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Choosing the Earth's Climate Future

Secondary

Description

In this interactive lesson students examine adaptation and mitigation as strategies to minimize the impacts of climate change and prevent possible global catastrophe. Following an on-line lesson guide, students will:

• examine evidence of changing weather patterns around the world and consider if similar changes are taking place locally

• learn how climate models are predicting future increases in global temperatures and more extreme weather events based on current human behavior

• explore the connection between increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures

• analyze data and case studies that detail the promise and limitations of adaptation and mitigation in minimizing the impacts of global warming

• apply what they have learned about adaptation and mitigation strategies to develop an action plan that will address climate change in their own community

Students are provided with clear instructions at each step, direct links to information in a variety of media formats (including video, animation, data presentations, case studies) and an electronic notebook for highlighting key points and responding to questions. There is also a teacher’s guide with tips on how to plan and implement the lesson.

The PBS Learning Media platform allows teachers to monitor student progress and understanding as they work through the various lesson components.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Reading, analyzing and commenting on scientific information
  • Preparing an action plan

Strengths

  • The resource deals with a serious issue and raises important questions and challenges for students
  • Although designed to be completed on-line & individually, it can be easily adapted for classroom use.
  • The lesson is 'up to date' and complete.  All information and tools required are included.
  • The format of information provided to students is engaging.
  • Students are well-supported with learning tools and suggestions.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The lesson will contribute to any discussion of climate change by demonstrating the seriousness of both the current situation and the challenge ahead.  Its optimistic presentation of 'next steps' and promotion of student action adds an important contribution to the discussion. The lesson will also be of interest to teachers looking for a quality 'at-home learning' lesson on climate.

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 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S:Nature of Science and Technology
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9 Ecosystem Dynamics: Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Advanced Environmental Science 120: Earth Systems
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 11
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 2200: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: The Atmosphere and the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography 3200/3202: World Climate Patterns
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 9
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship 9: Engaged Citizenship
        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • AP Environmental Science: Global Change
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
        • Science (Applied)::Earth and Space Science: Earth's Dynamic Climate
    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
        • Environmental Science (Workplace Prep.) Human Impact on the Environment
      • Geography
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        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.): The Physical Environment: Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Connections
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Ecosystems and Human Activity
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ/College Prep.) Community Action
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Prfeparation)
  • Prince Edward Island
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    • Grade 9
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment in the Global Community
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 431A: Earth and Space Science, Weather Systems
    • Grade 11
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 521A, Global Studies: Physical Patterns of the World
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Environmental Challenges and Successes
      • Geography
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        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 9
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Contemporary World: Environment
    • Grade 10
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      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Science & Technology: The Earth and Space
        • Science and the Environment: The Earth and Space
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 11
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Atmosphere and Human Health
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 11: Human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizenship 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human activities cause changes in the global climate system
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Specialized Science 12: Climate change impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health

Themes Addressed

Air, Atmosphere & Climate (2)

  • Climate Change
  • Weather

Citizenship (1)

  • Sustainable Consumption

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students are provided with information explaining the climate crisis from a variety of sources.  Both strengths and limitations of prospective strategies for going forward are acknowledged.

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 interplay of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of climate change are well demonstrated in the lesson.

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 lesson does a good job in illustrating the complexity of the climate crisis and the challenges we face in averting catastrophe.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

Students are asked to create an action plan for their local community based on what they have learned regarding adaptation and mitigation. Tools and support are provided.

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 Satisfactory

Students are called on to express their opinions at several points in the lesson.  Students' values should be reflected in their action plans.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

Attention is given to those parts of the world least culpable in and most vulnerable to climate change.

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

Considerable emphasis is placed on demonstrating the damage already done to the natural world and what could happen without effective action. 

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

Throughout the lesson students are asked to consider what they have learned in the context of their own community.

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

The lesson does a good job of illustrating how we arrived at a climate crisis and what climate modelling says about the future. The message that with the right choices catastrophic global warming can be avoided 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 Good

As a culminating activity, students develop an action plan based on what they have learned about how to address the climate crisis.  The lesson documents both the strengths and limitations of the various strategies it presents and does not advance any single approach.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

The lesson addresses content outcomes in science, technology and social studies.

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 learning is very much guided by questions provided in the student materials.

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 interactive design of the lesson and the range of media tools provided will appeal to different learning styles.  The teacher's guide offers some suggestions on how to address learners with difficulties. 

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

Experiential learning opportunities are not included.

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

This is an interactive lesson design in which individual students work on-line with a range of media tools.  Teachers could deliver the lesson in class and provide for cooperative learning.

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

Suggestions for formative and final assessments are 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 Poor/Not considered

Peer teaching is not included in the lesson design.  Teachers could arrange for the presentation of action plans to different audiences.

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

Much of the information made available to students is in the form of actual 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

The core and supplemental learning tasks and materials are prescribed in the lesson.

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.