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Changing Climates - Years 7 & 8

Exploring the Natural World

Elementary, Middle

Description

Students learn about the causes & effects of climate change and its impacts on both human and non-human communities. Special attention is paid to the values and emotions that we are all experiencing in this crisis with the goal of inspiring empowerment and personal action moving forward.

Lesson One: Our Changing Climate:

Through images, video, text & discussion students examine changes in climate throughout the earth’s history. Topics include weather vs climate, deep time, anthropogenic and natural change, greenhouse gases and the impacts of a changing climate.

Lesson Two: Cause & Effect

A range of activities help students drill down on how human behavior impacts climate change. Focus is placed on our reliance on fossil fuels as well as the benefits of renewable energy.

Lesson Three: Ripple Effects

Students view a video examining climate change impacts on animal populations & participate in a role play and panel discussion focusing on the ecological impacts of our changing climate. Through the examination of images and case studies they consider the concept of eco-anxiety both globally and in their own experience.

Lesson Four: Be The Change

After viewing videos and case studies that describe different “global changemakers”, students discuss the ideas presented and collectively consider the concept of “Be the Change”. Using guidelines and templates provided by the resource, they adopt and commit to personal pledges

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.

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The resource offers younger students an effective and engaging introduction to climate change.
  • The message of urgency is accompanied with optimism for the future.
  • The resource is thorough and easy to use
  • Students will find the content relevant to their lives and the lessons engaging
  • Students are provided with excellent sources of information.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

While lessons support middle level outcomes in Science, Geography and History, the resource will be of particular interest to those teaching earth and space units (yr 5) and the ecosystem concept (yr 7). 

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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        • Interactions and Ecosystems
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        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time
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        • Science 7: Earth and its climate have changed over geological time

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

    • Climate Change
    • Weather
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Energy (1)

    • Energy Generation

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

The student resources are evidence-based and present information and ideas through video and case studies that are without bias.  Lessons require students form their own opinions and come to their own conclusions.

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

Students will learn how the the interplay of these dimensions have influenced anthropogenic climate change in the past and how they will determine our future.

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 complexity of global warming and its impacts / ripple effects on ecosystems are clearly conveyed .

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Lessons do an excellent job in illustrating the power and potential of individual action.   Students are guided in how to formulate an action plan but implementation is not supported by the resource.

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 Good

The lessons include opportunities for students to explore their own values in relation to climate change and human activities that cause it.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Students consider human migration and other impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable populations.

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

Lessons do a good job focusing student attention on the impacts of a changing climate on the natural as well as built environment.

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 consistently asked to apply what they are learning to their own community and experience.

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

'Deep time' is a key theme of the resource and a longitudinal lens is applied to human behaviour and climate change.  The potential of individual action in realizing a brighter future is made clear.

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

Students are presented with factual information and various perspectives through readings, case studies, simulations, images and short videos. They use these resources to form their own conclusions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

The resource addresses outcomes in science, social studies, citizenship and geography.

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

The lessons are largely scripted.

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

The lessons incorporate a wide range of learning activities that take place in individual, small and whole groupings.  Learning tools include readings, case studies, video, role play and simulation. Versions of this resource exist for different age groups (from K to 8)

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

The resource includes one role-play activity.

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

Some learning takes place in small groups. 

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

Assessment suggestions or tools are not included.

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 Good

Case studies are used prominently as a learning tool in one of the lessons.

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

While decisions on action plans are left to the students, there are limited opportunities for them to choose program content.

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.