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Changing Climates - Years 5 & 6

Exploring the Natural World

Elementary, Middle

Description

In this four-part lesson, the students will explore the topic of climate change through various activities.  They will learn of the historical causes and everyday habits that contribute to climate change.  All lessons are in a PowerPoint format with hyperlinks to resources.

In the first lesson, the students will learn the differences between climate and weather via videos and discussions.  They will also explore an online interactive map to learn about different climate zones.  The final concept to be introduced is deep time that is illustrated for the students via a clock analogy.

In lesson two, the students learn about the different types of fossil fuels and their link to climate change from a variety of videos and discussions.  They also learn of daily habits that increase the use of fossil fuels. At the end of the lesson, the concept of renewable energy is introduced.

In the third lesson, the students explore the impacts of climate change on plants, animals, birds and humans.  They will write a newspaper report about a sudden change in climate and its effects. They will also explore global solutions to combat climate change via informational slides, pictures and videos.

In the final lesson, the students will create an individual pledge and a campaign to promote actions for a healthier planet.  

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource has a focus of developing awareness on the topic of climate change rather than the building of skills.

Strengths

  • All materials are provided within the four PowerPoint presentations
  • All internet links are up to date and functional (2 of the BBC videos were not available but can be easily substituted)
  • Engaging and interactive presentation

Weaknesses

  • Lack of assessment tools
  • Two videos were unavailable

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource complements the upper elementary Science curriculum very nicely.  Specifically, the outcomes related to weather and habitats would have strong connections to this material.  The lesson could be beneficial if used around Earth Day as it fosters an understanding of our current situation and encourages action for the future. 

Each lesson is supported by a detailed plan in both pdf and slide format. It includes objectives, step by step activities, implementation suggestions and links to all necessary materials that include a wide range of excellent visual and print resources.

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 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
        • Investigating change and the diversity of Earth’s systems helps us to develop understandings of the conditions necessary to sustain life.
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather Watch
    • Grade 6
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Trees and Forests
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
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        • Habitat and Communities
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Habitats
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth and Space Science: Weather
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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      • Science
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        • Habitats
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Earth and Space Systems: Weather
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: Habitats
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 5: Weather
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
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        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
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      • Science
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        • Earth and Space Systems: Weather
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
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        • Habitats
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        • Weather
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 4
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      • Science
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        • Habitats and Communities
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (3)

    • Climate Change
    • Ozone Depletion
    • Weather
  • Energy (2)

    • Alternative Energy
    • Energy Generation

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The students are encouraged to explore their thoughts and feelings on the issues being discussed.  The teacher is also encouraged to create an atmosphere of a safe place and even a class charter to encourage the students to respect different views and opinions.

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 resource addresses the three dimensions of the issue of climate change.

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

As a final activity, the students will make an individual pledge of an action they can take to combat climate change and then they will work in a group to create an awareness campaign in the format of their choosing to engage their school in a long term action to create change for a healthier planet.

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

Through a number of class and small group discussions, the students are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings on the topics.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The ripple effect lesson introduce the impact of climate change being felt across the world, allowing students to empathize with different communities and contexts.

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

The activities help students understand the impact climate change could have on humans and other living things.

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

Students are asked to create a local community campaign.

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 resource creates a solid understanding of the past and how our reliance on fossil fuels developed from the Industrial Revolution.  It also encourages the students to take action for a healthier planet for the future.

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

Information on climate change is presented and the students, through discussions and reflections, are encouraged to explore the topic and develop their own opinions on the subject.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Literacy
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 Very Good

The activities address a variety of learning styles and are very flexible. Students will watch videos, plan and write a newspaper article, participate in pair, group and class activities, articulate their own thoughts and opinions, participate in presentations.

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 Satisfactory
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 Good

Work as a group to explore how human actions relate to climate change and to come up with a whole class campaign

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 assessment tools or rubrics for evaluation.

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 Very Good

When the students explore global solutions for climate change, these examples can be considered case studies of how people from around the world are making a difference with their actions.

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
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.