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Six interdisciplinary lessons offer a thorough description of climate change basics. Attention is paid to foundational concepts, including atmosphere composition, heat-trapping gases, the greenhouse effect and global warming. Activities examine global and regional impacts of a changing climate with special attention given a rapidly changing Arctic. Students also evaluate their own contributions to climate change and consider steps they can take to reduce their carbon footprint.
Activity 1. In ‘Jigsaw’ format, students complete and share findings from three readings (provided) that describe the composition of the atmosphere and the role played by carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in sustaining life and promoting climate change.
Activity 2. Working cooperatively, students examine data (provided) that illustrate how the rise in global temperature over time correlates with an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. After considering human sources of emissions, students complete a carbon footprint exercise that illustrates heat-trapping gases for which they are directly responsible.
Activity 3. Working in small groups, students prepare and present short skits based on assigned readings (provided) to illustrate the effects of a changing climate on the different plant and animal communities making up Arctic ecosystems.
Activity 4. In this jigsaw activity, students explore three feedback loops that illustrate how climate change in the Arctic is significant and has far-reaching environmental and economic effects on the rest of the planet.
Activity 5. Students examine a range of economic, social and environmental problems created by climate change based on their analysis of articles (provided) describing five different regions of the world .
Activity 6. Groups of students brainstorm actions to combat climate change, consider the pros and cons of each and share their recommendations with their classmates. As a culminating activity, students write letters to local officials expressing their personal suggestions / concerns.
Although developed for a grade 6-12 audience, the resource will be most useful for climate change education in grades 7-10.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
Much of the information provided is based on climate science. Many of the activities and assignments involve case-studies and are data-driven. Great care is taken in the instructions NOT to direct students to take a particular position.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
Lessons 4 and 5 specifically address the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change in the Arctic and other regions of the world.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The student readings, activities and assignments all illustrate the complexity of climate change causes and solutions.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Students are asked to write a letter to a local 'decision maker' expressing their opinions or concerns about climate change/climate 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
|Values Education||Very Good|
Students are asked to reflect on their own feelings in both the in-class and homework assignments.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
Opportunities to highlight the plight of those seriously impacted by climate change can be realized in lesson 5.
|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 4 and 5 in particular help focus student attention on the natural environment.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The carbon footprint activity and opportunities for students to express their own ideas and concerns helps bring relevance and a local focus to the learning.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Lesson 2 addresses changes in carbon dioxide concentrations and global temperatures over time.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
Activities require students to think critically and make predictions based on their own analysis of the information provided.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Activities incorporate themes and concepts from science, geography and to a lesser extent, social studies.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Much of the resource involves students reading and responding. A variety of reading approaches (silent, aloud, choral) are used and supported by responding activities that include oral presentations, skits and written composition.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The carbon footprint, letter writing and skit activities provide some authentic experience to the learning.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning||Very Good|
All lessons incorporate elements of cooperative learning.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Assessment tools or directions are not included in the resource.
|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||Very Good|
In 4 of the 6 lessons students are given the responsibility for teaching their peers.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Several lessons are built on case studies provided by the 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||Satisfactory|
Limited opportunities are provided.
|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.|