Most scientists agree: human-induced warming of Earth's atmosphere is real. The consequences of this worldwide phenomenon will increasingly influence every facet of human life, from access to resources to shifts in national labor markets. To lessen the impacts of climate change, we must look to both short-term and long-term strategies such as conservation, the development of energy efficient technologies and renewable energy, and the adoption of smart growth development principles. Future generations must be prepared to adapt to local and global challenges presented by climate change — and it starts with education.
2 Minutes On... — The Meteorological Tower at SyracuseCoE
Alliance for Climate Action (Grades 9-12) — ACE's mission is toeducate high school students on the science behind climate change and inspire them to take action to curb global warming. Find lesson plans, videos, and more on the ACE website.
Great Lakes Climate Adaptation Toolkit (Grades 9-12) — The toolkit is one component of Freshwater Future’s Great Lakes Community Climate Program, and was developed as a resource to help community groups develop a climate informed perspective on their own work and some approaches to help them bring that knowledge to issues their towns and cities may be addressing. The toolkit may be useful for class activities.
Lesson Plans & Activities
College Lesson Plan Resources
College Environmental Education - This site, provided by the Air and Waste Management Association, offers a list of environmnetal conferences, exhibitions, scholarships, councils and more.
2004 Communicating Air Quality Conference - This conference, conducted by STAPPA, ALAPCO, and the EPA provides numerous professional and academic presentations on various topics from air quality, environmental justice and fire.
Global Warming Wheel Card (Grades 7-12) — What's your footprint and what can you do? Creating this spinning wheel card is an interactive way to study household carbon footprints.
Climate Change — An introduction to the science and impacts of climate change from the USDA Forest Service. (Includes four activities.)
Where Land, Air, and Water Meet (Grades 6-8) —This lesson from the US Geological Survey Explores the effect of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. (Includes activity to demonstrate parts per million concept: just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it's not there having an impact.)
Global Climate Change and Sea Level Rise (Grades 6-8) - In this activity, students will practice the steps involved in a scientific investigation as they learn why ice formations on land (and not those on water) will cause a rise in sea level upon melting. This is a discovery lesson in ice and water density and displacement of water by ice floating on the surface as it relates to global climate change.
Ocean Currents and Sea Surface Temperature (Grades 6-8) - This activity allows students to access sea surface temperature and wind speed data from a NASA site. Students have the opportunity to plot data, compare data, and draw conclusions about surface current and sea surface temperature in a way that increases understanding of the issue and its relation to global climate change.
The Fact of Global Warming (Grades 5-8) and (9-12) — Equipped with an informative article, discussion questions, lesson activities, and a global warming quiz, this teaching activity brought to you by The Why Flies touches upon the many facets concerning the global issue of climate change.
From Grid to Home (Grades 6-12) — This is an idea for a one-period classroom activity designed to have students analyze energy use, cost, and source patterns from household to regional scales and relate these patterns to CO2 emissions. This idea was generated at the Teaching Energy Workshop.
Energy Use in the Americas (Grades 9-12) - Provided by National Geographic, this lesson plan involves students investigate the relationship between energy consumption, population, and carbon emissions. They research carbon emissions data of various countries.
Elementary and Middle School Lesson Plan Resources
Ozone - The Good (Ozone), The Bad (Ozone) and The Ugly (Smog) (Grades 3-6) - This lesson plan, provided by the Air and Waste Mangement Association, suggests three activities to teach students where ozone is found in our atmosphere, how clorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destoy ozone, and the effects of smog. The activties involve using play dough to buidl an atmospheric model; toothpicks and balls to represent moecules; and a jar coated in petroleum jelly and a match to demonstrate smog.
A Bird's Eye View (Grades K-5) - This Air Quality lesson, provided by the Air and Waste Mangement Association, shows how to construct a "flying bird" to learn about air pollution.
• Please note: All videos linked from Teachers' Domain can be accessed for free upon registration.
Alaska Native Teens Help Researchers (Grades 6-12) — In this video clip, hear from students who are learning to use both Native and Western perspectives of nature to better understand global warming and its consequences.
Global Warming Threatens World Water Supply (Grades 9-12) — This 4-minute video explains that as glaciers disappear, consequences of water scarcity will likely include drought and political instability between nations.
Arctic Climate Perspectives (Grades 6-9) — This 5-minute video, adapted from material provided by the ECHO partners, shows the changes now happening in Barrow, Alaska, due to global warming.
Inuit Observations of Climate Change (Grades 6-12) — Changes in the land, sea, and animals are readily apparent to the residents of Sachs Harbour—many of whom hunt, trap, and fish—because of their long-standing and intimate connection with their ecosystem. In this 6-minute video, scientists from a climate change study project interview the residents and record their observations.
How the Arctic Ecosystem Might Change (Grades 6-12) — This 2-minute video explains that as global warming continues and sea ice disappears from the Arctic Ocean, new species from warmer, more southern oceans will eventually replace those species unable to adapt to the changing conditions.
Earth System: Ice and Global Warming (Grades 6-12) — This 3-minute video segment adapted from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center details how global warming may already be responsible for a significant reduction in glacial ice, which may in turn have significant consequences for the planet.
Antarctic Ice: Sea Level Change — In this 3-minute video segment adapted from NOVA, learn what might happen to the global sea level if atmospheric warming precipitated the collapse of Antarctica's West Sheet. (Registration to Teachers' Domain is FREE)
Climate Change Wildlife & Wildlands (Grades 7-12) — A full 12 minute, high definition, engaging and highly informative video on climate change science and impacts on wildlife and their habitat in U.S.
Hippo Works (Grades K-5) — "Eco friendly Edutainment": Animated cartoons and games about climate change and mass extinction.
National Geographic Multinedia (Grades 3-12) - Use photography in the classroom! National Geographic allows you to search photos, videos and more according to your topic and grade level! Brief photo and video explanations that can be discussed in your classroom!
Disappearing Lake: The Aral Sea Fades Away - This National Geographic aerial photo shows how from 2006 (bottom) to 2009, Central Asia's vast Aral Sea dramatically retreated, with its eastern section losing about 80 percent of its water in just four years.
Online Resources for Teachers
Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning (CAMEL) (Professional) — a free, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, multi-media resource for educators to enable them to effectively teach about climate change and allowing them to create and share curricular resources.
Climate Literacy Guide — "The Essential Principles of Climate Science" presents important information for individuals and communities to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change.
Natural Inquirer (Grades 5-7) — This journal, the Natural Inquirer, was created so that scientists can share their research with middle school students. Each monograph tells you about scientific research conducted by scientists in the USDA Forest Service. Check out their climate change monographs below. (Lesson plans included.)
Climate Change Edition - In this edition of the Natural Inquirer students will learn how scientists are studying climate change, and about the effect that climate change may have on animals, plants, and forests.
Ancient Warming Greened Antarctica, Study Finds (June 17, 2012) - This article researchers who studied sediment core samples taken from beneath the Ross Ice Shelf in Greenland found there to have been much higher summer temperatures and precipaption levels 15-20 million years ago.
Greater Los Angeles to Heat Up an Average 4 to 5 Degrees by Mid-Century (June 21, 2012) - This article discusses a very sophicisticated recent climate study of the Los Angeles area which details, on a small scale, how much regional L.A. temperatures are likely to increase, and how global warming is an issue that should be investiagted and acted up on at the local level.
Extreme Heat Raises Climate Change Questions, Concerns (July 5, 2012) - The recent heat wave baking much of the country has prompted many people to ask: Is this due to climate change? There are concerns of how extreme heat has an effect on eir quality and human health.
Global CO2 (July 19, 2012) - Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) -- the main cause of global warming -- increased by 3% last year, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion tonnes in 2011.
U.S. Experiences Warm and Dry June; Drought Expands to 56% of Lower 48 (July 20, 2012) - The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during June was 71.2°F, 2.0°F above the 20th century average, ranking as the 14th warmest June on record. Scorching temperatures during the second half of the month broke or tied over 170 all-time temperature records in cities across America.
Rise in Temperatures and CO2 (July 23, 2012) - The greatest climate change the world has seen in the last 100,000 years was the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric CO2 follow each other closely in terms of time.
Chronic 2000-04 Drought, worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal' (July 29, 2012) - The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century.
Extreme Weather Linked to Global Warming, Nobel Prize-Winning Scientist Says (August 20, 2012) - New scientific analysis strengthens the view that record-breaking summer heat, crop-withering drought and other extreme weather events in recent years do, indeed, result from human activity and global warming, Nobel Laureate Mario J. Molina, Ph.D., said at a conference in Philadelphia on August 20.
Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Lowest Extent Ever Recorded (August 27, 2012) - The blanket of sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted to its lowest extent ever recorded since satellites began measuring it in 1979, according to the University of Colorado Boulder's National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Glacial Thinning has Sharply Accelerated at Major South American Ice Fields (September 5, 2012) - For the past four decades scientists have monitored the ebbs and flows of the icefields in the southernmost stretch of South America's vast Andes Mountains, detecting an overall loss of ice as the climate warms. A new study, however, finds that the rate of glacier thinning has increased by about half over the last dozen years in the Southern Patagonian Icefield, compared to the 30 years prior to 2000.
Arctic Sea Ice Hits Smallest Extent in Satellite Era (September 19, 2012) - The frozen cap of the Arctic Ocean appears to have reached its annual summertime minimum extent and broken a new record low on Sept. 16, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has reported.
Melting Arctic Ice Cap at Record (September 24, 2012) - Think of a poor hamster on a spinning wheel, caught up by momentum and unable to stop until it's overwhelmed, sent tumbling, crashing out of control inside.
Human-Caused Climate Change Signal Emerge from the Noise (Nov. 29, 2012) - By comparing simulations from 20 different computer models to satellite observations, Lawrence Livermore climate scientists and colleagues from 16 other organizations have found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities.
Record High for Global Carbon Emissions (Dec. 2, 2012) Global carbon dioxide (CO2) - emissions are set to rise again in 2012, reaching a record high of 35.6 billion tonnes -- according to new figures from the Global Carbon Project, co-led by researchers from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Northeast U.S. Sees Second Driest November in More than a Century (Dec. 5, 2012) - Even though Hurricane Sandy helped create wet start to the month for several states, November 2012 went into the record books as the second-driest November since 1895 in the Northeast. With an average of 1.04 inches or precipitation, the region received only 27 percent of its normal level.
Arctic Continues to Break Records in 2012 (Dec. 6, 2012) - The Arctic region continued to break records in 2012 -- among them the loss of summer sea ice, spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet. This was true even though air temperatures in the Arctic were unremarkable relative to the last decade, according to a new report released December 6.
Study Shows Rapid Warming on the West Anarctic Ise Sheet (Dec. 23, 2012) - In a discovery that raises further concerns about the future contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise, a new study finds that the western part of the ice sheet is experiencing nearly twice as much warming as previously thought.
Political Action the Biggest Swing Factor in Meeting Climate Targets (Jan. 2, 2013) - The new study, published January 2 in the journal Nature, examined the probability of keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above preindustrial levels under varying levels of climate policy stringency, and thus mitigation costs.
New York Times - (Grades 9-12) As a popular new source, this provides information on what is being reported on climate change in mainstream media.
Weather Extremes Leave Parts of the U.S. Grid Buckling (July 25, 2012) - This article discusses how it is not only naturual landscpaes that are being affected by climate change but modern city landscapes as well. Subways, highways, and runways are all examples of civarious infrastructure affected by warming. Cities may have to adjust accordingly.