meea logo


MEEA helps educators inspire Missourians to care about, understand and act for their environment.

Join button

donate button

Shop button

facebook icon twitter icon

New! Missouri Green Schools Program

Earth Quest: A game of Environmental Literacy

earth quest gameboard

Environmental Quizzes

K-2 biodiversity quiz

Coloring Sheets

channel catfish coloring sheet

Green Holidays Calendar

Climate Change Math and Science

2018 Interface B Learning activities (6-12)

Graphing Classic Data Sets | The 8 Practices in Classic Papers | Predicting Missouri's Future | Carbon Stabilization Wedges Game


Graphing Classic Data Sets

Classic Climate Change Data (document format)

Students should have studied the climate change model and be familiar with the role of carbon dioxide. This activity is intended to help them develop an understanding of how scientists discovered the the role of carbon dioxide in warming the earth.

Students will begin by graphing data from classic papers that led to the discovery of carbon dioxide's role in the atmosphere:

Have students graph the data without identifying the independent and dependent variable units. Download the classic data (see above) and use the sets labeled with the independent variable (iv), and dependent variable (dv) tags first. Students' focus should be on describing the patterns in the data. Is the dv positively or negatively related to the iv? Then they can identify other patterns if present.

Have students work independently (with your assistance if they need it), to draw a graph and then write a statement describing the pattern. Let them know it is ok to make a rough drawing. They are not turning it in, it just needs make any patterns in the data clear. Then emphasize the importance of writing a statement about what they think the data show. This is extremely important in science. It prevents wishy-washyness, which is much worse than being wrong.

After they have the graph and the statement, they should share their conclusion with another student. If they would like to change their statement after being persuaded by argument or seeing the data differently, that is ok. This is also extremely important in science. Being wrong is ok, but one should not stay attached to the wrong interpretation when there is one that is better supported by the data.

At this point, you can tell the students what the variables actually are. Then have them rewrite their statement about the pattern in the data using the actual variables.

Have them discuss what the pattern means with respect to the evidence about climate change.

Presenting the data first without identifying tags serves at least two purposes:

I would love to know how your students did with this activity and any changes you would make if you did it again. Please share! Jan Weaver -


The 8 Scientific and Engineering Practices (SEPs) in Classic Papers

Tyndall Quotes | Arrhenius Quotes

One way to become familiar with the 8 SEPs is to practice recognizing them in scientific research papers. This exercise uses Tyndall's paper on how CO2 is one of the gases in the atmosphere that causes the greenhouse effect, and Arrhenius' paper on how a change in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere could affect the earth's temperature.

Students should have some familiarity with the SEPs before beginning this activity.

Download either or both documents. In each there are 8 quotes with sections underlined that show use of the 8 SEP along with a section that has the source material for the quotes and a color code for which quote goes with which SEP. Print a copy for each student and cut it into 8 + 1 +1 sections (SEPs, source, and code)

Give each student the 8 quotes and the source BUT NOT THE CODE. Provide them with a list of the 8 SEPs on a separate slip of paper or on the board. Have them write 1 to 8 on a sheet of paper to represent the SEPs. Ask them to assign each quote to an SEP by writing the color of the quote next to the number it goes with. Tell them to focus on the underlined words in making their decision. Reassure them that it is a challenging task because most scientists may be referring to more than one SEP in a passage or even a sentence. The important thing is that they should be able to explain why they categorized a quote in a particular way.

Let them know that after they are done categorizing the quotes, they will pair and share, and then pair with another pair and share. They should discuss their rationales for their choices if there are differences.

At the end of the activity show them the code that came with the papers. You can give them each a copy of the code or you can display it to the class. They can discuss similiarities or differences in their small groups or in the class as a whole. If you discuss this as a whole class you can add their color choices to the code and see if there are groups of colors that show up in consistent patterns or if colors are all over the map.

There are no strictly right or wrong answers on an activity like this, but there are alternatives that are more right based on a shared understaning of the the SEP mean.

NGSS 8 Science and Engineering Practices -

I would love to know how your students did with this activity and any changes you would make if you did it again. Please share! Jan Weaver -




Predicting Missouri's Future

Plant Hardiness Zones 1990-2040 (document format)

This activity should follow after students have studied the climate change model and the record of temperature change over the last century. It helps develop understanding that even a small change in average global temperature can have profound affects depending on where you live.

The USDA plant hardiness map divides the US into 10°F average annual minimum winter temperature zones (which are further divided into subzones). Including Alaska and Puerto Rico, there are about two dozen subzones.

In 1990 Missouri's average minimum temperature ranged from -5°F in the south (zone 6) to -15°F in the north (zone 5). By 2015 the zones had shifted north.

Show them the USDA map and explain what is meant by the average minimum temperature and how it affects where plants can grow.

Then show them the pair of Arbor Day Maps showing the change from 1990 to 2015.

Download and copy the zone maps (above) and cut them into thirds so that each student has their own set of 1990 to 2040 maps. Give each student a strip with maps of all three years.

Ask each student to look at the change from 1990 to 2015. Then, based on the amount of shift in the range in the 25 years from 1990 to 2015, they should make a prediction about where the ranges will be - assuming the trend holds steady - in 2040. They should illustrate their prediction by drawing lines on the 2040 map showing where the planting zones will be.

After each student has drawn in the zones for 2040, have them share their prediction with another student to see how much agreement there is between their predictions. Then have each pair join another pair and repeat sharing of their preditions.

As groups of four, have them discuss the following questions. You can list them on the board and have them choose the top 3 they want to discuss. You can ask them if they have any questions to add.

  1. What is the most likely explanation for this change?
  2. Is this change likely to continue? Will the rate of change be the same?
  3. Could other weather factors besides minimum temperature change? Rainfall? Summer maximum temperatures?
  4. How might this affect our community?
  5. How might this affect agriculture in Missouri?
  6. How might this affect parks and wildlife areas in Missouri?
  7. How would we, as individuals, communities or the state, have to adapt to these changes if they occur?

USDA Plant Hardiness Zones -

Arbor Day Foundation Plant Hardiness Zones (showing shift) -

I would love to know how your students did with this activity and any changes you would make if you did it again. Please share! Jan Weaver -


Carbon Stabilization Wedge Game

The Stabilization Wedges Game is a team-based exercise created at the University of Princeton that teaches players about the scale of the greenhouse gas problem, plus technologies that already exist to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions and get us off the path toward dramatic and damaging climate change.

Have students play in pairs or small groups to fill in the wedges. Then have each pair or group hang up their plan for other students to review and think about.

Note: The game is a bit dated, and some newly recognized strategies, like reducing meat consumption, are not included.

Visit the Game: Carbon Stabilization Wedges Game