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Through a series of guided questions, students explore the question, what will Earth's climate be in the future? Students will not be able to answer the question at the end of the lesson, but they will be able to explain how scientists can be certain that Earth is warming while not being entirely certain about how much Earth will warm.
The unit consists of 6 activities.
Activity 1: Constructing an Argument: Climate
Activity 2: Earth's Changing Climate
Activity 3: Interactions Within Earth's Atmosphere
Activity 4: Sources, Sinks, and Feedbacks
Activity 5: Feedbacks of Ice and Clouds
Activity 6: Using Models to Make Predictions
Students will gain strengths in those skills associated with data analysis, hypothesizing from data available and constructing an argument in defense of a hypothesis.
The strength of this lesson is that students are dealing with real time data about climate change, while learning about the scientific method. Background information for the teacher is included in each activity and links are included to relevant articles and profiles.
The resource has students examine the science of climate change and therefore sets the stage for a study of the environmental, social and economic consequences of climate change and what we might be doing to meet the challenges of climate change.
The resource consists of six activities and the authors suggest that all of the activities be done in the sequence suggested. Teachers may opt to be selective in the activities they have their students undertake but should include Activity 1 since it establishes a framework for what follows.
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|
The lesson is intended to have students explore the question, what will Earth's climate be in the future? Rather than answer the question, the lesson provides the students with data that will help them formulate an answer, but the answer is qualified because students are working with climate models that are dependent on the information entered. This is the strength of the lesson. Students learn that they will continuously encounter questions that ask them to make a claim, explain their answer, rate their certainty with their answer, and explain their rating.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Satisfactory|
The activities are concerned with the science that investigates the causes of climate change and what projections we can make about the future climate based on the data available. This should not be regarded as a weakness of the lesson, since an understanding of the causes is a necessary pre-requisite to investigating the social and economic consequences of climate change and other resources that focus on these considerations are readily available.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
The activities help students realize that science has a great deal of data on which to make claims with considerable confidence that the climate is changing and what is driving that change, but because of the complexity of the issue, scientists must qualify their predictions about future climate change. In looking at the science data work with students may be expected to appreciate the various factors at play and how those factors contribute to an understanding of what is happening with our climate.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
The lesson should be rated "not considered" rather than "poor" with respect to action opportunities because the lesson has clearly defined goals that limit its reach. It does a most effective job in realizing the goals established and puts in place the type of understanding that will help inform student action when such action is undertaken.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
The lessons are not asking students to make judgements regarding the many ethical considerations that are part of the larger discussion of climate change but to first understand what science is saying about the issue and on what basis they are making their claims.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
Promoting empathy and respect for humans is outside the boundaries of the lesson plan objectives but again this does not devalue the worth of the lesson. The lesson does, however, set the stage for other lessons where such issues are addressed.
|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 focus of the lesson is the science of climate change and it helps students understand what is going on in the natural world both in terms of the causes and consequences of climate change but does not deal with the ethical considerations of climate change.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The lesson asks students to analyze data such as scientist would work with in order to determine global trends with respect to the factors that are affecting climate. Since these global trends will have local consequences, interest in and concern for such consequences naturally follows and may be pursued in lessons that might follow.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Very Good|
Students have an opportunity to examine data that reaches back into the past to understand what has been happening with respect to climate for some years. Other data provides evidence of what is happening today and models built on this data helps us project future scenarios.
|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|
The activities are intended to have students explore data, evaluate the information the data provides and consider the limitations of conclusions based on the data. The conclusions, however tentative, are those of the students.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Students examine data supplied by a number of science disciplines and the skills developed in doing so are generic and related to making claims, defending those claims with relevant information, and acknowledging the limitations of those claims.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning||Very Good|
The activities in the lesson strike a good balance between process and content. The content is focused on climate change and the process centers on the scientific method or how scientist gather and analyze data to answer questions. The activities place the student in the role of the scientist and guides them through the inquiry process.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Students work with graphs to analyze climate change data over the years. They manage interactive models that illustrate the impact of various factors that influence climate. They operate a human emissions slider to determine how much humans need to change their CO2 emissions to reduce the global temperature. They watch videos hosted by climate scientists.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The activities cast students in the role of climate scientist, provides them with "real" data and asks them to investigate the implications of that data.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
The activities include a number of occasions when students work in groups to analyze data and to develop claims based on that data.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Each of the activities provide students with climate data and questions they are to answer based on their understanding of that data. Student answers allow teachers to assess students level of understanding. Student answers can also be recorded digitally or can be submitted to a data base established by the developers of the lesson.
|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.|
The group assignments offer opportunities for a degree of peer teaching.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
Students deal with the data that scientists are using to understand what is happening to our climate. This includes the impact of carbon dioxide, solar radiation, infrared radiation, water vapor, ocean temperatures, ice melt and the interactions among these factors.
|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 each of the activities set out an agenda in which students analyze data, answer questions and hypothesize from that data, the pace is somewhat self directed.
|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.|