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What in the World is Happening to our Climate?

Elementary

Description

The activities in this lesson are meant to accompany the storybook "What in the World is Happening to our Climate?".  The lesson plan consists of three distinct activities:

Activity 1: Weather Adds Up to Climate

In this hands-on activity that runs the entire school year, the students learn the difference between weather and climate by making weather observations and graphing the collected data.

Activity 2: Seashores on the Move                                               

In this activity, the students will gain an understanding of the effects of sea level rise on coastal communities. They will build a model of a coastal community, make predictions of flooding risks then test their predictions and finally plan for changes to keep their communities safe from flooding.

Activity 3: We're All Part of the Solution!                                                                                                                                            In this three part activity the students will learn about greenhouse gases, use a carbon footprint calculator to evaluate the greenhouse gases they are emitting and develop ideas for home, school and community to reduce emissions.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches the following skills:

  • temperature measurement
  • groups skills and cooperation
  • carbon footprint calculations

Strengths

This is a strong resource with age appropriate materials.  It has the following strengths:

  • background information for the teacher
  • easy to follow layout with all of the necessary handouts
  • interesting and engaging activities
  • interesting extension activities
  • a positive focus on the past, present and future
  • an engaging storybook to help set the focus for the lessons and activities

Weaknesses

This is a very strong resource.  The only weakness that is obvious is the lack of assessment tools. 

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource would work well in an elementary classroom as a booster to curriculum content.  

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        • Objects have attributes that can be described, measured, and compared.
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      • Science
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        • Science 1:Observable patterns and cycles occur in the local sky and landscape
    • Grade 2
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        • Concrete items can be represented, compared, and interpreted pictorially in graphs.
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        • Science 2: Water is essential to all living things and it cycles through the environment
    • Grade 3
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        • Standard unitsare used to describe, measure, and compare attributes of objects’ shapes
        • The likelihood of possible outcomes can be examined, compared, and interpreted
      • Science
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        • Science 3: Wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land.
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        • Regular changes in patterns can be identified and represented using tools and tables

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (3)

    • Climate Change
    • Ozone Depletion
    • Weather
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

With the help of the storybook. "What in the World is Happening to our Climate?", the lesson does allow the students to explore and consider the different viewpoints of the effects of climate change on people who live in different parts of the world.

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 Good

The lessons and storybook do a very good job of addressing the environmental and social aspects of the issue of climate change.  The economic dimension is not really reflected but could be addressed by the teacher in class discussions.

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
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good
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 Poor/Not considered

This lesson does not focus on this concept.

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 lesson does not focus on this concept.

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

As the students will be collecting weather data for their area throughout the school year, this gives the resource a local focus.

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

This is a strength of this resource.

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 activities allow for the students to learn and explore the topics.  Activity 2 also allows the students to investigate their own ideas and test their model for flooding and then explore suggestions for improvement.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Activity 1 blends numeracy with the collection and graphing of data with the topic of Science.

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

As the content is directed at younger students this component does need to be more directive in nature.

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 Very Good
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

As the students will collect weather data throughout the year in order to gain an understanding of climate versus weather; this allows them to have a direct experience in a real world context.

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 Very Good

Activity 1 provides the students with a rubric for "Scientist Working Together" which emphasizes the skills that are essential to group work as well as a tool for self-assessment and allows room for feedback that can be put into action by the student.

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

The resource does not provide any tools or suggestions for assessment.

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 Poor/Not considered

This is not a focus of this lesson.

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

The lesson does not provide any case studies.

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 Poor/Not considered

As the lesson plan is intended for younger students it needs to be more directive in nature.

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.