Global Climate Inquiry Stations: The Ocean's Role in Global Climate

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 2 reviews
2 Ratings
Experiential Learning Depot
Grade Levels
10th - 12th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
17 pages
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Experiential Learning Depot
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Teaching the science of climate change, especially the ocean's role in climate, can be a challenge as the content tends to be abstract. You want your high school students to understand climate science while staying engaged. But how?

Inquiry-based learning is a great way to do that, but activities for inquiry-based learning can be taxing to create and implement.

This resource, inquiry stations on the ocean's role in the global climate, solves that problem. It is created for you so that you save hours trying to create an inquiry-based learning activity, and because it is inquiry-based it is an engaging way to learn about the science of climate change.

For this inquiry activity, your high school students will go through a series of inquiry mapping stations to better understand the ocean's influence on the global climate.

Students do not conduct research to create their maps. They will develop their maps based on prior knowledge and information provided in the resource.

This resource is hands-on, NGSS aligned, introduces climate change concepts, and gives students the opportunity to build on 21st-century skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.


  • This resource includes an answer key of sorts. Because it is an inquiry activity, there will not necessarily be right or wrong answers. Student perceptions and questions will vary by student, class, and experience. The "answer key", then, offers answers to some anticipated questions as well as a scientific explanation for the way the actual maps look, such as NASA's salinity maps.
  • The activity is budget-friendly and low-prep (includes introducing the concepts, gathering materials, and setting up stations)
  • Materials are minimal, including only this resource, a few scientific websites, and markers/colored pencils/crayons for color-coding maps.
  • The resource is not editable.
  • This resource is also included in my experiential science high school climate change unit bundle. If you already have that unit, find it there!

"Very helpful for engaging learners and developing their understanding of oceans and climate." Laurel, 9th & 10th grade

This resource includes:

  1. Pre-activity introduction
  2. Teacher guide for each station
  3. 3 Inquiry Stations:  Each station includes a map template and station instructions.
  4. Post-station activity discussion questions w/antipicated student questions, answers to those questions, and scientific explanations of real maps.
  5. Post-activity challenge/formative assessment
  6. Reflection guide

If you like this resource, check out these climate resources as well:

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Total Pages
17 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
3 hours
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes. Emphasis is on mechanical and chemical investigations with water and a variety of solid materials to provide the evidence for connections between the hydrologic cycle and system interactions commonly known as the rock cycle. Examples of mechanical investigations include stream transportation and deposition using a stream table, erosion using variations in soil moisture content, or frost wedging by the expansion of water as it freezes. Examples of chemical investigations include chemical weathering and recrystallization (by testing the solubility of different materials) or melt generation (by examining how water lowers the melting temperature of most solids).
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate. Examples of the causes of climate change differ by timescale, over 1-10 years: large volcanic eruption, ocean circulation; 10-100s of years: changes in human activity, ocean circulation, solar output; 10-100s of thousands of years: changes to Earth's orbit and the orientation of its axis; and 10-100s of millions of years: long-term changes in atmospheric composition. Assessment of the results of changes in climate is limited to changes in surface temperatures, precipitation patterns, glacial ice volumes, sea levels, and biosphere distribution.
Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems. Examples should include climate feedbacks, such as how an increase in greenhouse gases causes a rise in global temperatures that melts glacial ice, which reduces the amount of sunlight reflected from Earth’s surface, increasing surface temperatures and further reducing the amount of ice. Examples could also be taken from other system interactions, such as how the loss of ground vegetation causes an increase in water runoff and soil erosion; how dammed rivers increase groundwater recharge, decrease sediment transport, and increase coastal erosion; or how the loss of wetlands causes a decrease in local humidity that further reduces the wetland extent.


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