Lessons

Lessons and other resources for learning to care about, understand and act for the environment

LESSON LIBRARY

  1. Environmental Principles
  2. Systems and Processes of Nature
  3. Systems and Processes of Society
  4. Environments and Resources
  5. Environmental Problems
  6. Investigating and Understanding Environmental Problems
  7. Solving Environmental Problems
  8. Taking Action

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Header Picture Captions: Left to Right: Friends of Rock Bridge Memorial S.P. Nature Detectives, Summer 2010; Academie Lafayette, Kansas City, Stream Class; Sustain Mizzou Green Team recycling at an MU home football game, Columbia. If you have pictures of your students learning aout or working in the environment (with permissions) send them to weaverjc@missouri.edu and we will post them.

Lessons about Climate Change

Age/Grade Levels

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Lessons - stand alone activities with specific learning objectives

Air is All Around Us - Early Elementary: K. Students learn that air is everywhere and that air takes up space. Includes book recommendation. From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

The Warmth of the Sun - Early Elementary : K In this lesson, students will take a closer look at the sun and begin to recognize its critical function in heating and warming the air, land, and water that sustain our lives. This will involve drawing their attention to the basics of the heat around them and how the sun is the primary source of that warmth. They will then perform a number of indoor and outdoor activities that support the benchmark, and help to begin their identification of the sun as the natural, universal source of heat in the world. From the AAAS ScienceNet Links - http://sciencenetlinks.com

Experiencing the Weather - Early Elementary: K. Basic concepts about weather. Students watch or carry out weather demonstrations and record results in their weather books. Involved but comprehensive. From the Utah Education Network - http://www.uen.org/lessonplan/

Weather Walks - Early Elementary: K to 2nd. Students will learn about weather by taking walks in various types of conditions: sunny, rainy, windy and snowy. Each type of walk includes language arts and literacy connections. From the Utah Education Network - http://www.uen.org/lessonplan/

Nephelococcygia - Cloud Watching - Early Elementary: 2nd (3 to 5 days of observation and recording). Students learn the various typse of clouds as well as the term and the act of nephelococcygia -- cloud watching. Includes book recommendations. From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

Weather Watchers - Early Elementary: 2nd (a week) This is a week long activity during which the students record the weather, track weather changes, and make predictions about future weather patterns. Needs computer access for each student. From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

Weather Activities with the Night of the Twisters - Upper Elementary: 5th (activities over the course of a month) While reading the novel Night of the Twisters, students will complete activities related to weather concepts described in the story. Students will complete activities which explore the key concepts of cloud formation, air pressure, and local weather patterns. Requires student copies of Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman. From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge - Upper Elementary (about 3 days) The class will read the book: "The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge" - aloud together to gain a tremendous amount of scientific content on climate change in a concise and engaging manner. They will then devise their own creative, interactive response to the book's messages by assuming the role of one of the characters in the book, and creating a skit based on the chosen character acting out a message in the book, and what kids can do to meet the climate challenge. From the AAAS ScienceNet Links - http://sciencenetlinks.com

Weather for the Day - Upper Elementary: 5th. In this lesson, students will use previous knowledge and classroom resources to determine current weather conditions and temperature. Students should haver previous instruction on specific weather conditions. From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

Meteorologists: Working with Data Analysis - Middle School : 6th (one or two class periods) Students will solve problems using integers, graphs and spreadsheets, and measures of central tendency. They will understand how these concepts apply to careers in meteorology. Includes handout " Life as a Meteorologist". From the UNC School of Education - http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/4463

Global Climate Change. Middle School. Students learn how the greenhouse effect is related to global warming and how global warming impacts our planet, including global climate change. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and how we react to these changes are the main points of focus of this lesson. From TeachEngineering http://www.teachengineering.org

Automotive Emissions and the Greenhouse Effect - Middle School to High School - (90 minutes) This is a laboratory activity in which students will compare the amount of carbon dioxide in four different sources of gas and determine the carbon dioxide contribution from automobiles. They test ambient air, human exhalation, automobile exhaust, and nearly pure carbon dioxide from a vinegar/baking soda mixture. Texas State Energy Conservation Office

Mt. Pinatubo and the Atmosphere - Middle School to High School (one to two 50 minute periods) In this lesson, students explore several facets of the impact of volcanic eruptions on the atmosphere. Students analyze three types of visual information: a graph of aerosol optical depth v. global temperature, a global map with temperature anomalies, and an ash plume photograph. In the hands-on activity, students use math to determine the rate and estimated time of arrival of an ash plume at an airfield. From the Challenger Center for Space Science Education - http://www.challenger.org/resources/for-students/

Carbon Dioxide Exercise - Middle School to High School (at least one class period) In this activity, students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis. This exercise enables students to practice basic quantitative skills and understand how important sampling intervals can be when studying changes over time. A goal is to see how small sample size may give incomplete picture of data. From the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College - http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/index.html

Coral Bleaching in the Caribbean - Middle School to High School (a class period) Students will use authentic satellite data to determine when the sea surface temperature meets the criteria to induce coral bleaching. Requires computer access. From My NASA DATA

March of the Polar Bears: Glocal Change, Sea Ice, and Wildlife Migration - Middle School to High school (two 50 minute class periods) Students will use NASA satellite data to study temperature and snow-ice coverage in the South Beaufort Sea, Alaska. The data can be used to correlate with USGS ground tracking of polar bears, and to relate this to global change, sea ice changes, and polar bear migration. The data can be used to draw conclusions surrounding any migration patterns in the region. Requires internet acces. From My NASA DATA

Ocean Currents and Sea Temperature - High School (a class period) Purpose: To discover the link between ocean temperatures and currents as related to our concern for current climate change. Requires internet access. From My NASA DATA

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Curriculum - multiple, connected and sequenced activities

EPA Climate Change Website for Students - Middle School. This self-directed website is designed primarily for middle school students in both formal and informal educational contexts, including classrooms, camps, and after-school programs. Educators can use this website: to create their own lessons, as a reference tool for students, as classroom activities or homework assignments: take a climate change expedition, calculate your footprint, research impacts and solutions, explain the evidence, learn about energy and emissions.

The Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) Science Education Program - The lessons published through the EHP Science Education Program encourage students to learn about their health and their environment through cooperative hands-on and critical thinking activities and real-world examples from the scientific literature. Students also learn their behavior can have significant effects on the environment. Modules cover Air, Water, Land, Climate Change, Food and Health. Lessons are also available in Spanish.

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Books - and other readings

Gallery of Greenhouse Molecules - High School and above. This illustrates and provides scientific information about the eight most important greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water, ozone, sulfur hexafloride, dichlorodifluoromethane and trichlorofluoromethane.

The Cliimate Literacy Framework - High School and above. This covers the 7 essential principles of climate literacy under the guiding principle for informed climate decisions - Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts. From the U.S. Global Change Research Program - http://www.globalchange.gov/resources/educators/climate-literacy

  1. The sun is the primary source of energy for Earth's climate system.
  2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system.
  3. Life on Earth depends on, is shaped by, and affects climate.
  4. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and man-made processes.
  5. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies and modeling.
  6. Human activities are impacting the climate systtem.
  7. Climate change will have consequences fo rth eEarth system and human lives.

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Games - outdoor, on-line, board, etc.

Atmosphere Design Lab - Middle School to High School (part of a class period) A very simple but visually appealing interactive exposes students to Earth's atmospheric gases of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and ozone. As the user manipulates the interactive to increase or decrease the concentration of each gas, explanations and images are provided that explain and visualize what the Earth would be like in each scenario. More for the purposes of discussion. From the Smithsonian Institute "Forces of Change" program - http://forces.si.edu

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos- Movies - Stewardship - Links

Videos - short, topical on-line videos

CO2 in the Ice Core Record (3:01 minutes) - Ancient ice cores contain samples of old air and give evidence that today's levels of CO2 are unlike anything in over 400,000 years. See how closely CO2 and temperature track each other over really long periods of time. From Earth: The Operator's Manual

Ice Core Secrets Could Reveal Answers to Global Warming (4:59 minutes) - At the Stable Isotope Lab in Boulder, Colo., scientists are doing a lot of the same things that those CSI folks do on TV. But instead of being "crime scene investigators," these experts are more like "cold scene investigators." From the National Science Foundation

TED-ED: How Quantum Mechanics Explains Global Warming - High School to Adult. Animated explanation of how global warming works. Rainbows, Photon Energy and Wavelengths, Electromagnetic Radiaition, Quantum Physics. About 5 minutes

TED:Ed: A Guide to the Energy of the Earth - Middle School to Adult - Animated description of the physical systems of the earth and how energy flows among them. Geothermal, Rotational and Sun Energy, Warming, Photosynthesis, Respiration, Heat, 10% Rule, Fossil Fuels, Electricity Generatio, Alternative Energy Sources, Global Demand for Energy

TED-Ed: Why Aren' We Only Using Solar Power? - Middle School to Adult - Animated explanation of the kinds of solar power and barriers to its use. Solar Towers, Solar Panels, Clouds and their Possitions, Mie Scattering, Energy Storage

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos- Movies - Stewardship - Links

Movies - feature length movies and documentaries

Environmental Popcorn - Blogger Maddie Perlman-Gable posts her list of best environmental movies ever in the following categories: Best Over-Reaction to Global Warming - The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

 

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Stewardship Activities

Cool the Earth - Free, fun, and empowering climate change program for K-8 students and their families that inspires them to take simple actions to reduce their carbon emissions. Includes action coupons kids earn and a banner the school can post to show how their actions are adding up to make a difference.

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

Links to regional, state, national and international organizations

CLEAN: Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network - A collection of 600+ free, ready-to-use resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists

NOAA Coastal Flood Exposure Mapper - a tool for mapping flood risk in the eastern U.S. and gulf coast.

Lessons - Curriculum - Books - Games - Videos - Movies - Stewardship - Links

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