Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource.

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

There are no tools provided for the assessment of students.  Rather suggestions are made in the Notes to Teacher section in two of the lesson plans.

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 Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this resource.

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 Very Good

Students choose the format of their final project, the intended audience and the message they wish to convey.

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.